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Forskningsartikel - Refereegranskat, 2017

Cereal cultivation from the Iron Age to historical times: evidence from inland and coastal settlements in northernmost Fennoscandia

Josefsson, Torbjorn; Hornberg, Greger; Liedgren, Lars; Bergman, Ingela


For several decades researchers have debated when cereal cultivation was introduced to northernmost Europe. Most previous studies have concentrated on sites along the coast or close to major rivers; these are areas well-suited to agriculture and represent routes for people and knowledge transfer, but omit other vast areas suitable for cultivation and sedentary settlement. Here, we present strong evidence of permanent cultivation from ad 480 onwards at a settlement located at the 64th parallel North in northern Sweden, currently situated 30 km inland from the Gulf of Bothnia. This predates the beginning of permanent cultivation at sites along the present coastline mentioned here and in results from previous studies of places at approximately the same latitude. Our results are based on continuous finds of cereal pollen grains at certain sites, selected on the basis of archaeological records, old maps, plus past and present elevations above sea level. We highlight the importance of taking factors into account such as access to waterways, communication routes and coast displacement following land uplift when choosing study sites in order to pinpoint early cultivation and sedentary settlements. We suggest that these results have implications for attempts to resolve the question of the history of early agriculture in other parts of northern Fennoscandia.


Agriculture; Cerealia; Land use history; Pollen analysis; Scandinavia; Shoreline displacement

Publicerad i

Vegetation History and Archaeobotany
2017, Volym: 26, nummer: 3, sidor: 259-276

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      UKÄ forskningsämne

      Forest Science

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