The First One Thousand Years – Human Colonization and Differentiated Landscape Use in Southwestern Norway 10,000 to 9000 Years BP.
Early Economy and Settlement in Northern Europe - Pioneering, Resource Use, Coping with Change - Hans Peter Blankholm
Sveinung Bang-Andersen [+]
University of Stavanger
This article deals with research performed over the last fifty years to discover, investigate and interpret archaeological sites relating to the pioneer population in southwestern Norway (the county of Rogaland) and their successors. The time limit is the Preboreal, between 10,000 BP / 9530 cal. BC and 9000 BP / 8250 cal. BC. The distribution and location of early Post-Glacial settlement forms the basis for this review. After the actual existence of such sites was confirmed as late as in 1977, a number of seventy open sites of the kind have come into light: fifty in coast/lowland, twenty in mountain/inland environments. While most coastal sites in southwestern Norway are disturbed by re-occupation or by natural causes and, due to the systematic lack of radiocarbon evidence appear difficult to date, the montane sites are generally better preserved and have radiocarbon dates back to 9750 BP / 9250 cal. BC. The relationship between coast and mountain exploitation is treated. One important future task is to locate transit sites in valleys and fjord arms connecting the inland with the coast; another is to analyze the different environmental settings of the lowland sites and variation within artefact content, floor size, dwelling structures, camp organization and inter-site connections. Being early ice-free and surrounded by high-productive marine waters making easy access by sea, the southern parts of Norway should, expectedly, have been settled by human groups well before the Glacial/Holocene transition. Although the available evidence indicates a westward oriented colonization, spreading out from the Bohuslän coast of Sweden as late as around 10,000 BP, this timing is not necessarily the final answer. Almost intangible possible traces from transient activities performed during the final Late Glacial may be expected within certain characteristic landscape types.