Meghan Mattsson Mc Ginnis
Born 1987 in Kentucky. Masters exam in Art History from the University of Louisville completed in 2012, focusing on Late Antique and Early Medieval art. Masters exam in Archaeology completed at Stockholm University in 2016 with a thesis on the distribution, form, and function of iron amulets in late Iron Age graves on Lovö. Since then a smattering of work in field archaeology in Sweden and Norway, and courses in the history of religion.
In my dissertation project, Doing Things With Rings: Working from object to action in a study of late Iron Age ritual life I will be investigating a range of rituals involving amulet rings, and how this set of practices can serve as a window onto some of the broader themes at play in late Scandinavian Iron Age religion(s). Though it has become increasingly clear that using 'amulet' or 'votive' rings was a very common form of ritualized activity in eastern Scandinavia during this period, there has been little research specifically dedicated to studying these practices or considering the varied facets of this phenomenon all together. My project will address these issues by employing a “bottom-up” approach to analyze a variety of assemblages across different types of sites that incorporate amulet rings, in order to discover what actions were actually being performed with and around these enigmatic objects. And by then exploring this evidence further through the lenses of new materialist ideas, and in combination with other types of sources (such as literature and ethnographies), to flesh out a more detailed and vivid picture of what these events could have been like. My goal is to create a more dynamic image of this evidently important -- but thus far poorly understood -- aspect of late Iron Age ritual life. An image that can not only reveal more about specific actions involving amulet rings, but also help us gain a deeper understanding of the lived experiences and worldviews of the people who intra-acted with them.