Vid Gudarna, så Smidigt! : Att identifiera och tolka smedens roll och det osteologiska materialets användningsområden i samband med smide i lokalen ”Signallottan”
Sammanfattning: The Gotlandic smith has been depicted on several picture stones and is a subject of fear and respect in the Old Norse sagas. Their technological prowess can be identified through their skilful work and through the stories told about them, but one must delve deeper to identify the smith-craft itself. This thesis seeks to apply the practice of bone-smithing on the osteological material from the Gotlandic site of “Signallottan” located about a kilometre southeast of the Hanseatic walled city of Visby, a site which was excavated in 2018 to get a broader understanding of the site’s previous uses. In addition to this, an osteological and spatial analysis will be carried out to identify the role of the smith and the use of bones in smithing, as well as a literature study of texts depicting or discussing the smith from the perspective of the Icelandic sagas. The thesis will focus on the application of theoretical frameworks with their basis in materiality, agency, and entanglement to interpret what activities can be identified in Signallottan through the current analyses in correlation with the extensive previous identification of osteological material from the site. This thesis will seek to identify the animal species that are present in the osteological material as well as the degree of cremation of the bones, which could imply that bones were used in smithing practice and ritual during the Viking Age. Around 2,5kg of bones were analysed during the thesis, a majority of which were burnt. The spatial analysis of the site, which was carried out through GIS, reveals a connection between finds of iron, slag, and bone together with oxide scale to form the interpretation of the site as having been used for smithing, that may have used bone as fuel during the carbonisation-process. The smithing practices during the Viking Age are deemed to be a supernaturally connected practice with transformative implications of seiðr, old Norse magic, but are also practices that were highly dependent on the craftsman’s skill and a network of trade to receive the materials necessary for larger-scale production in an agricultural society.
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