Placing place names in Norwegian archaeology. Key themes, challenges and reflections
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Original versionIn: Albris, S. F. (ed.). Placing Place Names in Norwegian Archaeology. Current Discussions and Future Perspectives, 15-38.
Archaeological discoveries are forwarding new understandings of the settlement history all over Scandinavia, encouraging us to re-evaluate traditional views on the place name material. But how can place names inform the archaeologist about settlement and social organisation – and what can we learn from toponymy about early mentality and perception? As a part of the introduction to the book, this paper offers an overview of the most central themes, challenges and theoretical perspectives related to the use of place names in archaeology. The various topics and problematics are illustrated through the individual papers published in the book. These studies present a variety of approaches and datasets that show how place names can be employed in archaeological enquiry about the landscape on various scales. Through these examples, the chapter discusses general research historical aspects and the key methodological issues to a qualified interdisciplinary approach. Following this, the chapter addresses the integration of place name studies in artchaeological research from a theoretical viewpoint. With this, we advocate that toponyms and onomastic research have a general relevance to archaeology and we aim to revitalise the dialogue between archaeology and onomastics in Norway and beyond.