Early medieval carved stones from Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia: a comparative study through place, movement, memory and identity

Busset, Anouk Marie (2017) Early medieval carved stones from Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia: a comparative study through place, movement, memory and identity. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3301634


The research presented within this work proposes and develops a new approach to the analysis of early medieval carved stone monuments in North-western Europe. Three data sets of stone monuments, and their associated archaeological sites from disparate regions of north-western Europe—Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia—are considered through a uniquely developed comparative methodology. This comparative approach was developed to create new insights and understanding of the use and functions of stone monuments during the early medieval period. Undeniably, this period witnessed one of the deepest and most significant transformations in European society and culture with the spread of Christianity across north-western Europe. The emergence and establishment of Christianity not only altered the beliefs of people, but also facilitated shifts in power between secular and ecclesiastical elites. The use of carved stone as a medium is an important characteristic in northern societies. And indeed, from the 5th century onwards, these monuments became prominent in the landscape, as objects of devotion and marks of political power, both secular and ecclesiastical.
The comparative approach developed for this study encompasses three major themes, place, movement, and monument, through which the case studies selected are analysed and discussed. The results are interpreted from a multi-scaled perspective: on a small level, through the monument, its identity and use as a mnemonic object; on a middle level, through the landscape settings and connection to ancient places; and on a large level, through the use and function of stone monuments within the conversion process and first centuries of Christianisation. For the latter perspective, the relationship between secular elites and the Church is closely examined.
Each regional selection is analysed from a holistic perspective comprising the study of the monument, and when available, its landscape setting and place-name, and mentions in historical sources. The results of this research demonstrate that analysing monuments, and their contexts, through a thematic approach rather than a geographical one enables the comparative process to emphasise similarities and contrasts, while allowing deeper understanding and new interpretations. Consequently, this exhibits the need for future research on carved stone monuments utilising the theoretical and methodological approaches developed by this work to further our understanding and interpretations of the place and role of these monuments in the early medieval world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: This thesis is a joint (double) degree between the University of Glasgow and the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Supported by funding from: Swiss National Science Foundation; Société Académique Vaudoise; Fondation Van Walsem pro Universitate and Soroptimist Switzerland and International.
Keywords: Early Christian sculpture, Picts, Pictish stones, early medieval Ireland, Scandinavia, runestones, landscape.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Supervisor's Name: Driscoll, Professor Stephen and Fuchs, Professor Michel
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Dr Anouk Busset
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8582
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2018 09:28
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 13:53
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.8582
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8582

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