Rural conditions

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Development of settlement Sedentary settlement in Scandinavia was predominantly agrarian during the Iron Age and the Middle Ages. Grain cultivation and animal husbandry were the basic means of providing sustenance, but were complemented, according to local conditions, by various forms of hunting, fishing and gathering. We have seen (Chapter 1) that large parts of Scandinavia are marginal for agriculture. In high-lying areas and in the far north climate does not permit grain growing. Areas of high elevation also lack the necessary conditions for pastoralism, which can, on the other hand, be successfully practised in Iceland and also in favourable locations in Greenland. Nevertheless, the Nordic climate is considerably more favourable than at the same latitudes in many other parts of the globe. This is mainly due to the effects of the Gulf Stream. The positive difference between mean annual temperature in various parts of Sweden and global mean temperature at the same latitudes is between 5 and 7°C. The distribution of sedentary settlement at the beginning of the Middle Ages, i.e. around AD 1000, can be established in various ways. The archaeological record, mainly cemeteries and dwelling sites, points to the extent and locations of such settlement. With the exception of Finland, types of place-names can be used to determine the age of settlements; for example, certain types of suffixes in place-names belong largely to the Viking Age and earlier periods, others to the Middle Ages and later periods. However, there are also types of names that were widely used during both the Viking and Middle Ages. © Cambridge University Press 2003 and Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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... Primarily, there were no large, urbanized centers as existed further south, and the "cities" of Denmark were more akin to large towns due to a smaller population and smaller industry (Petersen et al., 2006). However, there were still distinctions between the lives of country and city peoples, even if they were not as extreme as in other countries (Orrman, 2003a). ...
... Four of the sites, Nordby, Aarhus, Tirup, and Horsens come from the eastern coast of Jutland ( Figure 1). While the cities are not a far distance from one another by modern standards, Medieval patterns of trade suggest the people of the villages tended to travel to the nearest town to trade goods and rarely ventured farther afield unless necessary (Orrman, 2003a). ...
... Though there was easy travel within Denmark, archaeologists have indicated that the peoples of the two rural sites, Tirup and Nordby, are indeed representative of rural populations only practicing agriculture (Boldsen, 1995;Skov, 2002). Rural villages of the Danish Middle Ages focused nearly exclusively on cereal grain production with some animal husbandry (Orrman, 2003a). Both Tirup and Nordby were probably too small and in too close proximity to the city to support trades or crafts people (Skov, 2002). ...
Objectives In humans, the pelvis is the most sexually dimorphic skeletal element and is often utilized in aging and sexing remains. The pelvis has become greatly relied upon in anthropological research (e.g., forensics, demographics, obstetrics, evolutionary history); however, pelvis morphology is highly variable, and very little is known about the nature, sources, patterning, and interpretation of this variation. This study aims to quantify pelvis shape variation, document sexual shape variation, and estimate the plasticity of morphology. This will ultimately give greater ability to interpret modern, archaeological, and evolutionary patterns to gain deeper insight into processes which shape human anatomy. Materials and methods Using a sample of 129 Medieval Danish skeletons, shape variation is documented in the greater sciatic notch (GSN), iliac crest (IC), arcuate line (AL), and sub-pubic angle (SPA) using 3D geometric morphometrics. The landmarking method applied here has the advantage of being applicable to fragmentary remains, rather than requiring whole bones. This allows it to be easily applied to archaeological samples and for the interpretation of separate bone features. Differences in shape were statistically analyzed by principle component analysis, linear discriminate analysis, and morphological disparity. Relationships between maximum femur length, body mass, and shape centroid size were also test by allometric regression. Results Results quantify the sexual dimorphism and shape variation present in these features. The GSN shape is the most variable, while the AL is the least. Similarly, the IC is the only feature which shows almost no dimorphism in shape, and instead best reflects lifestyle/activity patterns. Evidence of dimorphism in the IC is likely a result of cultural labor patterns rather than genetic and hormonal influence. Finally, the shapes of the GSN, AL, and SPA are more related to body mass than to femur length, such that individuals with increased mass exhibit more classically “male” shapes and those with less mass have more “female” shapes. Discussion The results have important implications for the evolution of pelvic anatomy, and sexual dimorphism, but also highlight the plasticity inherent in pelvic morphology. Analyzing pelvis features separately in a clearly defined, relatively genetically homogenous population gives insight into the determinants of bone morphology, which are not readily observable by other means. The relationship between body mass and shape suggests dimorphism in body size and composition may affect bone shape.
