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Mellan makt och myt: om gravritual och brända ben från en småländsk vikingatida gravhög
2011 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Between myth and power : about grave rituals and burned bones from aViking age grave mound in Småland (English)
Abstract [en]

For this essay, 12 liters of cremated bones from the Viking age grave mound RAÄ Berga 134:1 in Trotteslöv, Berga parish, Småland have been osteologically analysed.  The aim with this paper concerned questions as sex, age, number of individuals and animal species in the grave. Further questions that have been investigated are the relationship between the osteological sexdetermination and artifacts as well as which role animals played in burial rituals and as grave goods.

The grave contained a middle-aged woman and a number of sacrificed animals: two horses, two dogs, three birds, a boar and a cat. The bones were fragile and very fragmented. One of the birds was determined as a bird of prey, and that together with findings of horses and dogs indicates hunting with bird of prey, an activity performed only by powerful and wealthy individuals.  The woman was buried in a mound of notable size, and with common grave goods for the time period: combs, beads, bronze and iron items. An unusual finding was textile which indicates high status. The number of sacrificed animal species also suggests that the grave belonged to a powerful individual. 

During the Viking age animals generally played an important role in grave rituals and as items to be used by their master in the next life. In RAÄ Berga 134:1none of the findings could be determined as either typical male or female items, instead they indicated high status. Graves with osteologically identified women, and rich grave goods usually found in male graves, have often been questioned. The idea of a woman being powerful and buried with valuable items has been doubted. This doubt has probably come from archaeologists’ prejudices today about prehistoric gender roles, since women during the Viking age indeed could reach high status.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 50 p.
Keyword [sv]
Vikingatid, Grav, Gravritual, Osteologi, Kremering, Brända ben
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:hgo:diva-1128OAI: diva2:448661
Subject / course
Educational program
International Archaeology Programme
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2011-10-26 Created: 2011-10-17 Last updated: 2013-07-01Bibliographically approved

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