Book: The Public Archaeology of Death
Chapter: Death on Canvas: Artistic Reconstructions in Viking Age Mortuary Archaeology
In the Viking Age the dead were celebrated, commemorated, and forgotten in a plethora of ways which involved acts of speech, movement, as well as various other audio-visual effects. In order to better understand subtle aspects of death and dying in Norse societies, and to present these notions in a captivating way to academic and popular audiences, in recent years a number of archaeologists have started to actively collaborate with artists. Their combined efforts have allowed to recreate how various types of graves may have appeared at the time of burial. Today, reconstructions of Viking Age funerals and graves are frequently used in publications and museum exhibitions, but very little has been said about the methodologies and ethical concerns that stand behind their creation. This paper critically debates these issues, based on selected case studies and personal experiences of the author.