Identities overseas? The long barrows in Denmark and Britain

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Constanze Rassmann


Neolithic scholars have debated the significance of similarities between British and south Scandinavian ceramic styles and burial methods since the 1930s. Close parallels in design and practice between these two geographically distant areas have often been interpreted as the result of both direct and indirect contact and exchange. This paper engages with the central issue of this debate by examining contact and identity through the prism of non-megalithic long barrows. Can these structures be understood as a medium through which interactions were negotiated? Could they have been the means of articulating a shared “overseas” identity? In this paper, the various and sundry criteria associated with non-megalithic long barrows (i. e. barrow construction, grave design, grave goods, ritual practices) are qualitatively and quantitatively analysed. The object is not only to assess the levels of similarity between these various  criteria, but also to determine if those selfsame categories can be combined in such a way as to make a British / south Scandinavian collective identity a viable focus for academic pursuit.

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Rassmann 2010: C. Rassmann, Identities overseas? The long barrows in Denmark and Britain. JNA 12, 2, 2010. DOI: