The context and social dynamics of rituals

«Rituals» embraces a variety of actions and ideas in prehistory. Rituals were an integral part of people's lives, and were important on both personal and communal levels. From rock art to mounds of fire-cracked stones, this session aims to explore rituals in the Bronze Age with a particular emphasis on relational perspectives and the context of rituals. Rituals should not be separated from their communities, rather, they should be considered in relation to other actions, events that took place in the local communities as well as places and landscapes. By studying objects from deposits and burials, as well as other contexts, in terms of biographies, longe durée and the relations they entered into during their lifecourse, an increased understanding of rituals can be achieved by relating them to other events and places in the contemporary community. An increased understanding of rituals can be achieved by relating them to other events and places in the contemporary community. This is a good point of departure for studying variety within the Nordic Bronze Age sphere. Recent excavations have also shed light on activities on sites where rituals were carried out, e.g. at sites of votive deposits and rock art, providing new knowledge on both the context of rituals and the various actions and events that were part of the rituals in Bronze Age society. The contexts of rituals are thus of specific interest in this session, both on smaller and larger scales, in order to understand the social dynamics of rituals.

This session welcomes papers on rituals and ritual activity with an emphasis on contexts, relational perspectives, biographies and lifecourses within the Nordic Bronze Age sphere, including case studies and comparative studies. Theoretical and/or methodological contributions that open up for new insights into ritual activity/behaviours are also welcomed.  In particular, we want to address local and regional contrasts, and chronological contrasts. Chronologically, papers should range from the Late Neolithic to the start of the Iron Age.

 

Session organisers

Melanie Wrigglesworth

University Museum of Bergen, University of Bergen

Merete Moe Henriksen

Department of Archaeology and Cultural History, NTNU University Museum

Published Oct. 10, 2016 9:38 PM - Last modified Oct. 17, 2016 5:35 PM