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Casting Identities in Central Seclusion: Aspects of non-ferrous metalworking and society on Gotland in the Early Medieval Period
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis has been to investigate and interpret late Iron Ageand Early Medieval traces of non-ferrous metalworking on the islandGotland, Sweden. Gotland was not, based on the archaeological record, anintegrated part of the common Scandinavian culture. Instead a local,endemic cultural expression had developed; a seclusion which lasted forcenturies despite the islands central position in the Baltic Sea. In thepast, key elements for the understanding of local settlement- and burialpractices as well as the local material culture were mainly recovered andreported by local farmers. A specific category of such finds – so-called‘bronze slag’ is discussed and partly reinterpreted in the first study ofthis thesis. Two further studies treat different aspects of metalworkingand metalworkers – one discusses common archaeological notions ofScandinavian workshops, production sites and metalworkers from a criticalperspective while the other mainly focuses on the Gotlandic finds frommetal-detector surveys carried out over the last 35 years. Based on whereand to which extent, both from a quantitative and a qualitative point ofview, these finds occur a hierarchical classification into four sub groupsis presented – ordinary farm sites with traces of non-ferrous metalworking,workshop sites, potential workshop sites and last, extrovert harboursettlements. A fourth study presents an attempt to evaluate the usefulnessof magnetometry in delimiting extant traces of high-temperature crafts,such as metalworking. The last study of the thesis presents an attempt touse trace elements analysis of skeletal lead in human bone to identifypotential non-ferrous metalworkers.

As the wearing of endemic Gotlandic jewellery appears to have been centralin the manifestation of the local identity it is argued that themetalworking artisans played a crucial role in defining how this identitywas signalled and displayed via the jewellery and dress-related metalobjects. It is further suggested that these artisans might have played animportant role in upholding the local economy before the advent of localminting.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University , 2013. , 175 p.
Series
Theses and papers in scientific archaeology, ISSN 1400-7835 ; 15
Keyword [en]
Archaeometallurgy, Non-ferrous, Archaeological prospection, Metal detection, Geophysical survey, Sweden, Magnetometry, Gotland, Iron Age, Viking Period
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95380ISBN: 978-91-7447-804-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-95380DiVA: diva2:664112
Public defence
2013-12-18, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-11-26 Created: 2013-10-28 Last updated: 2013-11-25Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Scrutinizing copper and bronze slag on Gotland: On the making and dismantling of a category of archaeometallurgical finds
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Scrutinizing copper and bronze slag on Gotland: On the making and dismantling of a category of archaeometallurgical finds
2013 (English)In: Journal of Nordic Archaeological Science, ISSN 1650-1519, Vol. 18, 49-53 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to introduce a relatively unknown and sadly misinterpreted type of archaeological find. Finds of copper and bronze slag have been reported at various settlements on Gotland since the 1930s at least, and from early on this slag was provided with a legend of its own – that it was derived from a little-known local industry producing copper. During the last 30 years the number of finds of this type has risen considerably due to the organized use of metal detectors for investigating ploughed-over settlements. Contrary to the earlier assumptions, examination of a number of these finds has shown that they are by no means slag but fragments of refractorised hearth lining from ploughed-over workshop areas. Rather than copper production, they point to other disciplines associated with non-ferrous metalworking – presumably casting.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: , 2013
Keyword
Bronze slag, Copper slag, Gotland, Iron Age, Non-ferrous metalworking, Casting, Metal detection, Archaeometallurgy, Bronsslagg, Kopparslagg, Gotland, Järnålder, Icke-järnhantverk, Gjutning, Arkeometallurgi
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95379 (URN)
Available from: 2013-10-27 Created: 2013-10-27 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. In the wake of the hoards: Glimpses of non-ferrous metalworking through the finds of the Gotland hoard project
Open this publication in new window or tab >>In the wake of the hoards: Glimpses of non-ferrous metalworking through the finds of the Gotland hoard project
2013 (English)In: Fornvännen, ISSN 0015-7813, E-ISSN 1404-9430, Vol. 108, no 1, 1-11 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses non-ferrous metalworking on Gotland, Sweden, c. AD 500–1150 as it is reflected through products and production debris recovered during metal detector surveys over a period of more than 30 years. Since most of the surveys were focused on the recovery of silver hoards the production-related finds have mostly been overlooked by previous research. This is unfortunate since they often offer important clues, both for establishing where non-ferrous metalworking occurred and to how it was organised. An additional number of sites, identified through more traditional archaeological methods are also discussed. Altogether these finds help to increase the understanding of the Gotlandic society in the late Iron Age and Early Medieval Period.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Riksantikvarieämbetet, 2013
