Body-Worldings of Later Scandinavian Prehistory: Making Oddkin with Two Body-Objects

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.37718/CSA.2022.09

Keywords:

anthropomorphic figures, more-than-representation, body-worlds, worlding, Bronze Age, Late Iron Age, body-politics

Abstract

In the last two decades, the body has emerged as a rich field of theorization and scholarly exploration in archaeology. This paper is an excursion into a consideration of two bodyobjects of prehistoric Denmark: an anthropomorphic bronze figurine from the Fårdal assemblage dating to the late Bronze Age, and a figural gold foil with an anthropomorphic stamp from Sorte Muld, created perhaps as much as 1 500 years later, in the Merovingian period (550–750 CE). The two images are made in very different materials, in distinctly different forms, and belong to different historical situations. Nevertheless, the two artefacts render what are likely women’s bodies with clear differences, but also some uncanny similarities.
This article explores these artefacts from a more-than-representational perspective. Moving beyond a taxonomic approach, it focuses on aspects of these images beyond what or who they ‘represent’. What can such an approach tell us about the capacities of bodies, as well as the capacities of the artefacts themselves? This entails, following the work of Donna Haraway, worlding them in two vastly different social, material and political worlds; drawing out their making from two very different technological processes; engaging with the similarities and differences of their biographies; and, crucially, thereby contemplating their kinship.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Alberti, B. & Marshall, Y. 2009. Animating Archaeology: Local Theories and Conceptually Open-ended Methodologies. Cambridge Archaeological Journal. Vol. 19(3) pp. 345-57, doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959774309000535.

Anderson, B. & Harrison, P. 2010. The Promise of Non-Representational Theories. In: Anderson, B. & Harrison, P. (eds), Taking-Place: Non-Representational Theories and Geography, pp. 1-36. London and New York: Routledge.

Axboe, M. 2007. Brakteatstudier. Copenhagen: Det Kongelige Nordiske Oldskriftselskab.

Baastrup, M.P. 2015. Invitation systems and Identification in Late Iron Age Southern Scandinavia? The Gold Foil Figures from a New Perspective. Danish Journal of Archaeology. Vol. 4(1) pp. 64-74, doi: 10.1080/21662282.2016.1151692.

Back Danielsson, I.-M. 2007. Masking Moments: The Transitions of Bodies and Beings in late Iron Age Scandinavia. Ph.D. diss., University of Stockholm.

Back Danielsson, I.-M. 2012. The Rape of the Lock: or a Comparison between Miniature Images of the Eighth and Eighteenth Centuries. In: Back Danielsson, I.-M., Fahlander, F. & Sjöstrand, Y. (eds), Encountering Imagery. Materiality, Perceptions, Relations, pp. 29-50. Stockholm: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University.

Back Danielsson, I.-M. 2013. Materials of Affect: Miniatures in the Scandinavian Late Iron Age (AD 550-1050). In: Alberti, B., Jones, A. & Pollard, A.M. (eds), Archaeology after Interpretation: Returning Materials to Archaeological Theory, pp. 325-344. Left Coast Press.

Bailey, D. 2014. Touch and the Cheirotic Apprehension of Prehistoric Figurines. In: Dent, P. (ed), Sculpture and Touch, pp. 27-43. London and New York: Routledge.

Bergerbrant, S. 2014. Ordinary or Extraordinary? Redressing the Problem of the Bronze Age Corded Skirt. Current Swedish Archaeology. Vol. 22 pp. 73-97, doi: https://doi.org/10.37718/CSA.2014.08.

Brück, J. & Fontijn, D. 2013. The Myth of the Chief: Prestige Goods, Power, and Personhood in the European Bronze Age. In: Fokkens, H. & Harding, A. (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the European Bronze Age, pp. 197-215. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Butler, J. 1990. Gender Trouble. Feminism and the subversion of identity. London and New York: Routledge.

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. 2013 [1987]. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Bloomsbury Academi.

Eriksen, M.H. 2017. Don’t All Mothers Love their Children? Deposited Infants as Animate Objects in the Scandinavian Iron Age. World Archaeology. Vol. 49(3) pp. 338-356, doi: 10.1080/00438243.2017.1340189.

