Ritual bones or common waste

A study of Early Medieval bone deposits in Northern Europe

J. Thilderkvist

181 Pages, ISBN 978 9 491431 31 9     
Published by Barkhuis & University of Groningen, 2013     

This book addresses the problems of identifying human actions behind finds of bones in settlement archaeology, exemplified with the identification of ritual deposits.

In order to formulate a methodological framework for approaching the identification of ritual deposits, different methods are tested on four Early Medieval case study sites: Dongjum and Leeuwarden, two artificial dwelling mounds situated in the then undiked salt marches of the Northern Netherlands, Midlaren, an inland settlement in Drenthe, also in the Northern Netherlands, and finally Uppåkra, a central place in the South of Sweden.

The bone fragments from the four materials are studied in a five step process of definition, description, identification, interpretation and explanation. The deposist are discussed with the help of various archaeological, ethnographic and historical sources.

The results of the analysis lead to a methodological framework for understanding individual deposits based on a holistic perpective where all information is regarded as potentially valuable, various methods are taken into consideration, and simplification is avoided.

(The text above comes from the back of the book)     

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