Keyword
Gotland, Non-ferrous metalworking, Viking Age Scandinavia, Silver Hoards, Metal detection
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89451 (URN)
Available from: 2013-04-25 Created: 2013-04-25 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Beyond Wayland: thoughts on early medieval metal workshops in Scandinavia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Beyond Wayland: thoughts on early medieval metal workshops in Scandinavia
2012 (English)In: Historical Metallurgy: Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, ISSN 0142-3304, Vol. 45, no 2, 20-31 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper reflects on and summarises the current state of research on early medieval (750-1100 AD) metal workshops in Scandinavia by way of examples from workshops and metalworking sites recovered via archaeological excavations and surveys over the last 30 years. A critique is presented of a number of features which occur perennially in Scandinavian archaeometallurgical presentations, such as the tendency to overemphasise the importance of written accounts and the common habit of over-interpreting archaeometallurgical finds.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Leeds: Maney Publishing, 2012
Keyword
Viking Age Scandinavia, Metalworking, Workshop, Gotland
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79510 (URN)
Available from: 2012-09-05 Created: 2012-09-05 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
4. Tracing High-temperature Crafts: magnetometry on the Island of Gotland, Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Tracing High-temperature Crafts: magnetometry on the Island of Gotland, Sweden
2012 (English)In: Archaeological Prospection, ISSN 1075-2196, E-ISSN 1099-0763, Vol. 19, no 3, 201-208 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Gradiometer surveys have been carried at three Iron Age and early medieval sites on the island of Gotland, Sweden. Previous experiences of poorly executed magnetic surveys combined with a misconception among archaeologists that the Gotlandic sedimentary bedrock would preclude the success of any magnetic investigations on the island have, until now, prevented the extended use of the method within archaeological projects. The purpose of the present study was to test this presumption while searching for in situ buried remains of high-temperature crafts, such as metal and glass working. The location of the survey grids was guided by concentrations of previously recovered hightemperature craft finds from metal detector surveys and excavations. The results indicate that the magnetometer is a valuable tool for detecting the presence of preserved high-temperature craft structures in the Gotlandic soil. An additional result indicates that in this area the magnetometer can easily identify remains of ploughed-over Iron Age stone foundation houses and stone boundary walls. This is possible because of the prehistoric population’s preference of using glacially deposited, igneous rocks in such constructions. It can thus be concluded that the uniformly nonmagnetic character of the Gotlandic bedrock provides excellent conditions for conducting magnetic surveys.

Keyword
Magnetometry, metal detector, Gotland, Sweden, metal work, high-temperature crafts
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79238 (URN)10.1002/arp.1428 (DOI)000308472900005 ()
Available from: 2012-08-30 Created: 2012-08-30 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
5. Evaluating Trace Elements Analysis as a Means to Identify Early Metalworkers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluating Trace Elements Analysis as a Means to Identify Early Metalworkers
(English)In: International journal of osteoarchaeology, ISSN 1047-482X, E-ISSN 1099-1212Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This paper presents the results from Flame Atomic absorption spectroscopy Trace elements analyses for lead, zinc and copper in human bone samples from 31 Scandinavian inhumation graves from the Iron Age and Early Medieval Period (c 200-1100 AD). The analyses were undertaken to evaluate the evidences of a possible connection between raised levels of – primarily – skeletal lead and ante mortem exposure during working of non-ferrous metals. The result showed that significantly elevated levels of skeletal lead were present in samples from two individuals whose burials included tools for metalworking whereas a third individual with elevated lead levels had not been buried with any metalworking insignia. Previous studies have connected increased levels of lead with post mortem diagenetic alteration but despite that it is cautiously argued that the increased levels of skeletal lead should rather be seen as a result of involvement in non-ferrous metalworking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hoboken:
Keyword
Iron Age, Early Medieval Scandinavia, Flame Atomic absorption spectroscopy, Trace elements analysis, Skeletal lead, Metalworking
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-96061 (URN)
Available from: 2013-11-09 Created: 2013-11-09 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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