«Kvart menneske som døyr skal me føra til kyrkja og grava i heilag jord» – kristen gravplass i myr fra tidlig middelalder
- Side: 177-201
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.18261/ISSN1504-2944-2013-02-02
- Publisert på Idunn: 2013-06-11
- Publisert: 2013-06-11
Danske «moselik» er velkjent i Skandinavia, mindre kjent er det at det også finnes lik fra myr i Norge. Noen av disse er fra middelalder: nye dateringer av kristne begravelser i myr ved kirken i Guddal viser at de er fra middelalderens første halvdel. Disse funnene demonstrerer at mye fortsatt er uklart omkring kristendommens tidligste tid i Norge. Landskapslovene og arkeologisk materiale er viktige kilder til tidlig kristenliv i Norge, men funnene fra Guddal antyder en viss motsetning mellom kildene. Artikkelen vil presentere funnene og de nye dateringene og diskutere hvordan dette passer inn i vår kunnskap om tidlig kristen praksis i Norge.
«Every dead person should be brought to Church and buried in sacred ground.» A Christian cemetery in a bog of the early Middle Ages.
Iron Age ‘bog bodies proper’ are well known from Denmark, but less familiar are those of various dates found in bogs from other parts of Scandinavia. Fourteen burials are known from bogs in Norway – all as skeletons and mostly prehistoric – but, in addition, many medieval ‘bog bodies proper’ were found during at least the period 1903–1970 near the church site of Guddal, Fjaler in Sunnfjord. Not one of these bodies from Guddal was collected or studied, although some exceptionally well-preserved wooden material and textiles have been assembled and many graves are still in situ. The Guddal case is unique in Scandinavia with respect to the number of bog bodies at one site, as well as the historic context – a medieval, Christian society. Apart from analyses of the textiles, little has been written about other aspects of the Guddal discovery. The site is worthy of closer investigation, however. New dendrochronological analyses reveal that the material is dateable to the 11th – 13th centuries, which is the earliest period of Christianity in Norway. The provincial law codes, homilies and archaeology are important sources of early Christian life in Norway, but much remains uncertain regarding Christianity in this early period. The finds from Guddal demonstrate some intriguing contradictions between sources and so further attention is called for. We take a closer look at the evidence from Guddal – presenting the grave material as well as new information on dates. We conclude that this bog cemetery is an example of local variation which is difficult to explain from current knowledge. Further investigations are needed, but these may involve difficult, ethical issues.