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An Iron Age Shock Doctrine: Did the AD 536-7 event trigger large-scale social changes in the Mälaren valley area?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6091-3966
2012 (English)In: Journal of Archaeology and Ancient History (JAAH), E-ISSN 2001-1199, no 4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, a dataset of burial grounds is considered in relation to the question of a probable demographic crisis in the 6th century AD, as a consequence of the cosmic event in AD 536-7. Although indications of an extensive crisis can be seen in a wide range of sources, it is difficult to make any estimate of the extent of the crisis. Some hypothetical social consequences are, however, discussed and compared to the Black Death in the 14th century AD. For the 6th century crisis, a widespread upheaval and renegotiation of property rights for land that has been abandoned is suggested, together with a possible redefinition of the nature of property rights. After the crisis there seem to be increased possibilities for private ownership of land, which enables the acquisition of large landholdings among a limited number of people. This is related to an increasingly stratified social structure in the Late Iron Age, where an elite is thought to have been able to take advantage of the crisis for their own benefit. It is argued that this is reflected in the Late Iron Age/Vendel Period burial grounds and their locations, as these might have been used to manifest renewed property rights.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. no 4
Keyword [en]
Landscape archaeology, GIS, Iron Age Scandinavia, Fimbulvinter, AD 536, burial grounds, topography, prehistoric property rights
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-174252OAI: diva2:526789
Available from: 2012-06-04 Created: 2012-05-15 Last updated: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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Löwenborg, Daniel
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