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Who's that girl: The cultural construction of girlhood and the transition to womanhood in Viking Age Gotland
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies.
2008 (English)In: Childhood in the Past, ISSN 1758-5716, Vol. 1, 78-93 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to explore the cultural construction of girlhood and the transitionto womanhood in relation to beads and arm-rings in Viking Age (AD 800–1050)burials from Gotland. It is suggested that a distinct and dualistic division betweenchildhood and adulthood may not have prevailed in Viking Age society. Further it isproposed that Viking Age girls up to the age of fi fteen years were divided into two agegroups. The fi rst group comprised ages up to fi ve years when infant girls were buriedwith a few beads and an arm-ring. The second group covered the ages from fi ve tofi fteen years when girls were buried in a similar dress to adult females but with moreelaborate bead-sets as well as wearing an arm-ring. This suggests that the numberof beads in a burial tell less of social status and more of social age. An issue beingaddressed is whether the girls aged fi ve to fi fteen years should be considered as a secondstep of childhood, as female adulthood or as representing a ‘hood’ on the threshold.It is argued that beads and arm-rings had an important role in creating relational agebasedidentities; they had significations beyond the aspect of jewellery.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxbow books , 2008. Vol. 1, 78-93 p.
Keyword [en]
girlhood, beads, arm-rings, viking age, Gotland
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-40563OAI: diva2:324399
Available from: 2010-06-15 Created: 2010-06-15 Last updated: 2011-11-01Bibliographically approved

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