Beyond Entanglement




human-animal relations, water, hybridity, depositions, sacrifice, killeability, nature/culture, critical feminist posthumanism, wetlands


This keynote discusses how human-animal relationships can be studied as entanglements to understand more of the situatedness of human and animal bodies and lives. It provides a selection of thinking tools from critical posthumanist feminism and new materialism which should prove useful for studying more-than-human worldmaking through archaeology. These tools can be used to study how humanity and animality are produced, how to recognise animal agentiality, and to highlight challenges on the way. Key issues are identified in concepts such as taxonomies, hybridity, othering and killability. Examples are drawn from recently published research on human-animal relations in archaeology on rock art, depositions, sacrifices, burial practices and more. The paper also tests how speculative methods can be a way of approaching more-than-human exposedness, situatedness and agentiality. It makes an argument that while it is important to study the entanglement of bodies as material-semiotic phenomena, it is of equal importance to also address questions on inequalities and injustices, and who carries the burden in particular situated entanglements and thereby move beyond the study of entanglement on its own.


Download data is not yet available.


Ahlqvist, L. & Vandkilde, H. 2018. Hybrid Beasts of the Nordic Bronze Age. Danish Journal of Archaeology. Vol. 7(2) pp. 180–194. DOI: 10.1080/21662282.2018.1507704

Alaimo, S. 2010. Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self. Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Alaimo, S. & Hekman, S. 2008. Introduction: Emerging models of Materiality in Feminist Theory. In: Alaimo, S. & Hekmans, S. (eds), Material Feminism, pp. 1–19. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Andersson, K. In press. Järnålderns djur. Stockholm: Carlssons Bokförlag.

Armstrong Oma, K. 2018. The Sheep People: The Ontology of Making Lives. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing.

Armstrong Oma, K. 2020. On the Fringe: Sheepdogs and Their Status within Bronze Age Ontologies in Scandinavia. Current Swedish Archaeology. Vol. 28 pp. 99–120.

Armstrong Oma, K. & Goldhahn, J. 2020. Introduction: Human-Animal Relationships from a Long-Term Perspective. Current Swedish Archaeology. Vol. 28 pp. 11–22.

Armstrong Oma, K. & Hedeager, L. (eds). 2010. Humans and Animals. World Archae­ology. Vol. 42(2).

Arwidsson, G. 1942. Vendelstile, Email und Glas in 7.–8. Jahrhundert. Uppsala: Almquist & Wiksells.

Barad, K. 2007. Meeting the Universe Halfways. Durham: Duke University Press.

Bergerbrant, S. 2019. Wool Textiles in the Early Nordic Bronze Age: Local or Traded? In: Sabatini, S. & Bergerbrant, S. (eds), The Textile Revolution in Bronze Age Europe: Production, Specialisation, Consumption, pp. 255–273. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Boyd, B. 2017. Archaeology and Human-Animal Relations: Thinking Through Anthropocentrism. Annual Review of Anthropology. Vol. 46 pp. 299–316.

Braidotti, R. 2013. The Posthuman. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Bintley, M.D.J & Williams, T.J.T. (eds). 2015. Representing Beasts in Early Medieval England and Scandinavia. Rochester: Boydell Press.

Brück, J. 1999. Ritual and Rationality: Some Problems of Interpretation in European Archae­ology. European Journal of Archaeology. Vol. 2(3) pp. 313–344. doi.org10.1179/eja.1999.2.3.313

Brück, J. 2004. Material Metaphors: The Relational Construction of Identity in Early Bronze Age Burials in Ireland and Britain. Journal of Social Archaeology. Vol. 4(3) pp. 307–333.

Conneller, C. 2004. Becoming Deer: Corporeal Transformatons at Star Carr. Archaeological Dialogues. 11(1) pp. 37–56.

Costello, E. 2020. Transhumance and the Making of Ireland’s Uplands, 1550–1900. Woodbridge: Boydell Press.

