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The spatiotemporal distribution of Late Viking Age Swedish runestones: A reflection of the Christianisation process and its speed
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History. University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0220-3947
2018 (English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, ISSN 2352-409X, E-ISSN 2352-4103, Vol. 21, p. 849-861Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Late Viking Age Swedish runestones are commonly acknowledged as early Christian monuments. Using geostatistical techniques and descriptive statistics, we systematically investigate the regional-to-local spatiotemporal patterns of 1302 ornamentally dated Swedish runestones regarding the timing and speed of the Christianisation process. After quantitative geostatistical analyses of the age distribution patterns of Swedish runestones, we evaluate whether the observed patterns correspond to the pace and pattern of Christianisation, as represented by the presence of mission bishoprics, early church sites, late pagan grave sites and royal estates. We identify seven distinct age groups of runestones and statistically significant regional-to-local spatiotemporal differences in the age and age spread of runestones. The oldest runestones, with the smallest age spread, are found in south-western medieval Sweden, and the youngest, as well as the largest age spread, in the north-east, respectively. We find that runestones are significantly older close to early ecclesiastical sites, regardless of the analytical level, and significantly younger near to late pagan graves. The results obtained are inconclusive as to whether runestones are older near royal estates. Our results support that the spatiotemporal patterns of runestone sites mirror the timing of the Christianisation process and that geostatistical approaches to larger archaeological or historical data sets can add new dimensions to the understanding of the spatial dimensions of past societal changes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 21, p. 849-861
Keywords [en]
Runestones, Christianisation, Viking Age, Sweden, Spatial analysis, Geostatistical analysis, Geographic Information System (GIS)
National Category
History Archaeology
Research subject
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-160842DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.08.044ISI: 000449797000074OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-160842DiVA, id: diva2:1254233
Available from: 2018-10-08 Created: 2018-10-08 Last updated: 2018-12-10Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
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Output format
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