Re-thinking a Sacred Space: The evolution of late prehistoric burial practice as seen from a single Bronze Age tumulus from Karlstrup, Denmark

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferencebidrag i proceedingsForskningpeer review


In this paper, we model the evolution of one microcosm of a sacred landscape – a single burial mound with a long use-life - and relate it to how the graves in it were re-used and re-understood over time within the wider context of changing burial practices. These are then related to changing notions of identity and social status from the Late Neolithic through to the Early Nordic Bronze Age. To this end, we investigate the temporal funerary contexts of the dynamic use-life of Mound 4 at Karlstrup, Denmark, which contained a total of 16 graves interred across seven or eight construction phases spanning several centuries. In facilitating this investigation, our overview of the use biography of Karlstrup Mound 4 traces a wide and changing understanding of the sacred landscape and the relation of such places to the dynamic social and economic roles of individuals within the prehistoric communities which constructed them. We utilize an evolutionary framework to look at how funerary practices at Karlstrup Mound 4 may be seen to have evolved or not (as opposed to merely having changed) over time. We conclude with a discussion of how the final grave in the mound sequence illustrates complex antithetical conformities to the norms of its time while standing out as an unconventional type of burial: a same-sex male double-grave, in which both individuals were accorded rich grave goods.
TitelDeliberate Non-Conformance in Design and Manufacture in Prehistoric Material Culture
RedaktørerAriane Ballmer, Daniel Neumann
StatusAfsendt - 2021