Childe, V.G. [1928]1954. New Light on the Most Ancient East. London: Routledge & K. Paul.

Der, L. & Fernandini, F. 2016. Archaeology of Entanglement. Routledge: London.

Daniel, G.E. 2021. Archaeology. Encyclopedia Britannica, [Accessed 21 June 2021].

Derrida, J. 2008. The Animal that therefore I am. New York: Fordham University Press.

Despret, V. 2013. From Secret Agents to Interagency. History and Theory. Vol. 52 (December 2013) pp. 29–44.

Dobat, A.S., Price, T.D., Kveiborg, J., Ilkjær, J. & Rowley-Conwy. P. 2015. The Four Horses of an Iron Age Apocalypse: War-horses from the Third-century Weapon Sacrifice at Illerup Aadal (Denmark). Antiquity. 88(339) pp. 191–204.

Fahlander, F. 2019. Fantastic Beings and Where to Make Them: Boats as Object-Beings in Bronze Age Rock Art. Current Swedish Archaeology. Vol. 27 pp. 119–212.

Fjellström, M. 2020. Food Cultures in Sápmi: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of the Heterogeneous Cultural Landscape of Northern Fennoscandia AD 600–1900. Theses and Papers in Scientific Archaeology 16. Stockholm: Stockholm University.

Fowler, C. & Harris, O.J.T. 2015. Enduring Relations: Exploring a Paradox of New Materialism. Journal of Material Culture. Vol. 20(2) pp. 127–146.

Fredengren, C. 2002. Crannogs: A Study of People’s Interactions with Lakes, with Particular Reference to Lough Gara in the North West of Ireland. Wordwell: Bray.

Fredengren, C. 2011. Where Wandering Water Gushes: The Depositional Landscape of the Mälaren Valley in Late Prehistoric Periods of Scandinavia. Journal of Wetland Archaeology. Vol. 10 pp. 109–135.

Fredengren, C. 2013. Posthumanism, the Transcorporeal and Biomolecular Archaeology. Current Swedish Archaeology. Vol. 21 pp. 53–71.

Fredengren, C. 2015. Water Politics: Wetland Deposition of Human and Animal Remains in Uppland, Sweden. Fornvännen. Vol. 111 pp. 161–183.

Fredengren, C. 2018a. Archaeological Posthumanities: Feminist Re-invention of Humanities, Science and Material Pasts. In: Braidotti, R. & Åsberg, C. (eds), A Feminist Companion to the Posthumanities, pp. 129–140. New York: Springer.

Fredengren, C. 2018b. Becoming Bog Bodies Sacrifice and Politics of Exclusion, as Evidenced in the Deposition of Skeletal Remains in Wetlands near Uppåkra. Journal of Wetland Archaeology. 18(1) pp. 1–19.

Fredengren, C. 2018c. Personhood of Waters: Depositions of Bodies and Things in Water Contexts as a Way of Observing Agential Relationships. Current Swedish Archaeology. Vol. 26 pp. 219–245.

Fredengren, C. In press. Worlding Waters with the Dead. Norwegian Archaeological Review.

Fredengren, C. Manuscript. Sacrifice and the Nature of the Inhuman: Depositions of Human and Animal Remains in Watery Places.

Fredengren, C. & Löfqvist, C. 2015. Food for Thor: The Deposition of Human and Animal Remains in a Swedish Wetland Area. Journal of Wetland Archaeology. Vol. 15 pp. 122–148.

Fredengren, C & Löfqvist, C. 2019. Finitude: Human and Animal Sacrifices in a Norse Setting. In: Wikström af Edholm, K., Jackson Rova, P., Nordberg, A., Sundqvist, O. & Zachrisson, T. (eds), Myth, Materiality and Lived Religions: In Merovingingan and Viking Scandinavia, pp. 225–262. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press.

Fudge, E. 2002. Perceiving Animals. Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Fudge, E. 2017. Thinking with Vinciane Despret. Humanimalia. Vol. 9(1) pp. 160–172.

