Above and Below the Surface: Environment, Work, Death, and Upbringing in Sixteenth- to Seventeenth-century Sweden
Anne Ingvarsson Sundström, Jan Mispelaere, and Ylva Bäckström
This chapter addresses children’s lives and living conditions during the early modern period in Sweden. A case study on the population at one of Sweden’s most important historical mines, the Sala Silver mine forms the basis for a discussion about children’s work, their diets, and how gender roles and social status may have affected their health. Two sources provide complementing and sometimes contradicting information about how children’s lives were shaped: the bioarchaeological material (skeletons and graves) and historical sources (archival material). The historical sources show that children were important economic actors in the mining community, and the bioarchaeological material indicates that their health was affected by the socioeconomic status of their families, as well as the unsanitary living and working conditions at the site.
Morten Ramstad, Tony Axelsson, and Anders Strinnholm
During the transition to the fourth millennium, large quantities of amber start being distributed over the landscapes of northern and north-eastern Europe. By exploring the handling and use of amber prior to and after the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition, this chapter traces the transformation and cultural expressions connected to amber to gain insight into changing concepts of material culture, personhood, and materiality, transcending the evolutionary frameworks which dominate this period.
This chapter gives a short overview of animal husbandry in Iron Age Europe. In this largely agrarian society, people depended on animals for food, transport, and labour. Although animal husbandry shows a high degree of variety, related to differences in climate, geography, and the complexity of society, broad geographical patterns are apparent in the proportions of different species, with cattle dominant on most sites in north-western Europe and sheep/goat at most Mediterranean sites. In some regions, communities were self-sufficient, while others included proto-urban sites and sanctuaries, which had to be supplied with food and sacrificial animals. Hunting was of little importance in terms of contribution to the diet, although an exception is found in eastern Spain. Animals not only played a vital role in the agrarian economy, but were also important in rituals, such as deposits in houses and funerary ritual, and animal sacrifice in sanctuaries.
Arkadiusz Marciniak and Joshua Pollard
The onset of the Neolithic brought with it the establishment of new relations between people and animals, principally, through domestication, a shift to acquisition and control of livestock. It enabled the management of animals’ reproductive and productive potential, including the exploitation of animals for their secondary products and applications (such as milk, wool and textile, and as providers of traction power or transport). Their management brought about new rhythms of life, new roles and responsibilities, new gender roles and patterns of inheritance, and new potentials for sociality and sharing. However, the presence of animals also contributed to increased social tension.
This article discusses the biological, economic, and cultural traits of animals in Bronze Age Europe, which are best compared in terms of resource mobility and reproduction rates. It first discusses the available evidences, such as animal remains and the formation of animal bone deposits. The article then looks at animal husbandry in Bronze Age Europe, and studies the trends of animal exploitation. The next section shows the role of animals – such as cattle, pigs, and goats – and notes that the contribution of game had decreased by the Middle Bronze Age due to the dwindling interest in exploiting wild resources. The article also considers the social and psychological implications of (mundane) meat consumption.
The Roman family has become a vibrant and challenging field of study, and the growing interest in children in Roman culture can be seen as a development within this trend. Nevertheless, studies of children tend to focus on the later phases of childhood, with few investigations of the role and significance of infants. While the Roman life-course and the social construction of ageing are occasional themes in childhood, discussions the distinct life stages of development and socialization apparent already in the first year of life hardly feature in current discourses. In view of this imbalance in childhood studies, this chapter explores some key aspects of Roman infancy and earliest childhood, using archaeological, epigraphic, and historical evidence to gain insight into the attitudes towards the very young, and particularly those under the age of one year, in both life and death, and, sometimes, even before birth.
Alexandra Chavarría Arnau
The archaeology of early Christian churches has made important advancements in recent decades in Italy thanks to a large number of new excavations and scientific meetings, as well as the development of the project CARE (Corpus Architecturae Religiosae Europeae (IV–X saec.)), in which most Italian specialists are involved. This chapter suggests new lines of research, thus contributing to a revised historiography of the archaeology of early Christian churches in Italy between the fourth century and the end of the sixth century. It surveys some of the ecclesiastical complexes that have been reanalyzed in recent decades or recently discovered through archaeological excavations.
