Dealing with the Dead
Archaeological Perspectives on Prehistoric Scandinavian Burial Ritual

Edited by Tore Artelius & Frederik Svanberg
December 2005
Swedish National Heritage Board
Distributed by Coronet Books Inc.
ISBN: 9172093854
280 pages, 6¼ x 9"
$69.50, Illustrated, Paper Original


This collection of essays explores prehistoric Scandinavian burial ritual within contemporary Swedish archaeology. The rites marking death, and the material culture surrounding these rites, can be used to understand religious meaning and social life. These essays especially explore the ways in which material culture in collective burial ritual was used to create everything from religious rituals to individual, local, and regional cultural identity.

Dealing with Scandinavian Burial Ritual—an Introduction
The Burial-Ground at Borgeby: Point of Departure for a Tentative Neolithic Travel Itinerary
With Thor on Our Side: The Symbolism of the Thor Hammer-Ring in Viking Age Burial Ritual
Pyre Sites before Our Eyes
House Symbolism in Aristocratic Death Rituals of the Bronze Age
Hills of the Ancestors: Death, Forging and Sacrifice on Two Swedish Burial Sites
The Grave as Concept and Phenomenon: Reflections on the Relation
      between Archaeological Terminology and Interpretation
Where Are the Dead? Empty Graves from Early Iron Age Uppland
Sailing towards the Afterlife: Analysis of a Ship-Formed
      Burial Monument at Hellerö by the Baltic Sea
A Symbolic Farewell to Nature: Fencing at Late Viking Age Burial-Grounds
The Attractive Force: Gallery-Graves in the Landscape
The Dead in the Hills: Reflections on the Cult of the Dead in the
      Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age of Uppland
Wealthy Women and Absent Men: Gender in Early Iron Age Burial-Grounds in Östergötland
Human Bones in the Bronze Age of Uppland
The Revenant by the Lake: Spear Symbolism in Scandinavian Late Viking Age Burial Ritual

Scandinavian History

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