Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Med Uppsala I centrum: Uppsalaområdet under bronsålder och äldre järnålder in i vendeltid. En arkeologisk förhistoria baserad på områdets miljöförutsättningar och en GIS-utvecklad kartvärld med Mälardalen, Östersjöbäckenet och Europa som bakgrund
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Archaeology.
2012 (Swedish)Book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The study describes and explains the geographical, economic and power political development in the Uppsalaarea in the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age into the Vendel Period. The Uppsalaarea is defined as a rectangular area of 2500 km2 stretching from Vendel in the north to Skokloster in the south, with its central point 10 km north of Uppsala Cathedral.

The flat terrain in a landscape risen from the sea over the past 6000 years means that the shore displacement and the subsequent landscape development have been important for migration, subsistence, settlement and population development. In the 1990s, 14C datings were used more consistently. This made it possible to clarify the sea levels in the area during the Bronze and Iron Ages. The great differences between north and south and some differences between east and west gradually changed the interactions in the landscape. Based on the reported lowest levels for different parts of theUppsala area, detailed maps were created using GIS technology for 1800, 1400, 1000 and 600 BC, for AD 0 and AD 600. In some analyses, these have been overlaid with layers from the digital soil map or with a rectified soil survey map.

The area contains tens of thousands of known constructions from the Bronze and Iron Ages catalogued in the Ancient Remains register of the National Heritage Board. Divided into types and sometimes dated, they provide a picture of the area use in different time periods when digitally plotted in their geographical time sequences. The finds of theMälardalenValleyare quite well catalogued and available concerning gold, bronze and weapons and to a certain extent ceramics. Together with increased knowledge of the prehistorical climate, pollen analyses and the external economic and political development, a set of conditions was discerned for theUppsalaarea.

The key to the area’s development was its strategic position at the edge of the expanding mainland north ofLakeMälaren. The vicinity to earlier cultures, the River Dalälven andÅlandIslandtogether with the possibility of contacts with southern cultures through e.g. the Norrköping area were significant. It was also important that theBaltic Searegion’s population density was highest at the lower deltas of the German/Polish rivers. For thousands of years, that region functioned as a central link towards the Continent and its cultures.

The development of the boat in the centuries around AD 0 expanded the contacts, mainly through recurrent long-distance travel for catching herring or seal. This is supported by place names and finds with origin from the Mälardalen Valey along the Swedish Baltic Sea coast. However, as indicated by denarii, solidi and other forms of gold, the organized trade and the elite trade were limited. Although agriculture provided a basis for subsistence and cultivation markedly increased during the period under study, agriculture had no dominant position in the area. In spite of what is often stated, fishing, hunting and gathering together played an equal role.

In theUppsalaarea, the ties to the European “bronze machine” had a serious impact on the area’s involvement in the south-Scandinavian Bronze Age culture, although ties to epineolithic cultures also existed. While the Bronze Age cultures collapsed around the Mediterranean, the northern parts of theMälardalenValleyfelt uneasy. In Periods III-IV this led to collaboration and the markings of territories. Cairns, hill forts and large stone settings as well as the great cult house in Håga were constructed. Nevertheless tensions remained. The Håga mound was probably constructed in an attempt to retain the old order, but towards the end of the Bronze Age, the collaboration withered and there were indications of border zones to power political structures. These disappear during the severe climatological periods in the Pre-Roman Iron Age, when the societal systems deteriorated. They are again visible around AD 0, in the areas between the medieval folk lands, although somewhat more to the north-east regarding Fjädrundaland/Tiundaland.

The limited resources in theMälardalenValleycaused Helgö to develop into a collaborative project, or at least a protected isle for specialized handicraft and trade for luxury goods. This was theMälardalenValley’s chance to tie in to the international trading networks in the Baltic, which most likely had been directed from Himlingøje and subsequently from the Norwegian Vestlandet.

Helgö’s decline coincided with the domination of power in the MälardalenValleyby Tiundaland’s predecessor c. AD 600. Reasons for this domination are unknown. The MälardalenValleywas germanized.  After the Roman Period, Fjäd-rundaland’s predecessor/ Västmanland  was no longer an autonomous power. In connection with the climate crisis of the 6th century that lasted through the century, extensive fighting occurred between the precursors to Attundaland and Tiundaland. The fighting ceased around 600 AD, and it seems likely that a federation was formed. Gamla Uppsala became the ideological cement and the royal election site at Mora on the border between Tiundaland and Attundaland became – perhaps together with the three royal mounds – the formal insignia for the federation. The federation formed a power political impasse which, together with the economic situation may be the cause of the slow changes that can be seen in theMälardalenValley in the Vendel Period. The unification of the Valley probably took place in the late Vendel Period/Viking Age. Regardless of this development, Gamla Uppsala became a mythological triumph with reverberations into our time.    

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2012.
Occasional papers in archaeology, ISSN 1100-6358 ; 56
Keyword [en]
Early Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age, Pre-Roman Iron Age, Roman Iron Age, Migration Period, Vendel Period, climate, trend, flora, fauna, hill fort, mound, cemetery, rock carving, cairn, walls of fire-cracked stones, cupmark, stone settings, trident, boat development, subsistence, hunting, fishing, seal hunting, denarii, solidi, Germanization, Tureholm treasure, king, Baltic Sea Basin, Mälardalen Valley, Attundaland, Fjädrundaland, Tiundaland, Broby, Gamla Uppsala, Helgö, Håga, Mora, Vallsgärde, Vendel
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-173174ISBN: 978-91-506-2275-1OAI: diva2:516821
Available from: 2012-04-23 Created: 2012-04-20 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Fulltext(76103 kB)583 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT02.pdfFile size 76103 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

By organisation

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 584 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 2395 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link