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Rock Art, Warfare and Long Distance Trade

Author(s): Johan Ling ; Per Cornell

Year: 2017

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For most of the twentieth century the Bronze Age rock art in Southern Scandinavia has been seen as a manifestation of an agrarian ‘cultic’ ideology in the landscape. In this context the dominant ship image and the armed humans have been perceived as abstract religious icons, not as active symbols relating to real praxis in the landscape. Whilst violence and war related social and ritual traits indeed are common features in the Scandinavian rock art from the Bronze Age and the violence on the rocks is uncanny. It is, beyond any doubt, a dimension of rock art that we cannot deny or be blind to. The rock art appears at the same time as Scandinavian societies became engaged in long distance trade of metal and local warriors would have increasingly played an important role. Elite households investment in the maritime forces of production, ships and warriors, was therefore a crucial feature for engagement in this kind of action. This would have favored the rise of maritime polities in Scandinavia. In this paper, I argue for the notion that the praxis of carving ships onto the stone could have served to manifest the agency of the maritime warriors.

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Rock Art, Warfare and Long Distance Trade. Johan Ling, Per Cornell. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430619)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15078

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America