The point of departure for this article is the excavation of two burial mounds and a trackway system in Bamble, Telemark, Norway. One of the mounds overlay ard marks, which led to speculation as to whether the site was ritually ploughed or whether it contained the remains of an old field system. Analysis of the archaeometric data indicated that the first mound was related to a field system, while the second was constructed 500–600 years later. The first mound was probably built to demonstrate the presence of a kin and its social norms, while these norms were renegotiated when the second mound was raised in the Viking Age. This article emphasizes that the ritual and profane aspects were closely related: mound building can be a ritualized practice intended to legitimize ownership and status by the reuse of domestic sites in the landscape. Further examples from Scandinavia indicate that this is a common, but somewhat overlooked, practice.
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