The Pukberget sacrifical cave, Uppland
I recently submitted my contribution to the proceedings volume from the 11th Nordic Bronze Age Symposium. Here’s the manuscript and here’s the abstract:
Gods of High Places and Deep Romantic Chasms
Introductory remarks to a study of the landscape situation of Bronze Age sacrificial sites in the Lake Mälaren area
This paper outlines work in progress with the Bronze Age sacrificial sites of the Lake Mälaren provinces in Sweden. The project’s goals are twofold: a) to understand the landscape rules behind the siting of deposits, and thereby b) to develop a tool-kit that allows scholars to find undisturbed Bronze Age deposits without the aid of farmers, dredgers or ditch diggers.
After closer study of nine sites in Uppland and Södermanland provinces in the field and numerous ones in the archives, I have found that the Bronze Age people under study preferred to make sacrifices at wet, high, topographically dramatic and ancestral locations. There are finds from bogs and white-water river gorges, hilltops, a cave and a settlement-site that had once been important. In the rare dry-land deposit locations, eye-catching boulders were sought out.
Known sacrificial sites appear to prefer a location 1.2-1.5 km from settlement-indicating burnt mounds, rock art and the coeval seashore. This means that sacrificial sites are typically part of the same contiguous sightlined landscape room as the homes of the people who frequented them.
The paper will go through peer review and revision, so there’s ample time for any Aard reader who likes to suggest improvements.