Gamble, C. 1985. Early Man as Complex Hunter. Nature. Vol. 316(6028) pp. 485–486.

Giraud, E.H. 2019. What Comes After Entanglement? Activism, Anthropocentrism, and an Ethics of Exclusion. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Glykou, A., Lougas, L., Piliciauskiene, G., Schmölcke, U., Eriksson, G. & Lidén, K. 2021. Reconstructing the Ecological History of the Extinct Harp Seal Population of the Baltic Sea. Quaternary Science Reviews. Vol. 251 e. 106701.

Goldhahn, J. 2019. Birds in the Bronze Age: A North European Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Goldhahn, J. 2020. To Bring Back some Eagleness to Eagles: On Bird Worldings in the Bronze Age. Current Swedish Archaeology. Vol. 28 pp. 47–73.

Haraway, D.J. 2004. The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Innapropriate/d Others. In: Haraway, D.J (ed.), The Haraway Reader, pp. 295–336. London: Routledge.

Haraway, D. 2008. When Species Meet. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

Haraway, D. 2016. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Harris, A. 2020. Palaeodiet and Infant Feeding in Coastal Arctic Settlements: Insights from Stable Isotope Analysis of Bone and Dentine Collagen and Amino Acids. Theses and Papers in Scientific Archaeology 18. Stockholm: Stockholm University.

Harris, O. & Ciapolla, C. 2017. Archaeological Theory in the New Millennium: Introducing Current Perspectives. London: Routledge.

Hedeager, L. 2004. Dyr og andre mennesker – mennesker og andre dyr: Dyreornamentikkens transcendentale realitet. In: Andren. A., Jennbert, K. & Raudvere, C. (eds), Ordning mot kaos: Studier av nordisk förkristen kosmologi, pp. 219–287. Lund: Nordic Academic Press.

Hedeager, L. 2010. Split Bodies in the Late Iron Age/Viking Age of Scandinavia. In: Rebay Salisbury, K., Sørensen, M.L.S. & Hughes, J. (eds), Body Parts and Bodies Whole, pp. 111–118. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Hedeager, L. 2011. Iron Age Myth and Materiality: An Archaeology of Scandinavia AD 400–1000. London & New York: Routledge.

Hodder, I. 2012. Entangled: An archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Hodder, I. 2016. Studies in Human-Thing Entanglement. [Accessed 21 June 2021].

Jennbert, K. 2014. Certain Humans, Certain Animals: Attitudes in the Long Term. In: Anders­son Cederholm, E., Björck, A., Jennbert, K. & Lönngren, A-S. (eds), Exploring the Animal Turn: Human-Animal Relations in Science, Society and Culture, pp. 183–192. Lund: Pufendorfinstitutet, Lunds universitet.

Jordan, P. 2004. Hunting, Fishing and Reindeer Herding Peoples of Siberia: Past, Present and future Challenges. General Anthropology. Vol. 11 pp. 1–9.

Jones, A.M. 2015. Meeting Pasts Halfway: A Consideration of the Ontology of Material Evidence in Archaeology. In: Chapman, R. & Wylie, A. (eds), Material Evidence: Learning from Archaeological Practice, pp. 324–338. London: Routledge.

Karlsson, J. 2016. Spill. Om djur, hantverk och nätverk i Mälarområdet under vikingatid och medeltid. Stockholm: Stockholms universitet.

Kaliff, A. & Oestigaard, T. 2020. The Great Indo-European Horse Sacrifice: 4000 Years of Cosmological Continuity from Sintashta and the Steppe to Scandinavian Skeid. Uppsala: Uppsala universitet.

Kirksey, E., Schuetze, C. & Helmreich, S. 2014. Introduction: Tactics of Multispecies Ethno­graphy. In: Kirksey, E. (ed.), The Multispecies Salon, pp. 1–24. Durham: Duke University Press.

