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Anna Severine Beck

BA; MA; mag.art, PhD Fellow

Anna Severine Beck


Working on the PhD project

Assembling the house, building a home - the Late Iron Age longhouse (500-1000 AD)

The PhD project is an investigation of the Late Iron Age longhouse as an archaeological phenomenon. The project has a distinct methodological and theoretical focus, but is further aiming at transferring the reflections of the project into the concrete archaeological work with the record of the longhouse of the Late Iron Age-Viking Age (500-1000 AD).

The aim is to find new ways of approaching a notoriously fragmented and problematic archaeological material, where practically nothing of the original architectural structure is preserved. As an alternative to the conventional approach, dominated by typological perspectives where the longhouses often act as 'dating fossils' rather than 'dwelling machines', alternative approaches to the archaeological record is explored through the work of the thesis.

Based on concrete investigations of the longhouse as an archaeological phenomenon, it is suggested that assemblage theory and the notion of multi-temporality offer new ways of understanding architecture as the result of specific relationships between people, building and temporality. The PhD project thereby explicitly situates recent theoretical debates within the broader archaeological field with Danish settlement archaeology. 

The empirical study is based on the longhouse in Late Iron Age southern Scandinavia (500-1000 AD), particularly the site of Strøby Toftegård, northern Stevns, where the individual longhouses are used as an entrance to new interpretations of the settlements of period. The scope of the theoretical and methodological discussions are wider though as the aim is to make the theoretical and methodological discussions are relevant in the broader context of settlement archaeology in Scandinavia.

The thesis contains four articles exploring the temporality present in the Late Iron Age longhouse: in the archaeological recording of the posthole, in the definition of house types, in the biography of the house and in the social memory of the house. The main conclusions are brought together in the synthesis.




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