PhD Student, Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Research Topic: Stones and People: Viking Age Picture Stones from the Island of Gotland.
This PhD-project deals with the Viking Age picture stones from the Island of Gotland, Sweden. The picture stones constitute a promising material for studies of the relationship between materiality, identity, iconography, and landscape. About 15 picture stones are still standing at their original site, emphasizing natural and political borders in the ancient landscape. They are erected at causeways, crossroads, fords and bridges that represented boundaries and transition points between farmsteads and districts. The picture stones have traditionally been interpreted as memorials made in honour of distinguished male members of the local society. A few of the sites have been excavated and remains of charcoal, animal bones, and ceramics found in cultural layers at the base of some stones indicate that sacrifices, ritual meals, and ritual depositions were performed. A recent excavation of a picture stone site at Fröjel Parish from the early 9th century done by the author has revealed a unique combination of finds. Scattered at the base, probably remains of a disturbed deposition, were found cremated human bones from probably two individuals and artefacts that can be interpreted as grave goods. These finds confirm that the picture stones not only were memorials but also parts in complex social practices linking human remains, landscape, and monuments.
- e-mail: alexander.andreeff (a) archaeology.gu.se