Animal Graves: Dog, Horse and Bear


  • Kristina Jennbert Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Lund University



pre-Christian ritual practice, human/animal relations, modern time


The author discusses the relationship between people and animals in a time perspective of millennia. The starting point is the pre-Christian, Scandinavian, animal graves of dogs and horses, the Saami bear-graves, as well as animal burials of modern time. The occurrence of animal graves in pre-Christian time and the wide range of ways to dispose ofhuman and animal bodies complicate our understanding of the concept of a grave. The relationship between people and animals is complex. The animal burials reflect the existence ofa longstanding and very close bond between people and animals, which is based on emotion, prestige and the ritualising of a dynamic nature. It seems that people position themselves in their surroundings with a kind of mentality that has a long time span. This gives unexpected views of the cultural inheritance, of the idea of people as the crown of creation, and of the way in which the main threads are interwoven in our cultural history.


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How to Cite

Jennbert, K. (2003) “Animal Graves: Dog, Horse and Bear”, Current Swedish Archaeology, 11(1), pp. 139–152. doi: 10.37718/CSA.2003.07.