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The Bear in the Grave: Exploitation of Top Predator and Herbivore Resources in First Millennium Sweden—First Trends from a Long-Term Research Project

  • Karl-Johan Lindholm (a1) and John Ljungkvist (a2)
Abstract

This paper focusses on animal remains associated with archaeological contexts dated to the middle and later phases of the Scandinavian Iron Age, which corresponds to the first millennium AD. The main question to be addressed is whether this record can be used for identifying human impact on certain animal populations for modelling faunal exploitation and interregional trade. In the first part of the paper, we undertake a detailed inventory of animal finds recorded in published excavation reports, research catalogues, and in existing databases maintained primarily by the Historical Museum in Stockholm. We compare the chronological pattern identified in the burial assemblages with a chronological sequence retrieved from pitfall hunting systems located in the Scandinavian inland region. The chronologies of the animal finds from burials and the pitfall systems are then compared with dated pollen-analytical sequences retrieved in the inland region and additional archaeological assemblages, such as graves and hoards of Roman coins. In our discussion, we outline an interregional model of faunal exploitation between AD 300 and 1200, including the possible location of hunting grounds and end-distribution areas for animal products. The paper provides deeper insights into the burial record of the middle Iron Age, arguing for the need for broader interregional approaches, and focussed archaeological research in the inland regions of Scandinavia.

Cet article traite de vestiges de faune retrouvés dans des contextes archéologiques datant de l'âge du Fer moyen et tardif en Scandinavie, donc du premier millénaire apr. J.-C. La question principale est de déterminer si les données de l'archéozoologie nous permettent d'identifier l'impact anthropogénique sur certaines populations d'animaux, dans le but de modéliser leur exploitation et leur échange à l'échelle interrégionale. On trouvera en première partie de notre article un inventaire détaillé des restes d'animaux publiés dans les rapports de fouilles, les catalogues de recherche et les bases de données tenues à jour principalement par le Musée Historique de Stockholm. Nous présentons ensuite une étude comparant la succession chronologique observée dans le mobilier funéraire avec la séquence retrouvée dans les systèmes de piège de l'intérieur de la Scandinavie. La chronologie des restes d'animaux découverts dans les ensembles funéraires et dans les systèmes de piège est comparée avec les séquences datées provenant de l'analyse pollinique des régions de l'intérieur et avec d'autres données archéologiques, telles que les sépultures et les dépôts de monnaies romaines. Nous présentons en fin d'article un modèle interrégional concernant l'exploitation de la faune entre 300 et 1200 apr. J.-C. qui identifie entre autres l'emplacement de terrains de chasse et de zones de destination de produits animaux. Notre article a pour but d'approfondir nos connaissances sur les ensembles funéraires de l'âge du Fer moyen et plaide en faveur d'une approche interrégionale plus étendue et d'une étude archéologique plus ciblée des régions de l'intérieur de la Scandinavie. Translation by Madeleine Hummler.

Die Tierreste, die mit archäologischen Befunden der mittleren und späten Eisenzeit in Skandinavien in Zusammenhang stehen, bilden den Schwerpunkt dieses Artikels. Die Grundfrage ist, ob es möglich sei, die Angaben dieser Tierresten für die menschlichen Einwirkungen auf gewisse Tierbevölkerungen auszuwerten, sodass ein Bild der Tiernutzung und des interregionalen Austausches entsteht. Im ersten Teil des Artikels wird ein detailliertes Inventar der in Ausgrabungsberichten, Forschungskatalogen und Datenbanken (die vor allem vom Historischen Museum in Stockholm geführt werden) erhältlichen Tierresten vorgelegt. Die chronologischen Angaben der Grabbefunde werden mit der Zeitabfolge der Fallgruben, die im skandinavischen Landesinneren vorkommen verglichen. Die Chronologie der Tierreste, die zu Gräbern gehören und die in Wildgruben vorkommen, wird dann mit den Ergebnissen von datierten pollenanalytischen Untersuchungen im skandinavischen Binnenland verglichen; andere Befunde, wie Gräber und Hortfunde von römischen Münzen werden auch eingeschlossen. In den Schlussfolgerungen stellen wir ein interregionales Modell für die Tiernutzung zwischen 300 und 1200 n.Chr. vor, in welchem wir die eventuelle Lage von Jagdrevieren und den Endpunkt von Erzeugnissen tierischer Herkunft einbeziehen. Unser Artikel versucht, tiefere Einblicke in die Grabbefunde der mittleren Eisenzeit zu liefern und plädiert für umfangreichere interregionale Perspektiven sowie gezielte archäologische Untersuchungen des skandinavischen Binnenlandes. Translation by Madeleine Hummler.

Copyright
Corresponding author
[email: karl-johan.lindholm@slu.se]
[email: john.ljungkvist@arkeologi.uu.se]
References
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European Journal of Archaeology
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