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The earth, the sky and the water's edge: changing beliefs in the earlier prehistory of Northern Europe

Bradley, R. and Nimura, C. (2013) The earth, the sky and the water's edge: changing beliefs in the earlier prehistory of Northern Europe. World Archaeology, 45 (1). pp. 12-26. ISSN 0043-8243

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2012.759515

Abstract/Summary

There have been two kinds of study of ancient beliefs in the earlier prehistory of Scandinavia. One considers the impact of ideas which originated further to the south and east. It considers a cosmology based on the movements of the sun. A second tradition develops out of the ethnography of the circumpolar region and combines archaeological evidence with the beliefs of hunter-gatherers. It postulates the existence of a three-tier cosmology in which people could communicate between different worlds. This paper argues that certain elements that are thought to epitomize the ‘Southern’ system might have been suggested by existing ideas within Scandinavia itself. Both sets of beliefs came to influence one another, but they became increasingly distinct towards the end of the Bronze Age. This paper reconsiders the rock carvings, metalwork and mortuary cairns of that period and the Iron Age in relation to the process of religious change.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:30634
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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