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Det obetydliga: om fiskhuvudformiga hängen, sociala praktiker och förändring, 600-1200 e. Kr.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.
2014 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
The Insignificant : Fish-head pendants, Social structures and Change, 600-1200 AD (English)
Abstract [en]

Fish-head pendants are one of the characteristic Gotlandic Late Iron Age artefacts. This object has been rather neglected and mainly considered as an insignificant embellishment, normally worn as a neck-collar and seen as an artefact include in the typical Gotlandic set of female jewellery.

The fact that the fish-head pendant has a very long life span, which stretches from grave-finds in the Early Vendel Age to hoards in Viking Age as well as secondary usage as brooches in the Early Middle Ages, makes the artefact an excellent starting point for discussions on social practices and change through material culture. It's shown in this study that, contrary to previous beliefs, the normal usages for fish-head pendants is as solitary pendants and not as neck-collars. Neck-collars is shown to have an intricate relation to inhumations for young individuals, whereas solitary pendants are found in cremation deposits for adult individuals, something that relates to a fixed social practice mainly in the period 700-900 AD and that develops from the cremation funeral practice. This particular social practice relates to aspects of attraction and protection and continues in to the 10th century outside of funeral structures, which is shown by the composition of hoard-finds from the 10th century, but is totally absent when the pendants is given a secondary usage as brooches in the end of the 11th and beginning of the 12th century. Hence the material also gives the possibility to discuss the division among pre-historic periods.

This paper is divided into six chapters. Chapter 1 gives the prerequisites. Chapter 2 provides a theoretical framework; concerning aspects such as agency, structuralism, social structures, change and material culture. Chapter 3 discusses questions of chronology and typology. In chapter 4 fish- head pendants and their practices of usage and social practices are discussed in the grave-material from the period 600-1000 AD. Chapter 5 concerns hoards and amber-pendants during the 10th to 12th century, and finally chapter 6 discusses the effects and reasons seen in the social practices defined in chapters 4 and 5, as well as the implication of social practices on pre-historic periods. The material is further presented in four catalogues, chapters 10-13.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 328 p.
Keyword [en]
Fish-head pendant, Iron Age, Vendel Age, Viking Age, Middle Ages, Social practices, Change, Hoards, Funeral practices
Keyword [sv]
Keywords: Fiskhuvudformigt hänge, järnålder, Gotland, vendeltid, vikingatid, medeltid, sociala praktiker, förändring, depå, silverskatt, gravskick
National Category
Humanities Archaeology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-226743OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-226743DiVA: diva2:727168
Available from: 2014-09-10 Created: 2014-06-19 Last updated: 2014-09-10Bibliographically approved

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