Långhus i Gene : teori och praktik i rekonstruktion

by Edblom, Lena

Abstract (Summary)
During the years of 1977-89 the Department of Archaeology at Umeå University conducted a scientific investigation of an Early Iron Age settlement at Genesmon in the parish of Själevad, northern Ångermanland. Subsequently, during the years 1991-99 parts of the farm were reconstructed at Gene Fornby, a couple of hundred meters away from the site. This thesis deals with the construction and furnishing of one of the farm’s longhouses (House II), and the wider context of the construction and function of the “three-aisled” building type. The purpose of this thesis is to describe the interaction between theory and practice in reconstruction, to describe the reconstruction process as a constantly changing process of explanation and understanding, and to investigate as to whether reconstructions can contribute to an increased understanding of archaeological house remains. At the end of the Late Iron Age, after nearly 5000 years of dominance in Southern and Central Scandinavia, the longhouse ceases to be the dominant form of construction. Understanding why this happened became an important problem in this work. During the reconstruction work, different interpretations influenced one another in a series of positive and negative feedbacks into the explanations of the archaeological remains. A hermeneutic model is used to describe this phenomenon. From archaeological and written sources, division and furnishing of the long-houses can be described in terms of seven room functions. These can be classified as storage bur, porch önd, living room skåle, byre fjös, stable stall, barn lada and rough kitchen eldhus. In order to understand the ideological meaning of the buildings the role of the fire, the placement of the seat of honour and the change in the type of building in Iceland became important parts of this study. Numerous heating experiments have been undertaken in order to try to solve the problem of excessive smoke within the building. The experiments finally led to a possible solution that also serves to illustrate just how the model itself came to influence the process of interpretation.The reconstruction work led to results of different character: partly data on construction, function and materials – and the time frame for the construction of House II from its archaeological remains; and partly knowledge and new theories which increase our understanding of the three-aisled building form. The elongated form, roof supporting poles, central hearth and a close association with ritual and ideology are suggested as characteristic elements for this type of construction, throughout its chronological and spatial extent. The relationship between the building and Norse ideologies is suggested as one of the explanations for the longhouse’s dissappearance with the introduction of Christianity. At the end of the Viking Age, there is a transition into a new framework based method of construction, and the political and ecclesiastical authorities are discussed as having governed these widespread changes.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Umeå universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; History and philosophy subjects; Archaeology subjects; Archaeology; Reconstruction; longhouse; Early Iron Age; Central Norrland; furnishing; room functions; fire; seat of honour; Christianisation; Icelandic sagas; Icelandic construction techniques; Arkeologi; arkeologi; Archaeology


Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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