Eriksen, M.H. 2020. Body-objects and Personhood in Iron and Viking Age Scandinavia: Processing, Curating, and Depositing Skulls in Settlements. World Archaeology. Vol. 52(1) pp. 103-119, doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/00438243.2019.1741439.

Eriksen, M.H. & Kay, K. 2022. Reflections on Posthuman Ethics. Grievability and the more-than-human worlds of Iron and Viking Age Scandinavia. Cambridge Archaeological Journal. Vol. 32((2)) pp. 331-343, doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959774321000561.

Glob, P. 1961. Kultbåde fra Danmarks Bronzealder. Kuml. Vol. 11 pp. 9-14.

Glob, P. 1969. Helleristninger I Danmark. Højbjerg: Jysk Arkæologisk Selskab.

Gullmann, J. 2004. The Gold of the Figural Gold Foils. In: Clarke, H. & Lamm, K. (eds), Excavations at Helgö XVI: Exotic and Sacral Finds from Helgö, pp. 112–115. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell International.

Görman, M. 1996. The Necklace as a Divine Symbol and as a Sign of Dignity in the Old Norse Conception. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis. Vol. 16 pp. 111-150, doi: 10.30674/scripta.67226.

Hamilakis, Y. 2013. Archaeology of the Senses. Human Experience, Memory, and Affect. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hansen, M.C.D. 2019 Håndtegnets udstrakte fingre: en anderledes tilgang til tydningen af bronzealdermotiverne. Gefjon. Vol. 2019(4) pp. 86-151.

Haraway, D.J. 1997. Modest_witness@ second_millennium. FemaleMan _Meets_OncoMouse™: Feminism and Technoscience. London: Routledge.

Haraway, D.J. 2003. The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness. Vol. 1. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.

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

Harris, O.J. 2018. More than Representation: Multiscalar Assemblages and the Deleuzian Challenge to Archaeology. History of the Human Sciences. Vol. 31(3) pp. 83-104, doi: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0952695117752016.

Hauck, K. 1993. Die bremische berlieferung zur G tter-Dreiheit Altuppsalas und die bornholmische Goldfolien aus Sorte Muld. Frühmittelalterliche Studien. Vol. 27 pp. 409–479.

Hedeager, L. 2015. For the Blind Eye Only? Scandinavian Gold Foils and the Power of Small Things. Norwegian Archaeological Review. Vol. 48(2) pp. 129-151, doi: 10.1080/00293652.2015.1104516.

Hodder, I. 1986. Reading the Past. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ingold, T. 2013. Making: anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture. London: Routledge.

Iversen, R. 2014. Bronze Age Acrobats: Denmark, Egypt, Crete. World Archaeology. Vol. 46(2) pp. 242-255, doi: 10.1080/00438243.2014.886526.

Jensen, J. 2003. Bronzealder 2000-500 f.Kr. Danmarks oldtid. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.

Kjær, H. 1927. To Votivfund fra yngre bronzealder, fra Fyen og Jylland. Aarbøger for nordisk Oldkyndighed og Historie. Vol. 1927 pp. 235-276.

Kuijpers, M.H.G. 2008. The sound of Fire, Taste of Copper, feel of Bronze, and Colours of the Cast: Sensory Aspects of Metalworking Technology. In: Stig Sørensen, M.L. & Rebay-Salisbury, K. (eds), Embodied Knowledge: Historical Perspectives on Belief and Technology, pp. 137-150. Oxford: Oxbow.

Larsson, L. & Lenntorp, K.-M. 2004. The Enigmatic House. In: Larsson, L. (ed.) Continuity for Centuries. A Ceremonial Building and itsCcontext at Uppåkra, Southern Sweden, pp. 3–48. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.

Ling, J., Hjärthner-Holdar, E., Grandin, L., Billström, K. &. Persson, P.-O. 2013. Moving Metals or Indigenous Mining? Provenancing Scandinavian Bronze Age artefacts by Lead Isotopes and Trace Elements. Journal of Archaeological Science. Vol. 40(1) pp. 291-304.

