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Vessel import to Norway in the first millennium A.D. composition and context

Holand, Ingegerd; (1996) Vessel import to Norway in the first millennium A.D. composition and context. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

More than 1100 complete or fragmentary imported vessels in bronze, glass, wood, horn, clay and silver from the first millennium A.D. have been found in Norway, approximately 80[percent] of them in graves. The extensive research already carried out has produced a vast body of literature, which generally keeps within strict chronological boundaries, concentrating on vessels from either the Roman Period, the Migration Period, or the Viking Age. Two main approaches to the material have traditionally been applied: 1) typo logical studies, on the basis of which trade connections and systems have been discussed from different theoretical perspectives, and 2) imports as status markers, from which hierarchical social systems of a general kind have been inferred. Only very rarely have their function as vessels attracted any serious consideration, and even more rarely their actual local context. After describing the vessels, the thesis studies their geographical distribution at a national level, establishing broad import patterns in space and time, before relating them to a local context using parishes and farms. The status of the farms involved is then established, using farm names and written sources to allocate them to three main groups: A) farms associated with pagan religious activity; B) farms with early Christian churches, and C) farms with other first millennium or medieval centre functions. Of 538 named farms with imported vessels, approximately 30-35[percent] seem to fall into one of these three groups, about 25% are their closest neighbours, while another 25[percent] are two or three farms removed, and only 15[percent] cannot be related to such farms at all using the methodology adopted here. Finally, vessel use is considered in relation to finds context, gender association, and possible social and religious practices. It is suggested that vessels were imported mainly because of their symbolic and social meaning, and that their role as status markers was secondary to and dependent on this meaning.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Vessel import to Norway in the first millennium A.D. composition and context
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108842
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