Thirteenth-century Scandinavian charters describe the use of beer as a sacred liquid in Christian baptism and Communion rituals in the Nidaros See, which at the time covered both Norway and Iceland. This article brings forward contemporary and pre-Christian evidence that contributes to the understanding of the socio-cultural practices that could have led to the religious use of beer, instead of water and wine, for these respective sacraments, as an orthodox practice after the Christianization of these countries. The explanations here proposed conflate two arguments. First, that these rituals were the result of the way in which the newly converted Norse understood the symbolism behind these Christian ceremonies. Some pre-Christian rituals, especially toasts to the gods and a name-giving rite, involved similar circumstances, actions and liquids to those of the Christian Communion and baptism. Therefore, the liquids involved in the newly adopted liturgy kept the same symbolic value and meaning they had in the pagan past. Second, the scarcity and high prices of alcoholic beverages in Iceland and Norway led their cultures, whether pre-Christian or Christian, to value ritual beverages mainly by their price and prestige rather than by the specific religious and symbolic meaning attached to each of them. The primary sources used in order to support the above-mentioned arguments include medieval charters, laws, mythology and the sagas of Icelanders and the sagas of the kings, all of which give evidence for the cultural and economic backgrounds that led to the syncretic practices here discussed.
Research on the survival of people in Pre- and Post-Black Death London revealed declines in survival prior to the epidemic, and improvements in survival afterwards. This study expands upon previous research by examining whether these trends are also observed in medieval Danish populations. Analyses were done using a sample of 877 individuals excavated from six cemeteries from urban and rural sites in medieval Denmark (c. AD 1050-1536), which includes individuals who were buried within three temporal periods based on relative dating from arm position in the grave: pre-Black Death (c. AD 1050-1250), epidemic years that include the Black Death and preceding famine years (c. AD 1250-1400), and post-Black Death (c. AD 1400-1536) years. Temporal trends in survivorship were assessed using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. Survival analyses were also used to examine the effect of urbanization on survivorship over time. Fertility proxies were estimated to control for changes in birth rates in the interpretation of our results. The results indicate a general increase in survival after the Black Death, especially for nonadults (Mantel-Cox p = 0.10) in the absence of a fertility effect. Urban dwellers experienced significant improvements in survivorship after the Black Death (p = 0.04). Analysis of Pre-Black Death survivorship reveals elevated survival for rural adults and urban nonadults, indicating that urban environments may have been more detrimental to adults than nonadults before the epidemic. These results are consistent with previous findings from London, demonstrating that survival and mortality were significantly different between the periods leading up to and after the plague, and there were differential risks for adults and nonadults in urban and rural settings.
AS HUBS IN STABLE ECONOMIC NETWORKS, mountain¹1 The Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, PO Box 6762, N-0130 Oslo, Norway. marketplaces are seen as integral to the increase and eventual mass production of iron in the Viking period and Middle Ages. The amount of iron produced exceeded local and regional demands, and constituted a valuable commodity from the inland areas of Norway and Sweden. This paper shows a dynamic trade network — one that was adaptable to trade patterns and surplus production. The marketplaces enabled an inland population to obtain both the products they needed and those they wanted, and gave the populous communities along the coast — the medieval towns, the royal and ecclesiastical elites — access to the resources and commodities from the hinterland via trade networks flowing through these marketplaces. This integration of inland resources into domestic and international trade can be considered to be part of a functioning market economy in the western Scandinavian inland from the late Viking period.
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Ancient DNA analysis offers a way to detect changes in populations over time. To date, most studies of ancient cattle have focused on their domestication in prehistory, while only a limited number of studies have analysed later periods. Conversely, the genetic structure of modern cattle populations is well known given the undertaking of several molecular and population genetic studies. Bones and teeth from ancient cattle populations from the North-East Baltic Sea region dated to the Prehistoric (Late Bronze and Iron Age, 5 samples), Medieval (14), and Post-Medieval (26) periods were investigated by sequencing 667 base pairs (bp) from the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and 155 bp of intron 19 in the Y-chromosomal UTY gene. Comparison of maternal (mtDNA haplotypes) genetic diversity in ancient cattle (45 samples) with modern cattle populations in Europe and Asia (2094 samples) revealed 30 ancient mtDNA haplotypes, 24 of which were shared with modern breeds, while 6 were unique to the ancient samples. Of seven Y-chromosomal sequences determined from ancient samples, six were Y2 and one Y1 haplotype. Combined data including Swedish samples from the same periods (64 samples) was compared with the occurrence of Y-chromosomal haplotypes in modern cattle (1614 samples). The diversity of haplogroups was highest in the Prehistoric samples, where many haplotypes were unique. The Medieval and Post-Medieval samples also show a high diversity with new haplotypes. Some of these haplotypes have become frequent in modern breeds in the Nordic Countries and North-Western Russia while other haplotypes have remained in only a few local breeds or seem to have been lost. A temporal shift in Y-chromosomal haplotypes from Y2 to Y1 was detected that corresponds with the appearance of new mtDNA haplotypes in the Medieval and Post-Medieval period. This suggests a replacement of the Prehistoric mtDNA and Y chromosomal haplotypes by new types of cattle.
