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The Life Biography of Artefacts and Ritual Practice

With case studies from Mesolithic-Early Bronze Age Europe

Mathias Bjørnevad-Ahlqvist and Peter Bye-Jensen
Publication Year:
140 pages, Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white. 11 tables, 111 figures.
BAR number:


Inspired by a session held at the EAA conference in Vilnius in 2016, The Life Biography of Artefacts and Ritual Practice focuses on creating biographies from material culture as a means of understanding the relationship between the life of an artefact, the temporality of ritual practices and an object’s final deposition. The temporal and geographic scope of these chapters range from Mesolithic Scandinavia, Neolithic practices found across Eastern, Central, Northern and Western Europe and stretches into the Eneolithic, Copper Age and early Bronze Age of central Europe.  This volume explores the idea that one can create a narrative of an artefacts’ life-biography by engaging various scientific methods and theoretical approaches.With a foreword by Joshua Pollard.

Mathias Bjørnevad-Ahlqvist completed his PhD at the University of Aarhus in 2019. This research focused on the biography of Mesolithic and Neolithic ritual hoarding. Mathias also has wider interests including the application of cognitive science of religion, analysis of legacy material and Native American objects in Danish regional museums.

Peter Bye-Jensen completed his PhD at the University of Southampton/Cardiff University in 2019. The focus of this research was the nature and temporality of the activities centred around early Neolithic monuments, specifically causewayed enclosures. Peter now works as Heritage Manager for The Cabrach Trust, a community development organisation in North Eastern Scotland, where his role involves exploring the region’s rich but little-known whisky distilling heritage.

List of contributors: Mathias Bjørnevad-Ahlqvist, Pavel Burgert, Adomas Butrimas, Peter Bye-Jensen, Marzena Cendrowska, Roman Hadacz, Ludmila Kaňáková, Raluca Kogălniceanu, Markéta Končelová, Bernadeta Kufel-Diakowska, Joanna Kałużna-Czaplińska, Lars Larsson, Marta Mozgała-Swacha, Jaroslav Řídký, Tomas Rimkus, Angelina Rosiak, Gvidas Slah, Henryk Stoksik, Radka Šumberová, Kata Szilágyi.

‘The life Biography of Objects and Ritual Practice constitutes an important contribution to our knowledge on the role of artefacts found next to the dead or in sites interpreted by archaeologists as ritual. This volume collects data from a geographical area where the archaeological record is extremely rich and diverse, providing novel approaches and interpretations on the symbolic significance of objects, their lifecycles and their ultimate purpose.’ Dr Ana Cristina Reis Silva Araújo, CIBIO

Table of Contents (S2991_9781407356822_ToC.pdf, 284 Kb) [Download]

Preface and Foreword (S2991_9781407356822_Preface_Foreword.pdf, 207 Kb) [Download]