Craft and Identity in the Viking World

Author(s): Steven Ashby

Year: 2015


When considered at all, objects of bone and antler tend to be discussed in functional terms. Occasionally, ornate objects such as hair combs may be seen as communicators of information. In this paper I will argue that if such objects tell us anything about identity, it is not through their form or ornament, but through the tradition in which they were made. Crafts are grown out of tradition, which means that objects are reservoirs of important cultural and social information. For the early-medieval period, this potential remains largely untapped. I will focus on combmaking as an important community practice in Viking-Age Britain, Ireland, and Scandinavia, and will explore the ways in which novel approaches to technology, alongside leading-edge analytical processes that may illuminate questions of raw material supply and provenance, can help us to to learn about the people who made and used these objects.

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Cite this Record

Craft and Identity in the Viking World. Steven Ashby. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395890)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;