Four years ago saw the publication of a special issue of the European Journal of Archaeology: ‘Mortuary Citations: Death and Memory in the Viking World’. This issue posed the question: how did Viking-period mortuary practices cite the past through their material cultures, spatialities and monumentalities?
The theme of mortuary citations was tackled from varied perspectives by different contributors to the special issue, but I contend this approach is a valuable dimension of a practice-focused approach to the variability and complexity of mortuary rituals in the Viking world, from ‘pagan’ to Christian, from Scandinavia to the British Isles and the North Atlantic, and farther afield too.
The collection not only explores citations made to ancient monuments through the positioning of new graves and monuments. Also, papers consider the accretive, cumulative development of cemeteries, and the choices over form, ornamentation and materiality in funerary commemoration. Mortuary citations also refers to textual subjects – references to people and places – in funerary inscriptions and the choices made over the inclusions of portable artefacts, materials and substances in mortuary practice. Finally, this theme also relates to broader relationships between mortuary and settlement spheres, and the themes that connected the two in the Viking world. I won’t attempt to survey or evaluate all the contributions in this blog-post, but here are the key links for more info.
For my earlier Archaeodeath blog-post, click here.
For the Archaeodeath blog-posts about the conference sessions from whence the special issue arose, see my post about the 2013 EAA session ‘Viking Chains of Citation’, click here.
To learn about the follow up session with the same title and the subsequent publication, click here.
To access the special issue ‘Mortuary Citations: Death and Memory in the Viking World’, volume 19(3) of the European Journal of Archaeology, click here.
Download the pdf of Howard’s intro, click here.
In one of my recent Archaeodeath videos, I introduce this special issue of the European Journal of Archaeology. In my video I contend that the arguments contained in this collection still haven’t been fully debated or taken forward, yet they offer fresh perspectives on late first millennium AD mortuary archaeology in northern Europe and lessons and perspectives for application elsewhere by archaeologists in the study of death, burial and memory in the past and present.