This chapter focuses on the archaeology of the first urban settlements of Roman type found in Germania Inferior. It first describes coloniae such as the Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium and Colonia Ulpia Traiana, along with the archaeological excavations carried out at the sites. It then turns to the vici, industrial settlements, and agricultural settlements, and concludes with a theoretical explanation of how various forms of urban centres arose in Lower Germany during the period between the Batavian revolt and the Gallic Empire.
This chapter begins with an overview of the preconditions encountered by the Romans in the area that was to become the province of Germania Superior, before discussing research on different types of civilian towns in the hinterland. The origin of the vici that existed during the High Empire is considered, along with the left and right banks of the Rhine. The chapter then examines the network of settlements that emerged during the High Empire, both in the region of the limes and on the left bank of the Rhine. It also looks at the establishment of the capitals of civitates, the transformation of military vici to civilian vici in urban settlements, the rise of industrial sites and settlements with special functions, the appearance of civitas capitals and vici, and the construction of public buildings. Finally, it describes some examples of urban settlements in Germania Superior.
This chapter provides an overview of the book’s main themes. The book gives Anglophone readers a representative, well-grounded survey of the current status of the archaeology of Roman Germany. It reveals a discipline that is evolving strongly in an interpretative sense, a discipline to which traditional stereotypical labels such as ‘positivist’ and ‘descriptive’ or ‘an archaeology at risk’ (Bloemers 2002) no longer apply. German archaeologists face the challenge of continuing to nurture their rigorous historicizing and empirical traditions, while at the same time seeking closer integration with social theory-building and the findings of scientific archaeology. The contributions to this volume are steps in this direction.
This chapter examines the relationship between art and society in Iron Age Europe, with a focus on Celtic art. It begins by asking what constituted ‘art’ in this context, what was its purpose, and why did Celtic craftworkers and their patrons develop a taste for entirely new ‘artistic’ expressions? The art of the Hallstatt and La Tène periods, external influences on its development across Europe, and regional expressions are then analysed. Initially decorative art was essentially confined to objects of metal and stone, and most artworks belonged to the categories of personal ornaments and weaponry, bronze vessels for the consumption of alcohol, and chariot equipment. This contrasts with the more widespread use of ‘art’ in the contemporary Mediterranean world. In the later La Tène period, the range of decorated objects grew to include painted vases and monumental wooden sculpture.
The Atlantic has long held a key position within the broader question of the Mesolithic–Neolithic transition in Europe. Archaeological evidence suggests significant variability between the different geographical areas of the Atlantic coast both in the visibility of the Mesolithic and its nature. Scandinavia, the Low Countries, France, Britain and Ireland, and Iberia are considered. Burials, monumentality, settlements, exchange practices, and subsistence economy vary widely, thus common patterns are difficult to discern. The background to transition to the Neolithic is thus highly variable, and it is not surprising that the Early Neolithic in these regions can also be rather different. It is also becoming apparent that a lack of chronological control over the data has led to inclusion in the discussion of sites which do not belong to the earliest Neolithic. Their exclusion lessens the apparent contrasts between the periods, allowing a new picture to emerge.
Balkan Neolithic and Chalcolithic communities lived in a mosaic of settings, providing a suite of complementary resources but dominated by upland regions. Four non-evolutionary phases can be distinguished in three millennia. Communities of ‘early farmers’ developed subsistence economies based largely upon Anatolian or Aegean domesticated plants and animals. Tells and flat sites showed regional variations, while other forms of material culture were found in each region. Social integration and improved farming techniques led to a higher degree of sedentism and settlement nucleation among ‘mature farmers’. Local and regional identities were marked materially by decorated wares and ritual equipment. The term ‘climax period’ refers to a period with significant material diversification and regionalization in all aspects of cultural identity, especially gold and copper metallurgy. In the ‘post-climax Chalcolithic’, different depositional strategies led to the reduction in quantity and diversity of material culture on small settlements, large corporate cemeteries, and the more frequent hoards.