Offering a systematic comparison of the history of the differing rural gender orders that have developed in Norway and Sweden since 1750, this article considers the complex interconnections between gender and capitalist relations. It begins by highlighting the contrasts between these two Scandinavian countries’ settlement patterns, agricultural structures and rural gender orders, in spite of the similarities in their environments, social-democratic policies and commitments to gender equality. Within a theoretical framework focused on the persistence of simple commodity production by farming families within capitalist economies, it considers the gender division of labour, commodity systems, and laws of succession and inheritance as they bear upon the positions of farm women in Norway and Sweden. Tracing the development of stratification in the countryside and the history of farmers’ political activism at the national level illuminates the salient differences between these two countries’ histories from the early 19th through the late 20th centuries. This comparison demonstrates that gender as well as the mobilization of rural citizens shaped the transition to capitalism and that, in turn, agricultural and settlement policies reshaped rural gender relations.
The wolf is thought to have been abundant in many parts of medieval Europe, but its remains are rarely identified in archaeological contexts. One of the potential reasons for this is the problem of distinguishing between the skeletal elements of wolves and dogs, accentuated by poor preservation and fragmentation. This paper reviews the extent of this problem, exploring the morphological relationships between wolves and dogs, as well as the issue of hybridisation, and goes on to suggest how the scarcity of wolf remains may in fact reflect infrequent hunting. This is illustrated with a comparative regional case study of wolf hunting and commercial exploitation in medieval England and southern Scandinavia, synthesising archaeological and written sources. The paper concludes with an optimistic appraisal of the value of wolf remains in medieval archaeological contexts for a broader understanding of relations between humans and wolves in the medieval period. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
A pollen analysis of a peat profile collected from Lille Vildmose, Denmark has been used to reconstruct vegetation and land-use change from the late Iron Age (ca. 690 cal. AD) to the present day. ‘Wiggle-matching’ of 34 AMS 14C dates has enabled a precise (decadal scale) chronology to be established. After ca. 1100 cal. AD, Secale cereale cultivation increased significantly, probably as a result of the introduction of crop rotation systems in the area. During the period ca. 1360–1540 cal. AD, cereal production declined, arable farmland was abandoned, and woodland regenerated; probably as a result of the crisis in the agrarian economy and the Black Death plague epidemic of 1350. After ca. 1540 cal. AD, woodland was progressively cleared, and arable agricultural activity intensified, culminating in land reclamation and large scale planting of Pinus, Ulmus and Picea during the 18th and 19th centuries.
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It is shown how the sex and age distribution of the (once) living population can be calculated from estimated mortalities. Fertility calculations and estimations of the number of children per woman are provided as well. The method is applied to two materials from the Middle Ages: Westerhus and Helgeandsholmen.
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In a medieval population of Stockholm only three cases of maternal deaths were proved out of 330 burials of adult females, and only in one of the cases was a contracted pelvis found. However, life table analysis indicates a shorter life expectancy of females in the reproductive ages. This suggests a higher maternal mortality in the Middle Ages than in the 18th and 19th centuries in Sweden.
An interpretation of Sami Viking Age and Early Medieval (ca. A.D. 900–1350) ‘stallo’ sites based on the analogy between space and text is presented. The interpretation challenges the notion that the sites belonged to Sami hunters who were integrated in the Scandinavian trading system through large‐scale trapping of reindeer. Rather, it is suggested that ‘stallo’ sites form part of a Sami settlement pattern which indicates that reindeer pastoralism was well established by A.D. 900.
RésuméCet article réfute la thèse récente selon laquelle le ménage islandais du moyen âge ressortait, pour la typologie, à la famille nucléaire. Pour se documenter sur les types de ménage l'auteur a choisi parmi les textes des sagas et des documents légaux, seuls témoignages écrits de l'époque. La nature de ces témoignages demande des réserves quant aux conclusions, mais il faut bien constater la présence fréquente d'une variété de ménages complexes. Les données suggèrent une forte classe de gens de maison aux perspectives diverses. Le mariage entre eux n'est pas exclus, mais il est impossible d'en établir la fréquence. En effet leur grande mobilité créait des liens d'affection avec différents ménages. Enfin, l'auteur souligne que la typologie généralement admise de Laslett pourrait n'être d'aucune utilité pour décrire les diverses formes d'accomodation.AbstractDieser Beitrag weist die jüngst vertretene Auffassung zurüch, die Haushalte des mittelalterlichen Islands seien im wesentlichen durch Kernfamilienstrukturen geprägt gewesen, Heldendichtung und Rechtsquellen – die einzigen Typen schrift-licher Überlieferung, die wir haben – werden nach Hinweisen auf Haushalt-ungsmuster untersucht. Der spezifische Charakter dieser Überlieferungstypen mahnt zwar zu vorsichtigen Schlußfolgerungen, aber es zeigt sich doch bereits eine Vielfalt komplexer Haushalte, die recht häufig Erwähnung finden. Es gibt Hinweise auf eine breite Schicht von Dienstboten, deren Mitglieder recht unterschiedliche Erwartungshorizonte hatten. Heiraten zwischen Dienstboten waren durchaus möglich, obgleich wir nicht abschätzen können, wie häufig sie vorkamen. Infolge der hohen Mobilität entwickelten viele Leute enge Bindungen an mehr als nur einen einzigen Haushalt. Auch gibt es Anzeichen dafür, daß die orthodoxe Haushaltstypologie Lasletts möglicherweise doch nicht so hilfreich ist, um die Wohn- und Lebensformen in ihrer immensen Vielfalt angemessen zu beschreiben.
