Laila Kitzler Åhfeldt

PhD, Swedish National Heritage Board, Visby and Archaeological Research Laboratory, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden

Research interests: rune stones, picture stones, archaeology, handicraft, 3D-scanning, scientific archaeology, statistics, history of religion, Christianity.

I am currently working on a postdoctoral research project, The Dynamics of Rune Carving; Relation between Rune Carvers in a Regional and Chronological Perspective. The aim of this project is to study rune carvers relations to each other and their impact on society during the Viking Age and early Middle Ages. The results will be interpreted in relation to the increasing literacy and Christianization in a European perspective. My analysis method is to 3D scan rune stones with high resolution and analyse the cutting techniques by groove analysis. This method can be used to scrutinize details concerning relations between sites, regions, varying monument types, chronological phases, work effort, skill and degrees in quality. Indirectly, characteristics such as skill and movement patterns may indicate levels of authority and education. Regional work organization of rune carving may reflect spheres of interaction, such as administrative areas, social cohesion or common gathering points. A direct follow-up question on the spatial relations is whether the rune carver constellations change over time. Possible explanations may include a shift in power relations, new administrative units or emerging centres for literacy.

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