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IMC 2019: Sessions

Session 649: Debating Agency and Materiality in Medieval Central Europe

Tuesday 2 July 2019, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Beata Możejko, Zakład Historii Średniowiecza Polski i Nauk Pomocniczych Historii, Uniwersytet Gdański
Paper 649-aWhat to Do with My Child's Head?: Artificial Cranial Deformation as a Form of People's Agency
(Language: English)
Astrid Schmölzer, Institut für Archäologie, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Index terms: Anthropology, Archaeology - General, Social History
Paper 649-bMaterial Culture from a River and a Question of Its Secularity versus Sacredness: The Case of Medieval Swords from the Ljubljanica
(Language: English)
Tomaž Nabergoj, Narodni Muzej Slovenije, Ljubljana
Index terms: Archaeology - Artefacts, Archaeology - Sites, Military History

Paper -a:
Artificial Cranial Deformation (ACD) is a phenomenon known worldwide. In my paper I will focus on the findings in Middle Europe from the 4th to the 6th century. To deform children's heads was the decision of their parents. This makes the infantile human body a place of (body) art and gives rise to the question of motivation behind this practice. The findings show that no connection between social status and ACD can be demonstrated. ACD is thus linking the individual with the cultural environment of the parental generation. In my paper I will consult the attempts of human agency, which can bring new insights to this phenomenon of the ancient world.

Paper -b:
More than 50 medieval swords (11th-15th century) were found in the Ljubljanica river which, as an important communication route in central Slovenia from prehistory onwards, yielded thousands of finds from all periods. The swords are analysed in contexts of broader material evidence from the river and surrounding Ljubljana marshes, as well as within the possible network of settlements, ports, fords, and routes. They are not interpreted as being intentionally thrown into the Ljubljanica due to their symbolic meaning or as part of a cult but primarily reflect the communication role of the river and the strategic importance of Ljubljana in relation to medieval Carniola and Slovene lands.