Kristoffersen, S. 2010. Half Beast – Half Man: Hybrid Figures in Animal Art. World Archae­ology. Vol. 42 pp. 261–272.

Kveiborg, J., Ahlqvist, L. & Vandkilde, H. 2020. Horses, Fish and Humans: Interspecies Relationships in the Nordic Bronze Age. Current Swedish Archaeology. Vol. 28 pp. 75–98.

Latour, B. 1993. We have never been Modern. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

Lindström, T. 2020. Retrieving, Curating and Depositing Skulls at Pitted Ware Culture Sites. Current Swedish Archaeology. Vol. 28 pp. 147–179.

Mannermaa, K. & Kirkinen, T. 2020.Tracing the Materiality of Feathers in Stone Age North-Eastern Europe. Current Swedish Archaeology. Vol. 28 pp. 23–46.

Marshall, S. & Alberti, B. 2014. A Matter of Difference: Karen Barad, Ontology and Archae­ological Bodies. Cambridge Archaeological Journal. Vol. 24(1) pp. 19–36.

Mbembe, A. 2003. Necropolitics. Public Culture. 15(1) pp. 11–40.

Merkelbach, R. & Knight, G. (eds). 2020. Margins, Monsters, Deviants: Alterities in Old Norse Literature and Culture. Turnhout: Brepols.

Monikander, A. 2010. Våld och vatten: Våtmarkskult vid Skedemosse under järnåldern. Stockholm Studies in Archaeology 52.Stockholm: Stockholm universitet.

Nyström, V., Dalén, L., Varanyan, S. & Lidén, K. 2010. Temporal Genetic Change in the Last Remaining Population of Woolly Mammoth. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences. Vol. 277(1692) pp. 2331–2337.

Overton, N.J. & Hamilakis, Y. 2013. A Manifesto for a Social Zooarchaeology. Archaeological Dialogues. Vol. 20 pp. 111–136.

Overton, N.J. & Taylor, B. 2018. Humans in the Environment: Plants, Animals and Landscapes in Mesolithic Britain and Ireland. Journal of World Prehistory. Vol. 31 pp. 385–402.

Pedersen, E.A. & Widgren, M. 2011. Agriculture in Sweden, 800 BC–AD 1000. In: Myrdal, J. & Morell, M. (eds), The Agrarian History of Sweden. 4000 BC to AD 2000, pp. 46–71. Lund: Nordic Academic Press.

Pilaar Birch, S.E. (ed.). 2018. Multispecies Archaeology. London/New York: Routledge.

Pluskowski, A.G. 2007. Who ruled the Forests? An Inter-disciplinary Approach towards Medieval Hunting Landscapes. In: Hartmann, S. (ed.), Fauna and Flora in the Middle Ages, pp. 291–323. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Puig de la Bellacasa, M. 2017. Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

Rose, D.B. 2011. Wild Dog Dreaming: Love and Extinction. London: University of Virginia Press.

Storå, J., Ullén, I. & Drenzel, L. 2020. Splitting Bodies: A Close-up Study of a South Swedish Bog Deposition from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. Vol. 34 e. 102621.

Stolle, B. 2020. Ritual Slaughter through the Eyes of the Butcher: Perspectives on a Complex Practice. Current Swedish Archaeology. Vol. 28 pp. 181–200.

Van Doreen, T. 2014. Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction. New York: Columbia University Press.

Van Doreen, T., Kirksey, E. & Muenster, U. 2016. Multispecies Studies Cultivating Arts of Attentiveness. Environmental Humanities Journal. 8:1 (May 2016) pp. 1–23.

Wolfe, C. 2009. Human, All Too Human: ‘Animal Studies’ and the Humanities. PMLA. Vol. 124(2) pp. 564–575.




How to Cite

Fredengren, C. (2021) “Beyond Entanglement”, Current Swedish Archaeology, 29(1), pp. 11–33. doi: 10.37718/CSA.2021.01.