The relationship between state and towns in medieval Scandinavia was a close and a complicated one. Towns were part of the political power, but they were also something else “outside” the state. p ]From an “internal” perspective the towns can be regarded as forming part of the power-cum-control system of the state. In medieval Scandinavia this meant that towns should, above all, be considered against the background of the extent and possession of the supremacy right. During the 1000–1150 stage, towns formed political and religious points d'appui for the new feudal sovereignty. In the course of the 1150–1350 stage, they also became vital centers for that exchange of goods that was instigated by the people who were in possession of feudal supremacy. Finally, from 1350 to 1550, the towns became the original bases for the new, mercantile supremacy, in a mutual relation with the emerging territorial state. In feudal society, it was of decisive importance from the beginning to be in control of production; as time went by, however, it turned out to be just as essential to control distribution as well. From an “external” perspective the medieval towns of Europe had specific features, which set them apart from towns in other epochs and in other places. This “externality” is best regarded as a part of the structure of feudal society, which was founded on the exercise of power by means of enfeoffments. The towns were subservient to feudal supremacies, but groups in the towns gradually came to exercise lordship within as well as outside the towns. In medieval Scandinavia this “externality” can be conceived as a gradual process of liberation from the state. First a period in 1000–1150, when towns were totally subordinate to the political power. Then a stage in 1150–1350, when the external delimitation and the internal partial autonomy were developed. And lastly a period from 1350 to 1550, when towns obtained internal independence and external influence as well. This external influence was, in a few instances, directed against the state, too. Though the main lines of the internal and external development of the towns can be traced in Scandinavia as a whole, there were important regional differences between the countries. The formation of a state and the urbanization were most evident in Norway, and above all in Denmark, at an early stage. The Danish urban profile kept its structure for a long time, and was radically changed only in the late Middle Ages. In Norway minor adjustments were made in the urban profile at an earlier stage, but during the late-medieval agrarian crisis both the state and the towns stagnated. In Sweden the formation of a state and the urbanization were of a later date, which meant that the urban profile became more adjusted to international trade, at an earlier stage. The importance of mining also meant that several towns were connected with a partly different kind of economy than Danish and Norwegian towns. Besides, the most far-reaching autonomy can be traced in Swedish cities, such as Visby, Stockholm, and Kalmar. In connection with the formal dissolution of the Union in 1523, and with the Reformation in Sweden (in 1527) and in Denmark-Norway (in 1536), the bases of new “bureaucratic” states were laid in Scandinavia. As before, it is possible to trace evident differences in the character of the two states. In Denmark an aristocratic state was organized, where the burghers had less influence than before. In Sweden the position of the aristocracy was dominant, too, but the state was more consistently organized in a bureaucratic way and the burghers maintained some of their influence. An expression for the new Swedish administration was the national land registers that were set up in the 1540s. Similar surveys did not occur in Denmark until the end of the seventeenth century. The development of the “bureaucratic” state, above all in Sweden, meant that a new form of politically controlled exploitation was created. This new political order opened up economic and social possibilities for urban settlements in new areas. At the end of the sixteenth century and in the seventeenth century the previous ecological limit of urbanization was exceeded, and many new towns were founded in the boreal zone, along the shores of the Bothnian Gulf (see figure 5).1 This urban burst of the ecological setting of previous periods can be regarded as one of the conditions for the Swedish empire in the Baltic, in the seventeenth century.
Extra t.p. with thesis statement inserted. Thesis (doctoral)--Universitet i Lund. Summary in English. Includes bibliographical references (v. 1, p. 217-224).
Väitösk. -- Åbo akademi. Sisältää: 1: Padis kloster i nyländsk medeltid ; 2: Hangethe - Purkal, västnyländskt 1200-tal.
Summary in English. Thesis and errata slips inserted. Thesis (doctoral)--Uppsala University, 1989. Includes bibliographical references (p. 101-105).
Akademisk avhandling-Stockholms Universitet. Extra t.p., with thesis statement, inserted. Summary in German. Bibliography: p. 159-162.
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