Synliga och osynliga gränser : Förändringar i gravritualen under yngre bronsålder - förromersk järnålder i Södermanland

Sammanfattning: The burial ritual in Södermanland during Late Bronze Age–Pre Roman Iron Age is characterized by change. Although seldom, cairns – the most characteristic grave form of the Bronze Age – are erected also in the Iron Age, but the grave tradition is above all dominated by an increasing number of grave fields. The aim in this dissertation is to illustrate the changes in, and to look for the meaning of the new grave ritual, why the cairn ritual has been abandoned and grave fields are designed instead.In archive studies, above all at the ATA, Riksantikvarieämbetet in Stockholm, graves and grave fields from the period Late Bronze Age–Pre Roman Iron Age have been identified. Out of 781 excavated and documented graves from the period, changes and structures of the grave fields in Södermanland have been studied. The work is guided by the conception that documented changes in the grave ritual during the period has not occurred as a separated and isolated phenomenon. On the contrary, these changes have occurred in co-operation with social and economical structure transformations in a wider sense. The aim has been to show how the grave ritual has been part of the reconstruction of society during the studied period. The main question, which has been overshadowing the work, is of course the reason for these changes.The main hypothesis emanates from the fact that the proportionately small grave fields (but not all) have been expressions of smaller autonomic social organisations, i.e. the size of a farmyard. The new grave ritual has reproduced an image of the world, where stone settings and grave fields have served as a form of visible boundaries towards the closest surroundings. In the text arguments are tested to show if motives to these changes are to be found in social and ideological circumstances. A displacement of social relations might have occurred, where collective and public positions have gradually been abandoned. Instead a more private and socially segregated approach could have developed, characterised by more limited, strict and introverted attitudes. Has the matter of private property received a meaning so important that social structures have been affected? Is it possible that possessing itself has come to be of such crucial importance, that only the closest and selectively delimited social relations have been prioritized?

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