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Sagaholm (Paperback)

North European Bronze Age rock art and burial ritual

Ancient History > Prehistory > Bronze Age Ancient History > Prehistory > Rock Art

Imprint: Oxbow Books
Pages: 192
Illustrations: b/w and colour
ISBN: 9781785702648
Published: 6th October 2016
Casemate UK Academic

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This major new study by one of Europe’s leading prehistorians presents and discusses a series of rock art engravings from a Bronze Age barrow in Ljungarum parish, Jönköping Län, situated in the central part of southern Sweden. Sagaholm contains the largest group of rock engravings discovered in a burial context in northern Europe. Joachim Goldhahn addresses a number of aspects of the use of rock engravings in burial rituals during the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1600–1100 BC), combining the antiquarian and scientific history of this extraordinary find. In order to understand the meaning and significance of the rock art in the barrow, the author presents a theoretical argument that the art is meaningfully composed and can been seen as the result of an active symbolic praxis which mirrors a metaphorical way of thinking. Special concern is given to the frequent horse motifs at Sagaholm, and it is argued that they, and the morphology of this particular barrow, can be seen as a metaphor for a new and exotic cosmology that reached southern Scandinavia during the Middle Bronze Age. It is further suggested that this extraordinary find points to a (re)interpretation of Scandinavian Bronze Age rock art as an important part of burial ritual, linked to certain beliefs about the regeneration of life.

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