Plant Remains as Sources to Cultural History in Southeast Norway
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Original versionKjesrud, K., Olsen, L. N., Teixidor-Toneu, I. , Sandstedt, J. J., Kool, A. & Christiansen, L. (2023). Plant Remains as Sources to Cultural History in Southeast Norway. I M. Ødegaard & I. Ystgaard Red.), Complexity and dynamics. Settlement and landscape from the Bronze Age to the Renaissance in the Nordic Countries (1700 BC–AD 1600) (s. 113-128). Sidestone Press Academics.
By way of deploying a newly generated database with radiocarbon dates from southeastern Norway, we show the strength in using aggregated archaeological data. This approach provides us with the ability to look past individual cases and expose general patterns and provide insight that is difficult to attain at site scale. By analyzing 7.168 dates in a summed probability distribution, we infer temporal variation in population size from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages. We direct focus towards two important population events: The first is a long-lasting growth phase, beginning in the 5th century BC and lasting until the 5th and 6th centuries AD, likely initiated by technological improvement in agricultural techniques and clearance of new land. The second event is the abrupt decline in the 5thand 6th centuries AD. While we recognize the local and regional differences in responsesto the processes taking place in the 5th and 6th centuries, our data allows us to identify overall patterns, across regions and types of archaeological features and sites. We have identified an inter-regional decrease in the radiocarbon data in the mid-6th century, corresponding in time with two major crises in the AD 530–540s – a double volcanic eruption and an outbreak of the bubonic plague.