In investigating an area with deserted fields and boundaries in the province of Östergotland, Eastern Middle Sweden, pollen analysis has been used as a tool in describing the ecological base of different phases in the development of the cultural landscape. The characteristics of the early Iron Age expansion have thus been proven to be the simultaneous expansion of cattle breeding and arable farming. This indicates an integrated system, with intensely tilled fields, knowledge of manuring and, therefore, need of a vast fence system to gather the cattle and make efficient use of the manure.
Assuming a social organization of families with a size of eight to ten individuals, the amount of land required to feed each unit has been calculated. Three hectares of arable land, 30 ha of meadow land and 30 ha of pasture is suggested as a possible combination to support a family. Using a desk computer, units with these proportions of land have been randomly located in an area of 2 × 2 km2 taking soil differences into account. Agrarian units can be located several times at random and the resulting land-use patterns studied. The simulated results often very well describe the actual land-use pattern during the early Iron Age as indicated by deserted fields, boundaries and dwelling sites.
1979. Vol. 5, no 1, 21-32 p.