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The Archaeology of the Animal in Viking-Age Paganism
My PhD research involves a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary study of the role animals played within the rituals and performances of Old Norse religion, as viewed through the lens of the archaeological remains they left behind. In Viking paganism, animals were sacrificed, worshipped and buried as companions, their skins and hides worn for prestige and magical potency, their bones used as gaming pieces or runic inscription. Animals were sources of both food and power, physical and political. Animal motifs adorned artefacts and religious sculpture, and animals played a distinctive, active variety of roles within Viking cosmology. The boundary between human and animal could be crossed in battle, religious ecstasy, or by the Gods. Specific parts of specific animals could carry social prestige or embody magic potency and superstitious belief.
Celtic Civilisation 1A (level 1)
Davis, T. 2014 ‘Burning Beasts and Killing Companions: Approaching the archaeology of animal sacrifice in the Viking burials of Britain’ paper given at a symposium on Viking burials, University of Stirling, 12/9/14