After more than four years of intense work and studies, it is a slightly absurd feeling to have met the deadline, handed in a manuscript, and here it is – the book! Circling Concepts sums up the project and my quite surprising conclusions. It also discusses the socio-political aspects of archaeological categorisations in general and the concept of “circular offering sites” in particular. The back matter reads as follows:
“‘Sami circular offering sites’ is an established category of cultural heritage in northern Norway, but details of their origin, time of use, function and significance in contemporary society have been little explored. This study aims to establish some basic facts about these stone enclosures, but a surprising conclusion is that the very offering site interpretation is uncertain. Substantial evidence rather suggests that the large structures were initially built for an entirely different purpose, while some have apparently later been reused and reconceptualised as offering sites. The question also arises if a range of structures with diverging characteristics that have recently been added to the same category can in fact be defined as the same phenomenon. The exploration of the genesis and distribution of the offering site interpretation for stone circles leads to a discussion of the socio-political implications of archaeological categorisation in general, and the preference for ritual explanations in Sami contexts in particular. It is maintained that while the materiality of the archaeological remains constitutes useful corrections and limitations to these narratives, any archaeological interpretations, including the present one, cannot escape the embeddedness in certain discourses and relations of power.”
If you want to get some (suggested) answers to the mysteries, the full version of the thesis, with summaries in English, Swedish and North Sami, is available online from today. The printed version is available on request.
Now all that remains in the project is the defense, which is public and will be held at Stockholm University 15 October this year, with Aleks Pluskowksi as the opponent and Eva Svensson, Asgeir Svestad and Torun Zachrisson, as well as Gert Magnusson as substitute, in the grading comitee. If it goes well, the thesis is officially accepted for the doctoral degree. Wish me luck!