Medieval Carved Ship Images Found in Nordic Churches: the poor man's votive ships?
Version of Record online: 29 JAN 2013
© 2013 The Author. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology © 2013 The Nautical Archaeology Society
International Journal of Nautical Archaeology
Volume 42, Issue 2, pages 337–347, September 2013
How to Cite
Westerdahl, C. (2013), Medieval Carved Ship Images Found in Nordic Churches: the poor man's votive ships?. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 42: 337–347. doi: 10.1111/1095-9270.12010
- Issue online: 2 AUG 2013
- Version of Record online: 29 JAN 2013
- Ship images;
The so-called ship graffiti found inside Catholic churches of the Scando-Baltic region may not only be graffiti. The author suggests that some may have been carved with votive intent in sacred spaces by people without greater means. The reason could have been a particular sea journey feared by sailors or their families. Actual proofs may be difficult to obtain due to the lack of inscriptions stating a particular intention, but in a Gotlandic church one ship image is accompanied by a prayer for what seems to have been its crew. This alternative interpretation appears to be in line with a current archaeological focus on the contextual polysemy of all kinds of ‘prehistoric’ pictures.