Graven som förankring till de levandes värld : En osteologisk analys av ett vendeltida brandgravsmaterial från Valstad, Gamleby socken, Småland
Sammanfattning: This paper investigates possible interpretations of a cremated grave material from the Vendel period in Valstad, Gamleby parish, Småland. The interpretations are based on both the osteological material and some of the archaeological finds. The focus in this paper is the excavated grave in Valstad and does not include similar burials from other locations. The source material consists of osteological material and text material that focus on the late Iron Age. The text material has been selected in order to include up-to-date discussions about ideas and interpretations. The theoretical framework of this paper is built around post-processual archaeology, process archaeology and practice theory. The osteological analysis resulted in the identification of three present animal species in addition to human remains. The analysis also revealed the species distribution in the grave and the distribution pattern of all bone fragments. The bone material was found to have been deliberately crushed, where the material is likely to have been collected or picked up before the crushing took place. The discussion treats three phases; cremation, deposition and closure, in the process from deceased individual to complete grave. In each phase identifiable practices and their interpretations are discussed for the grave as a whole. In the discussion, the interpretation is made that the cremation was the phase where the dead was considered leaving the living world. The deposition was instead interpreted as the phase that allowed the survivors to have continued contact with the dead and the closure the phase that made it possible for the established link to remain forever.
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