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Att berätta en senneolitisk historia: Sten och metall i södra Sverige 2350-1700 f. Kr
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies.
2004 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Telling of a Late Neolithic Story : Stone and Metal in Southern Sweden 2350 -1700 BC (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis discusses aspects of how the Late Neolithic society in southern Sweden changed through the use of metal. Particular focus is on how the different categories of the material culture were utilized in this process – the Late Neolithic flint daggers and objects of stone imitating objects of metal.

The presence of metal in the Late Neolithic society is discussed and explicated by the correlation of metal objects to objects imitating metal. Imitations are not perceived as passive copies, but as a continuing dialogue between artefacts. These imitations are viewed as filling a function wherein they help to prepare society to express social and political processes in a different material, as a way to meet and relate to the new world-view that the metal objects implied through their existence.

The difference between resharpened and non-resharpened flint daggers is explored through a variety of quantitative and qualitative analyses. There appears to have been two differing rules of deposition of the two types of flint daggers in the Late Neolithic society. Resharpened and non-resharpened flint daggers thus seem to relate to different societal spheres of significance in society.

It is suggested that the flint daggers were used in varying forms of ritual body modification practices, as tools for alteration of bodily appearance. These rituals can be termed passage rituals – rituals connected to the individual’s journey through her life-cycle. The resharpening of the dagger blade is then to be understood as a ceremonial resharpening, a ritual remaking of the dagger.

During the Late Neolithic, gallery graves, mortuary houses and votive offerings were used to express a connection to an older, ancestral ideology, based on communal rituals. At the same time a new ideology was expressed through the use of individual earth graves and ritual body modification practices. The human body, previously attributed an ancestral role, was now used as a medium of classification, signification and individual expression. The ritual practice works both as a societal regulator and as a way for individuals to express themselves in relation to others.

The ritual body modification practices, manifested in different rituals of passage, may have been a way for individuals to relate to the changes in society during the course of the Late Neolithic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur , 2004. , 336 p.
Stockholm Studies in Archaeology, ISSN 0349-4128 ; 34
Keyword [en]
Late Neolithic, Flint daggers, Neolithic metal, Mortuary houses, Gallery graves, Passage rituals, Mortuary rituals, Initiation rites, Body modification, Decarnation, Narrative
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-285ISBN: 91-7265-966-1OAI: diva2:191947
Public defence
2004-12-04, hörsal 5, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2004-11-12 Created: 2004-11-12 Last updated: 2014-02-11Bibliographically approved

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