Med kärret som källa : om begreppen offer och ritual inom arkeologin
Sammanfattning: This thesis deals with questions concerning theoretical perspectives and archaeological interpretation. It is also a thesis about prehistoric wetland depositions, as they illustrate the discussion. The starting point of the study is the use of the concept of sacrifice (or offering) in Scandinavian archaeology. There are several assumptions, both explicit and implicit, that are considered problematic. The assumed universality of sacrifice is one example. In some cases artefacts deposited in wetlands are categorized as ritual deposits. The use of this term warrants an examination of the concept of ritual as well, and it too is associated with similar problems. Instead of using the concept of sacrifice another approach is proposed. In this study, practice theory, and especially the concept of ritualization, are used as a starting point. This means that the term sacrifice is not used as a category of interpretation. In fact, the question whether the material is sacrificed or not becomes irrelevant with this perspective. Instead alternative results that may complement or replace the sacrificial category are explored. In short, the aim of this study is to apply practice theory to material deposited in wetland – traditionally interpreted as sacrifices – to enable an empirically informed discussion of archaeological interpretations and results. To achieve this aim the tools made available in practice theory are used, mainly the concepts of embodiment and objectification. The significance of the past in the past is also discussed. The archaeological material from a fen at Hindbygården, Malmö, in south-west Scania in southern Sweden is mainly dated to a period covering more than three thousand years, from the Late Mesolithic to the Early Bronze Age. There were also a few later activities. The long period of use, along with its variation and complexity, makes this material well suited for this kind of study. An archaeobotanical study also enables a discussion of the role of the physical environment. The environment is important in this study, as the spatial structures were a part of what was created by the actions that took place at the fen, and the environment influenced the experience of the depositions.
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