Lund, J. & Melheim, L. 2011. Heads and Tails – Minds and Bodies: Reconsidering the Late Bronze Age Vestby Hoard in Light of Symbolist and Body Perspectives. European Journal of Archaeology. Vol. 14(3) pp. 441-464, doi: 10.1179/146195711798356692.

Lundqvist, L. & Arcini, C. 2003. Slöinge 1992-1996: undersökningar av en boplats från yngre järnålder. Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet. Institutionen för arkeologi.

Mannering, U. 2017. Iconic Costumes: Scandinavian late Iron Age Costume Iconography. Vol. 25 of Ancient Textiles Series. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Mauss, M. 1973. Techniques of the Body. Economy and Society. Vol. 2(1) pp. 70-88, doi: 10.1080/03085147300000003.

Melheim, L., Grandin, L., […] Hjärthner-Holdar, E. & Kristiansen, K. 2018. Moving Metals III: Possible Origins for Copper in Bronze Age Denmark Based on Lead Isotopes and Geochemistry. Journal of Archaeological Science. Vol. 96 pp. 85-105.

Mejsholm, L. 2009. Gränsland: konstruktion av tidig barndom och begravningsritual vid tiden för kristnandet i Skandinavien. Vol. 44 of Occasional papers in Archaeology. Uppsala: Institutionen för arkeologi och antik historia, Uppsala university.

Nørgaard, H.W., Pernicka, E. & Vandkilde, H. 2021. Shifting Networks and mixing metals: Changing Metal Trade Routes to Scandinavia Correlate with Neolithic and Bronze Age Transformations. PLOS ONE. Vol. 16(6) e0252376.

Oma, K.A. 2018. The Sheep People: The Ontology of Making Lives, Building Homes and Forging Herds in Early Bronze Age Norway. Sheffield: Equinox.

Oma, K.A. & Melheim, L. 2019. ‘Children of the light’: On Yoga, Body Schemes and Altered States of Consciousness in the Nordic Late Bronze Age — A Link to India? In: Olsen, B. A., Olander, T & Kristiansen, K. (eds), Tracing the Indo-Europeans. New Evidence from Archaeology and Historical Linguistics, pp. 123-144. Oxford: Oxbow.

Pesch, A. & Helmbrecht, M. 2019a. Gold Foil Figures in Focus: Synthesis and Results. In: Pesch, A. & Helmbrecht, M. (eds), Gold Foil Figures in Focus. A Scandinavian Find Group and Related Objects and Images from Ancient and Medieval Europe, pp. 427-449. Munich: Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil.

Pesch, A. & Helmbrecht, M. (eds) 2019b. Gold Foil Figures in Focus. A Scandinavian Find Group and Related Objects and Images from Ancient and Medieval Europe. Munich: Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil.

Price, N. 2006. What’s in a Name? An Archaeological Identity Crisis for the Norse Gods (and some of their Friends). In: Andrén, A., Jennbert, K. & Raudvere, C. (eds), Old Norse Religion in Long-Term Perspectives. Origins, Changes and Interactions. An International Conference in Lund, Sweden, June 3-7, 2004, pp. 179-184. Lund: Nordic Academic Press.

Ratke, S. 2008 Guldgubber http://guldgubber.de/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/katalogengl.jpg [Accessed 14 May 2021].

Ratke, S. 2009. Guldgubber – a Glimpse into the Vendel Period. Lund Archaeological Review. Vol. 15 (2009) pp. 149–159.

Robb, J. & Harris, O.J.T. 2013. The Body in History: Europe from the Paleolithic to the future. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rosenqvist, A.M. 1954. Studier av bronseteknikken i Vestbyfunnet. Viking. Vol. 18 pp. 125‒155.

Rønne, P. 1989. Early Bronze Age Spiral Ornament—the Technical Background. Journal of Danish Archaeology. Vol. 8(1) pp. 126-143.

Rønne, P. & Bredsdorff, T. 2008. Cire perdue støbning i bronzealderen. Hvordan laver man en voksmodel. Aarbøger for nordisk Oldkyndighed og Historie. Vol. 2008 pp. 59-76.

Steinsland, G. 1990. De nordiske gullblekk med parmotiv og norrøn fyrsteideologi. Et tolkningsforslag. Collegium Medievale. Vol. 3(1) pp. 73-94.

