Prehistoric Rock Art in Scandinavia [Paperback]

Courtney Nimura (Author)

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ISBN: 9781785701191 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Swedish Rock Art Research Series | Volume: 4 | Year of Publication: 2015 | Language: English 160p, H279 x W216 (mm)




Prehistoric Rock Art in Scandinavia

Details

Scandinavia is home to prolific and varied rock art images among which the ship motif is prominent. Because of this, the rock art of Scandinavia has often been interpreted in terms of social ritual, cosmology, and religion associated with the maritime sphere. This comprehensive review is based on the creation of a Scandinavia-wide GIS database for prehistoric rock art and re-examines theoretical approaches and interpretations, in particular with regard to the significance of the ship and its relationship to a maritime landscape Discussion focuses on material agency as a means to understanding the role of rock art within society. Two main theories are developed. The first is that the sea was fundamental to the purpose and meaning of rock art, especially in the Bronze Age and, therefore, that sea-level/shoreline changes would have inspired a renegotiation of the relationship between the rock art sites and their intended purpose. The fundamental question posed is: would such changes to the landscape have affected the purpose and meaning of rock art for the communities that made and used these sites? Various theories from within and outside of archaeology are drawn on to examine environmental change and analyse the rock art, led to second theory: that the purpose of rock art might have been altered to have an effect on the disappearing sea. The general theory that rock art would have been affected by environmental change was discussed in tandem with existing interpretations of the meaning and purpose of rock art. Imbuing rock art with agency means that it could be intertwined in an active web of relations involving maritime landscapes, shoreline displacement and communities. Though created in stone and fixed in time and place, rock art images have propagated belief systems that would have changed over time as they were re-carved, abandoned and used by different groups of inhabitants. In the thousands of years rock art was created, it is likely that shoreline displacement would have inspired a renegotiation of the purpose and meaning of the imagery situated alongside the Scandinavian seas. This journey through a prehistoric Scandinavian landscape will lead us into a world of ancient beliefs and traditions revolving around this extraordinary art form.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Chapter summary
 
PART 1
Chapter 1. Rock art in prehistoric Scandinavia
Dating rock art and issues of chronology
Mesolithic art
Neolithic art
Bronze Age art
Early Iron Age art
Ships across different media
Key interpretations: trends and themes
Cosmology and religion
Shamanism
Trade, connections and social organisation
Chapter 2. Rock art in a maritime landscape
Relocating the sea
Bronze Age environmental change
Bronze Age environmental perceptions
Rock art in a maritime landscape: key theories
Landscapes as sacred places
Landscapes embodied
Seascapes
 
PART II
Chapter 3. Data collection and methodology
Methodology
Data structures and integration process
Fund og Fortidsminder (F/DK)
Askeladden (A/NO)
Fornsök (F/SE)
Dates
Motifs
Motif quantities
Motif categories
Site study areas
ScanGIS map data
Distance to present-day coastline
Summary
 
Chapter 4. Ships and water
Motif distributions
Motif occurrences
Motifs and water
Methodology
Scandinavia
Motif distributions in Scandinavia
Motif occurrences in Scandinavia
Motifs and water in Scandinavia
Uppland: central eastern Sweden
Environmental change and chronology in Uppland
Motif distributions in Uppland
Motif occurrences in Uppland
Motifs and water in Uppland
North Trøndelag and South Trøndelag: central Norway
Environmental change and chronology in North and South Trøndelag
Motif distributions in North and South Trøndelag
Motif occurrences in North and South Trøndelag
Motifs and water in North and South Trøndelag
Østfold and Bohuslän: southeast Norway / western Sweden
Environmental change and chronology in Østfold and Bohuslän
Motif distributions in Østfold and Bohuslän
Motif occurrences in Østfold and Bohuslän
Motifs and water in Østfold and Bohuslän
Hordaland and Rogaland: southwest Norway
Environmental change and chronology in Hordaland and Rogaland
Motif distributions in Hordaland and Rogaland
Motif occurrences in Hordaland and Rogaland
Motifs and water in Hordaland and Rogaland
Denmark and Skåne (detail of Simris): southern Scandinavia
Environmental change and chronology in Denmark and Skåne
Motif distributions in Denmark and Skåne
Motif occurrences in Denmark and Skåne
Motifs and water in Denmark and Skåne
Ships and water: data summary
Motif distributions
Motif occurrences
Motifs and water
 
Part III.
Chapter 5. Rock art, agency and environmental change
Perception, cognition and the importance of material culture
The agency of art
Rock art, agency and environmental change
Summary
References

Reviews & Quotes

"...exceptionally precise, lucid, easily read, critical and interesting."
Christer Westerdahl
International Journal of Nautical Archaeology (16/10/2017)

"In short, the major contribution of this volume, for which it can be highly recommended, is the presentation of the pan-Scandinavian rock art data."
Paul G. Bahn
Antiquity (13/04/2017)

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