Viking Age Grave Reentry within the Context of Mortuary Drama

Author(s): Gina Malfatti; Nick Kardulias

Year: 2017


The present study traces the history of grave manipulation and reentry in Scandinavia from the Stone Age through medieval times, but with a special emphasis on the context and implications of funerary activity during the Viking Age and the early medieval period. During this time span, the people of Scandinavia became a major force that reshaped the economic, political, and social structure of Europe. I examine the phenomenon of grave reentry and alteration within the framework of Neil Price’s (2010) idea of Viking Age "mortuary drama". This study extends the idea of mortuary drama to the acts of reentry that may occur even centuries after the initial funerary performance. Particular emphasis is placed on boat and ship burials because they reflect the wealth and power of emerging elites. This study will discuss several sites including the Gokstad and Oseberg ship burials and the Valsgärde cemetery. The themes of space, monumentality, memory, and ritual all play a part in the theoretical perspective that the present study employs.

Cite this Record

Viking Age Grave Reentry within the Context of Mortuary Drama. Gina Malfatti, Nick Kardulias. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430684)

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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): 16184