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VÄGAR TILL MIDGÅRD 8 Old Norse religion in long-term perspectives Origins, changes, and interactions An international conference in Lund, Sweden, June 3–7, 2004 Anders Andrén, Kristina Jennbert & Catharina Raudvere (eds) Nordic Academic Press NORDIC ACADEMIC PRESS Published with the financial support of The Bank of Sweden T
  Old Norse religionin long-term perspectives Origins, changes, and interactions  An international conference in Lund, Sweden, June –7, 004  Anders Andrén, Kristina Jennbert & Catharina Raudvere (eds) NordicAcademicPress     Ä   8  Nordic Academic PressBox 06,  05 Lund,© Nordic Academic Press and the authors 006Technical Editor: Åsa BerggrenTypesetting: Lotta HanssonCover: Jacob Wiberg Cover images: M. Winge: ”Tors strid med jättarna”and C. Larsson: ”Midvinterblot” with permissionfrom the National Museum, Stockholm.Photos by: Bengt Almgren, the Historical Museum, Lund,Kristina Jennbert, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Lund,Mimmi Tegnér, Malmö Heritage and Åsa Berggren, Malmö Heritage.Printed by: Preses Nams, Riga 006ISBN 0: 9-896-8-x ISBN : 978-9-896-8-8 Published with the financial supportof e Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation      -     Reuse or appropriation of an ancient monument for new purposes is a well-known phenomenon in recent as well as prehistoric times. A stone memorial may be moved to a new site or be incorporated in the walls of a much later building, and numerous graves have been inserted into existing struc-tures. In southern Scandinavia the changing burial customs of the Neolithic and Bronze Age – for instance, during the Single Grave culture or the Late Bronze Age – resulted in a succession of graves within individual monuments which, in a much later era, was to provide archaeologists with one of the cornerstones of relative chronology. Based on the sequence of closed find combinations, i.e. individual graves and their contents, it was possible to determine the relative date of artefacts, burial customs and monument types. Although first documented for the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, reuse is not limited to these early periods but was practised in later centuries, not least in the Viking Age. In Denmark one of the most prominent examples is the huge North Mound in Jelling, believed to be erected upon the death of King Gorm by his son Harald Bluetooth. Here re-excavation in the 940s revealed that the large wooden chamber containing the scattered remains of a tenth-century burial was in fact built in the centre of a Bronze Age mound leaving only the periphery of the ancient monument intact (Dyggve 948:94; Krogh 99:7). e new and far more imposing mound not only covered the royal burial but also a late Iron Age cremation at the edge of the srcinal mound and the end of a huge stone setting. When the first instances of monument reuse from the Viking Age, or with a term often used in the nineteenth  Ancient mounds for new graves  An aspect of Viking Age burial customs in southern Scandinavia   Anne Pedersen century, the late pagan era, were recorded, no definite inter-pretation was offered other than this seemed to be common practice. How common is indicated in J. J. A. Worsaae’s publication of a chamber burial uncovered beneath the Bjerringhøj mound near Mammen in Jutland in 868. e discovery was significant, not as an example of secondary use of an ancient monument but rather the opposite, in that the richly furnished grave clearly differed from other contempo-rary graves known at the time, many of which appeared to be located above ground level in the mound proper (Worsaae 869:06f). In spite of the inexpert excavation it could be determined beyond doubt that the Bjerringhøj chamber had been dug into the srcinal ground surface, the bottom thus lying about .5 metres below the mound, which contained no further burials (Worsaae 869:06f). A re-excavation of the site in 986 confirmed the position of the burial chamber, remains of which provided a dendrochronological date for the burial in 970/7 (Iversen 99).Monument reuse is mentioned in many later surveys of Viking Age burial customs in Denmark and is often noted when a single grave or cemetery is published. However, the phenomenon has as yet not been discussed in a broader perspective nor on a longer time scale, and the possible sig-nificance and meaning of the custom are debated. Was reuse of an ancient mound a simple labour-saving act or did it have a deeper symbolic meaning? And what were the underlying motives, if any, for the choice of an ancient burial site for a cemetery rather than any other point in the landscape? It is becoming increasingly clear that focus on the past and orien-tation towards ancient monuments was no random, isolated Figure 1. Viking Age burials or cemeteries recorded within an ancient mound or near an ancient mound in present-day Denmark.
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