Of Warriors and Beasts: The Hogbacks and Hammerhead Crosses of Viking Age Strathclyde and Northumbria

Barnes, Jamie (2019) Of Warriors and Beasts: The Hogbacks and Hammerhead Crosses of Viking Age Strathclyde and Northumbria. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3368902


This thesis examines the hogbacks and hammerhead crosses of Viking Age Strathclyde and Northumbria. Both are Insular forms of carved stone sculpture often found in Christian contexts. This thesis aims to highlight the significance of these carved stones within a contemporary landscape dominated by a complex historical and archaeological narrative, with the overall aim of ascribing them functions, beyond those of funerary. The approach this thesis takes is theoretical in its construct, both methodologically and analytically, and is grounded in the phenomenological principles of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. It is hoped that this thesis will break down the perceived barrier imposed on research by the modern Scotland-England border, thus potentially alleviate the implied disconnect between Viking Age Strathclyde and Northumbria.

While acknowledging the current art-historical work, this thesis archaeologically reappraises hogbacks and provides an original and detailed archaeological treatise of hammerhead crosses. Additionally, this thesis espouses a conceptual framework for approaching, analysing and interpreting carved stones, which considers the idea of what makes space become a place. This framework involves the adoption of a reflexive phenomenological approach to the recording of carved stone monuments in the landscape, and, in approaching material, the adoption and adaption of the concepts of hybrid practice, supervenience, Deleuzian difference, common difference, the third space, and art and agency. In integrating these approaches and concepts, the idea of place-making emerges, discerned via non-dialectical interrelationships between people, material, and space. It is conceptualised here in abstract form as the person/object/place framework.

In applying this framework to postulate the functions of hogbacks and hammerhead crosses in the landscape, the following, non-mutually exclusive, themes are considered: commemorative space, economic space, biblical space, mythological space, political space, and sacred space. Considering these themes in the application of the conceptual framework to approaching notable carved stones gives rise to the concept of functional landscapes. These abstract landscapes emerge and are understood through a network of functional places, developing out of particular carved stone monuments inhabiting specific spaces. Ascribing functions to Viking Age carved stones allows for interpretation beyond the traditional and uncritical narrative that hogbacks and hammerhead crosses are simply Viking ‘calling cards’ or gravestones. Furthermore, in considering the Christian context and syncretic nature of many hogbacks, this thesis challenges the common idea that their origins and models often lie solely in Scandinavian paganism and culture.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Viking Age, Viking, Vikings, Scandinavian, pagan, Christian, carved stone, stone sculpture, archaeology, hogback, hammerhead cross, kindred monument, landscape, theory, hybrid practice, third space, common difference, Giles Deleuze, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, phenomenology, perception, space, place, early medieval, Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, Irish Sea, Strathclyde, Govan, York, Northumbria, Cumbria.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Supervisor's Name: Batey, Dr. Colleen and Harrison, Dr. Stephen
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Dr Jamie Barnes
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-75049
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2019 10:12
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2022 13:29
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.75049
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/75049

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