Stig Sørensen, M.L. & Appleby, G. 2018. The Production of Metal Objects. In: Bender Jørgensen, L., Sofaer, J.R. & Stig Sørensen, M.L. (eds), Creativity in the Bronze Age: understanding innovation in pottery, textile, and metalwork production, pp. 75-80. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thedéen, S. 2003. Life Course Practices in Bronze Age Landscapes of East Central Sweden: Beyond Divine Chiefs and Neodiffusionism. Current Swedish Archaeology. Vol. 11(1) pp. 97-118.

Thrane, H. 1999. Grevensvænge. In: Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde. Vol. 13, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 23.

Treherne, P. 1995. The Warrior's Beauty: The Masculine Body and Self-Identity in Bronze-Age Europe. Journal of European Archaeology, Vol. 3(1) pp. 105-144.

Varberg, J. 2013. Lady of the Battle and of the Horse: on Anthropomorphic Gods and their Cult in Late Bronze Age Scandinavia. In: Bergerbrant, S. & Sabatini, S. (eds), Counterpoint: Essays in Archaeology and Heritage Studies in Honour of Professor Kristian Kristiansen, pp. 143-157. Oxford: BAR International Series/Archaeopress.

Watt, M. 1992. Die Goldblechfiguren (‘guldgubber’) aus Sorte Muld, Bornholm. In: K. Hauck (ed.), Der historische Horizont der Götterbild-Amulette aus der Übergangsepoche von der Spätantike zum frühen Mittelalter. Abhandlungen der Akademie der

Wissenschaften in Göttingen, Philologische-Historische Klasse, Dritte Folge 200, pp. 195–227. Göttingen: Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen.

Watt, M. 2004. The Gold-Figure Foils (“Guldgubbar”) from Uppåkra. In: Larsson, L. (ed.) Continuity for Centuries. A Ceremonial Building and its Context at Uppåkra, Southern Sweden, pp. 167–221. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.

Watt, M. 2016. Comments on Maria Panum Baastrup’s Invitation Systems and identification in Late Iron Age Southern Scandinavia. Danish Journal of Archaeology. Vol. 5(1-2) pp. 86-88, doi: 10.1080/21662282.2016.1202658.

Watt, M. 2019a. Gold Foil Figures — Fact and Fiction? . In: Pesch, A. & Helmbrecht, M. (eds), Gold Foil Figures in Focus. A Scandinavian Find Group and Related Objects and Images from Ancient and Medieval Europe, pp. 35-72. Munich: Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil.

Watt, M. 2019b. Gold Foil Figures and Norse Mythology: Fact and Fiction? In: Wikström af Edholm, K., Jackson Rova, P., Nordberg, A., Sundqvist, O. & Zachrisson, T. (eds), Myth, Materiality and Lived Religion: In Merovingian and Viking Scandinavia, pp. 191–221. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press.

Weismantel, M. 2013. Inhuman eyes: Looking at Chavin De Huantar. In: Watts, C. (ed.) Relational Archaeologies: Humans, Animals, Things, pp. 21-41. London: Routledge.

Weismantel, M. & Meskell, L. 2014. Substances: ‘Following the Material’ through two Prehistoric Cases. Journal of Material Culture. Vol. 19(3) pp. 233-251, doi: 10.1177/1359183514546803.

Wicker, N.L. 2020. Dazzle, Dangle, and Jangle: Sensory Effects of Scandinavian Gold Bracteates. Das Mittelalter. Vol. 25(2) pp. 358-381, doi: doi:10.1515/mial-2020-0042.

PERSONAL COMMUNICATION

Watt, M. Bornholm Museum. Personal communication via email. 8 October 2022.

DIGITAL SOURCE

Nationalmuseet 2022. Menneskefigur fra Fårdal. https://samlinger.natmus.dk/do/asset/3773. [Accessed 22 November 2022].

Downloads

Published

2022-12-23

How to Cite

Eriksen, M. H. (2022) “Body-Worldings of Later Scandinavian Prehistory: Making Oddkin with Two Body-Objects”, Current Swedish Archaeology, 30, pp. 65–94. doi: 10.37718/CSA.2022.09.

Issue

Section

Research Articles