NEW LAND, OLD CUSTOMS? VIKING-AGE GRAVES WITH ANIMAL REMAINS FROM SCOTLAND

  • Selene Mazza Independent scholar

Abstract

This article provides a contextual analysis of Viking-Age graves with animal remains from Scotland, investigating human-animal relationships in a funerary context within this region. To do so a comparative approach is adopted in order to better place the evidence within the context of burial customs in the Scandinavian homeland and in other key areas of the Viking diaspora in western Europe.

The general lack of animal remains in furnished graves on the territory, and the intentional deposition of only horses and dogs is approached from the point of view of changing, mixed identities in migrant contexts and culture contact with indigenous populations. This highlights the possible different meanings associated with animal depositions in the context of evolving traditions, and the need to send specific messages linked to personal identities to a given community. Acknowledging animals as once-living individual beings, this study addresses their presence in Scottish graves also from the point of view of the different types of relationships certain animals had with certain humans, and the multiplicity of roles they held in life as in death.

Published
2020-08-11
Section
Articles