Byzantine and Islamic artefacts in Scandinavian burial contexts

Simms, Elsa A. (2021) Byzantine and Islamic artefacts in Scandinavian burial contexts. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Islamic literary sources that describe the funerals of the people of Rus’ only describe male burial rites. Viking Age commemoration through Eastern objects did not conform to a gender binary in the burial record. However, archaeological evidence at Birka indicates that trade, movement, and association with the “East” were also important elements of women’s and non-binary individual identities at Birka. It can be argued that the community made a point to represent and commemorate ethnically and gender diverse people in the burials with foreign artefacts. These artefacts are often ones from the Islamic World and the Byzantine Empire. This indicates that, despite a lack of representation of female and non-binary representations in the Islamic literary sources which focus on Viking Age burials, at Birka they were commemorated in similar ways to warriors and important men from the literary records. This indicates that women and non-binary people were equally as important in the conduct of trade and travel with Byzantium, the Islamic Caliphates, and the populations in between and this is indicated through the burial record.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 14988
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 117-124).
Keywords: Viking Age, Byzantine, Islam, Archaeology, History
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: May 2021
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Burial--Scandinavia--Social aspects; Byzantine antiquities--Sweden--Birka Site; Islamic antiquities--Sweden--Birka Site.

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