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Kärl och social gestik: Keramik i Mälardalen 1500 BC-400 AD
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Archaeology.
2009 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The thesis aims to study the pottery of the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age societies in Eastern Central Sweden (Uppsala and Västmanlands counties). The basis of the thesis is the material from c. 70 sites in the region. The majority are rescue excavations. The focus is on the function of the pottery, both technically and socially. It is a long-term study where changes in the traditions of handicraft are important. The handicraft is studied by analysis of ware, surface treatments and vessel forms. Lipid analyses have been made to determine probable functions of different vessels. The vessels are regarded as parts of different services or assemblages. The composition of the service is considered to be a signifying the complexity of the table manners. The proportions and degree of the restrictedness of the vessels are seen as an indicator of the table manners were meant to be individual or collective.

The Bronze Age tradition seems to have been a more collective way of feasting with a service with unrestricted vessels for drinking- and eating. This tradition, influenced by continental ideas, disappears on the transition to the Iron Age. The entire tradition of making and handling with pottery was undergone radical changes around 500 BC. The causes to this change and others are discussed. A multiple causal explanation is presented with ideological, social, economic and climatic causes. The tradition with feasting including more elaborate ceramic vessels reoccurs later on during the Roman Iron Age.  The different ideological backgrounds to the traditions of feasting are considered.

External influences are considered. They are seen in terms of course of invention, implementation and finally the transformation to tradition. Influences from Central and Eastern Europe are discussed and dated. During some periods external influences are few or even lacks. This is discussed and also the problem with connections between morphological traits and pottery styles versus ethnicity.  Thin-section analyses of the pottery are used to investigate if imported vessels are to be seen.

The pottery in the graves is studied. The analysis indicates that graves seldom contain remains of entire vessels. The causes behind this phenomenon are discussed. The occurrence of different types of vessels in the graves are studied and correlated to gender. Eschatological causes are argued to be an important reason for choice of material. Pottery in cremations versus inhumation graves are separated due to different conditions for performing rituals. Ceramic vessels in inhumation graves during the Roman Iron Age are rare compared to other regions. The use of drinking vessels seems to have been more exclusive during the period.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala/Stockholm: Uppsala universitet/Riksantikvarieämbetet , 2009. , 359 p.
Aun, ISSN 0284-1347 ; 41
, Riksantikvarieämbetet, Arkeologiska undersökningar, Skrifter, ISSN 1102-187x ; 76
Keyword [en]
Pottery, Bronze Age, Preroman Iron Age, Roman Iron Age, Northern Europe, Uppland, Västmanland, Grave, Settlements, Gestures, Climatic changes
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-109685ISBN: 978-91-506-2106-8ISBN: 978-91-7209-547-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-109685DiVA: diva2:273705
Public defence
2009-12-05, Sal X, Universitetshuset, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 13:00 (Swedish)
Med bidrag av Ole Stilborg (bil. 1-3) & Sven Isaksson (bil. 4)Available from: 2009-11-13 Created: 2009-10-21 Last updated: 2010-11-09

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