Svøpt i myra – Synspunkter på Skjoldehamnfunnets etniske og kulturelle tilknytning

Asgeir Svestad


Wrapped in the bog. Perspectives on the Skjoldehamn find and its ethnic and cultural affiliation

In 1936 an extraordinary find of a clothed skeleton wrapped in a blanket and covered with birch bark appeared in a bog at Skjoldehamn on Andøya Island. The wrapped body was laid on a reindeer pelt, which in turn was placed on sticks of birch. The grave dates to the 11th century, probably the later half. Compared with relevant Norse, Sámi, and Christian graves and burial customs, the Skjoldehamn grave exhibits several similar features, although typical Christian features seem absent. Norse and Sámi graves display a blend of ethnic features, which makes it difficult to single out a particular burial custom or ethnic affiliation. Previous analyses of the Skjoldehamn costume and shoe fragments strongly indicate similarities with Sámi costume and shoe-making from the 17th century and later. Recent analysis of the metal content of cast rings/pearls from the costume has yielded mean values of 93 % pewter and 6 % lead. Casting of pewter objects is an exclusive Sámi craft in Fenno-Scandinavia and similar objects are documented in several Sámi contexts from the 11th to 14th centuries. Judging from costume and craft traditions alone, the Skjoldehamn find appears to be Sámi. Mixed grave features, however, indicate a more hybrid affiliation.




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