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  • 1.
    Bornfalk Back, Anders
    Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Historisk-filosofiska fakulteten, Institutionen för arkeologi och antik historia, Arkeologi.
    Från stenkrigare till borgjarl: Befästningskonsten i östra Sverige, 375-750 e.Kr2023Doktorsavhandling, monografi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    The main fortification tradition of pre-Viking Age eastern Sweden consisted of defensive walls built in an advanced dry-stone technique, some including internal timber-lacing and supporting earthen banks. Erected on mountain crests, hillocks, plains and shorelines, these constructions were part of the martial landscape of an immensely transformative period in Scandinavian Iron Age. However, inadequate temporal and spatial frameworks have long hampered any engagement with this phenomenon. In combination with the profound demilitarization of these walls and ramparts, which dominated Swedish archaeology from c. 1990 and two decades on, this has resulted in a state of knowledge of this tradition that is not on a par with the significance it once had.

    The thesis addresses these issues by establishing the chronology of this architectural tradition and, with this tool, by exploring the martial dimensions of the fortifications as well as the lifestyle of those behind the walls. Data from c. 80 excavations of various sizes, many of them carried out in the 20th century, are processed and combined with on-site analyses of the architecture and layout of the individual walls. Episodes concerning the concept of fortification in the Beowulf poem are examined and compared to the archaeological material. 

    An approach is adopted which views the material culture of the fortifications as physical expressions of a complex network or system made up by the social, economic, religious and ideological elements that define the character of warfare and its participants. All members of a society are part of and influence such “war systems” practically as well as normatively, consciously or not.

    The study argues that the fortification tradition including the dry-stone technique was not static, widespread or an architectural monoculture. Instead, it was constantly evolving during the period AD 375/400-700/750 in relation to changing needs, ideals and skills according to regional conditions in the political and geographical landscape. 

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  • 2.
    Bornfalk Back, Anders
    Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Historisk-filosofiska fakulteten, Institutionen för arkeologi och antik historia, Arkeologi.
    Herrgårdsklint revisited: a fortified hill-site on Gotland2014Ingår i: Runsa borg: Representative life on a migration period hilltop site – a Scandinavian perspectiv / [ed] Michael Olausson, Östersund: Jengel , 2014, s. 287-301Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    In this article, the author argues that the Gotlandic hilltop complex, Herrgårdsklint,should be viewed as a fortified hill-site (Sw. befäst höjdbosättning). This phenomenon occured mainly on the East Middle Swedish mainland, where the fortified hill-sites were constructed by the late Early Iron Age period (AD 0–550) élite. The complex comprises a 120 metre long and 2.5 metres high dry-stone wall of limestone built on a large cliff and encloses an area of c. 1.5 ha, in which several significant house foundations of limestone are visible even today. It was once given the antiquarian designation “cliff fort”(Sw. klintborg), a term which has contributed to a rather simplistic approach from scholars. In past archaeological research, Herrgårdsklint, with the rest of the constructions categorized as cliff-forts, has often been seen merely as a “temporary refuge in times of unrest.” This perception has been challenged, however, by a new approach that puts Herrgårdsklint in the spotlight of eastern Gotland during the Roman Iron Age/Migration Period. A recently initiated project, which aims to remedy the weak empirical situation regarding the diverse Gotlandic cliff-forts, has carried out new analyses of the pottery and animal bone material found in a 1940s excavation of a couple of the house foundations. Together with the observation of the architecturally advanced stone wall’s entrance construction (which the author suggests is an imitation of a clavicula-entrance of a sort used by the Imperial Roman army), the results indicate that Herrgårdsklint should be viewed as a strongly fortified permanent/semi-permanent settlement, which controlled a large hinterland that specialized in beef production and shows signs of close connections to Roman ideas.

  • 3.
    Bornfalk Back, Anders
    Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Historisk-filosofiska fakulteten, Institutionen för arkeologi och antik historia, Arkeologi.
    "oppa moraskoogh": Svar till Mats G. Larsson2022Ingår i: Fornvännen, ISSN 0015-7813, E-ISSN 1404-9430, Vol. 117, nr 2, s. 149-151Artikel i tidskrift (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 4.
    Bornfalk Back, Anders
    Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Historisk-filosofiska fakulteten, Institutionen för arkeologi och antik historia, Arkeologi.
    Scorched earth: a posthole approach to Iron Age warfare2022Ingår i: Journal of Archaeology and Ancient History (JAAH), E-ISSN 2001-1199, nr 31, s. 1-27Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper, the author presents a method to identify Iron Age (500 BC – AD1050) warfare through farmsteads destroyed by fire. Specific fire patterns onindividual houses, combined with abnormally high numbers of contemporaryburnt buildings, are used as proxy for raised levels of aggression during certainperiods. The Uppsala plain in East Central Sweden forms a case study. With thisapproach, two periods stand out with relatively high numbers of burnt farms: AD350-425 and AD 500-575. The results are discussed in relation to some sourcecritical factors and to their possible contribution to questions regarding GamlaUppsala developing into a central place by the 7th century, as well as to the AD536 event discourse.

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  • 5.
    Bornfalk Back, Anders
    Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Historisk-filosofiska fakulteten, Institutionen för arkeologi och antik historia, Arkeologi.
    The vitrified wall of Broborg hillfort in Uppland, Sweden – A comment on Sjöblom et al. (2022)2023Ingår i: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, ISSN 2352-409X, E-ISSN 2352-4103, Vol. 48, artikel-id 103904Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Recently, Sjöblom et al. assessed the cause of the vitrified wall of Broborg, the 5th century CE hillfort in East Middle Sweden. By exploring possible incentives and competence to melt stones together, as well as the genesis of the vitrified material, the authors suggested that the builders of Broborg used vitrification as a construction method to strengthen the wall. In this comment, I critically examine the line of arguments presented in support of this claim. The conclusion reached is that there is no convincing evidence to warrant a construction hypothesis.

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  • 6.
    Bornfalk Back, Anders
    Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Historisk-filosofiska fakulteten, Institutionen för arkeologi och antik historia, Arkeologi.
    Till frågan om Mora ting: ett arkeologiskt perspektiv2021Ingår i: Fornvännen, ISSN 0015-7813, E-ISSN 1404-9430, Vol. 116, nr 3, s. 205-219Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    The phenomenon of the medieval royal election thing of Mora, on the outskirts of Uppsala in central Sweden, is an under-researched topic from an archaeological viewpoint. With the archaeological material in focus, the author reviews the current state of research and offers a new hypothesis about the development of Mora as a non -continuous thing site with three phases: in the 500s, 1300s and 1400s. It connects to long debated questions such as where in Mora the actual thing was located, why Mora was chosen to host this important ceremonial act, and how the semi-mythical "Stone of Mora" is to be understood.

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