Dating religious change: Pagan and Christian in Viking Age Iceland
Mortuary customs frequently provide the principal archaeological evidence for religious identity. Such customs are often seen as a direct reflection of religion and therefore a change of religion should be expected to result in a change in burial rite. There is growing evidence that the relationship is not so straightforward. In this paper we report results from Viking Age Iceland which challenge the previous view of a relatively clear-cut transition from pagan to Christian burial rites. The implication of our findings is that burial rites cannot be expected to change in lockstep with religious ideas. Burial rites reflect a variety of concerns held by those who perform them – and religion, ideology or cosmology may be the least of those. It is one of the characteristics of institutionalized religions like Christianity that they strive to design rituals and control their performance but the assertion of such control does not have to be coterminous with conversion.
https://journals.sagepu ... 605319833829