The Bandkeramik Longhouses: A Material, Social, and Mental Metaphor for Small-Scale Sedentary Societies
This chapter draws on the author’s archaeological and ethnographic fieldwork in Europe and New Guinea. It explores the role of houses among the first agriculturalists in Europe. The house provides the material framework within which corporate social groupings exist, and is a fundamental aspect of their identity. The basic uniformity of LBK buildings informs us of the mental templates of their creators, and can be explained with reference to their egalitarian social organization, which would have mitigated the risk of initial colonization, and which the house helped to maintain. There are also variations, discussed with reference to the modular layout of houses—their front, central and back components, in particular. A global hypothesis is proposed: the more ‘very variable’ components an architectural tradition has, the more rapidly the culture can transform itself. Inversely, the more ‘uniform’ components there are, the longer the principles and rules of the society may last.
Marc Vander Linden
This chapter presents old and recent research themes on the Bell Beaker Phenomenon. After an extended discussion of the geographical distribution of the Bell Beaker groups and of its significance, the paper then focuses upon the overlooked question of the material variability of this archaeological complex. Particular attention is given to ceramics, from both morphological and decorative aspects, settlement pattern, and funerary practices. Thanks to the development of new scientific techniques, especially strontium isotope analysis, the question of the degree of human mobility of these groups is now back on the agenda. The resurgence of this last topic demonstrates the need for scholars interested in the Bell Beaker Phenomenon to keep an open mind, and to embrace a multiplicity of non-exclusive explanations, rather than the previously favoured monolithic models.
Boys at Sea: An Osteological and Historical Analysis of Ships’ Boys in the Late Eighteenth- to Early Nineteenth-century British Royal Navy
In the Age of Sail, boys were an integral part of sealife, comprising a significant proportion of the crews of both merchant and military vessels. In the latter, they performed both as junior officers (midshipmen) and as common seamen and marine boys. Sailing a square-rigged vessel of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries took many years to master, and training from childhood or adolescence was seen as imperative. Although many other European navies also carried a large complement of boys, this chapter focuses on the British Royal Navy in the latter half of the eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries. An historic overview of boys in the Navy is given, but this chapter will concentrate on the osteological evidence for children and adolescents, and how early exposure to a very specific lifestyle is reflected in the skeletons from three English Royal Navy hospital burial grounds.
Benjamin W. Roberts
This article discusses the Bronze Age in Britain and Ireland, which lasted for at least seventeen centuries. It covers the ‘Chalcolithic’ period, which came before the swift and widespread use of tin-bronze. The discussion first emphasises that information about the Bronze Age is still being included in broader prehistoric narratives. It then observes that the island landscapes of Britain and Ireland might have naturally shaped the activities of its inhabitants during the Bronze Age. The article also describes the communities and livelihood that existed in Britain and Ireland in the Bronze Age, based on the various items which were unearthed during archaeological fieldwork.
This chapter reviews the evidence for the archaeology of early Christianity in Britain and Ireland. Here, the church had its origins in the areas that lay within the Roman Empire in the fourth century but rapidly expanded north and west in the early fifth century following the end of Roman rule. The evidence for church structures is limited and often ambiguous, with securely identifiable sites not appearing to any extent until the seventh century. There is a range of material culture that can be linked to the early church from the fourth to the seventh centuries; in particular, there are strong traditions of epigraphy and increasingly decorative stone carving from most areas. The conversion to Christianity also impacted burial rites, although the relationship between belief and mortuary traditions is not a simple one.
This article takes a look at the mining of copper in Bronze Age Europe. It notes that the large number of copper mines which have been found in many parts of Europe signify that there was a widespread geological occurrence and surface exposure of copper deposits during this period. The article studies the archaeology of Bronze Age copper mining, surveys some of its main centres, describes the processes used by Bronze Age miners in order to search for copper, and studies the technology used in the copper mines. It also takes a look at the mining environment, such as the ventilation and the possibility of fatal accidents. Finally, the article discusses the stages of copper production and the implications of copper mining in Bronze Age European society.
This article introduces the archaeology of field systems and land boundaries in Bronze Age Europe. It begins by offering an historical overview of research on ancient fields, which is followed by a discussion of the interpretative issues that affect the study of prehistoric land division, specifically terminology, classification, and chronology. The rest of the article reviews the evidence of Bronze Age fields in north-western Europe, where it shows the importance of land division for researching changes in the technology and organisation of agriculture and explaining social and political transformations during the second and first millennia BC.