Nordic Blade Technology Network

We investigate the prehistory of human societies in Fennoscandia!

Welcome to Nordic Blade Technology

The network investigates the prehistory of human societies in Fennoscandia from the first human colonization after the last Ice Age c. 13 000 BC to the beginning of agriculture c. 4 500 BC.

Our analyses concentrate on production and use of stone tools and chronological correlations of technologies brought into the region from different directions. We also analyze how the technology was influenced by the raw material situation in the area.

Our Aims

  • Encourage and support student and researcher groups interested in different subjects oftechnological, experimental and interpretative studies of the earliest remains in North Europe.

  • Inform about the plans, activities and achievements in this field of study.

  • To rewrite the earliest prehistory of human movements into the region using the extension of the Weichselian ice sheet as a geographical unit, instead for interpretation of “cultures” based in modern national boundaries.

  • Use the approach to form new educational standard applicable in all Scandinavia.

Sandra Söderlind
Patrik Gustafsson
Tina Jensen Granados
Ilga Zagorska
Daniel Groß
Inger Marie Berg-Hansen
Therese Ekholm
Lasse Jaksland
Aivar Kriiska
Anja Roth Niemi
Karl-Fredrik Lindberg
Petro Pesonen
Esa Hertell
Miikka Taallavaara
Mikael Berglund
Mikael Manninen
Lotte Eigeland
Kjel Knutsson
Michel Guinard
Tuija Rankama
Heidi Mjelva Breivik
Håkon Glörstad
Helena Knutsson
Berit Valentin Eriksen
Mikkel Sørensen
Jarmo Kankaanpää
Ingrid Fuglestvedt
Jan Apel
Hein Bjerck
Michail Zhilin
Jacques Pelegrin
Harm Paulsen
Maria Lannerbro Norell
Mara-Julia Weber
Pierre Vogel

Overview

A number of research projects in different parts of Scandinavia have recently been launched to study the pioneer settlements in Scandinavia with a focus on the formation process of early human societies. To be able to meet and challenge the established images, this project proposes a robust international research strategy aiming to explore how culture is formed and maintained over long time spans.

The social mechanisms of human tradition and culture, i.e. the transmission of knowledge between generations and groups as it is expressed in prehistoric technological practice will be studied, discussed and presented as a vital contribution both to the ongoing discussion in archaeological science and to the discussion of modern Nordic identities.

A relevance of this project is thus that it will reveal the problems of overt nationalistic history writing. The project employs a new methodology in Scandinavia to study early cultural processes. It builds a Nordic research network and has a potential to develop further to include archaeologists studying early prehistory in adjacent regions.

Since recent work within our network already now suggests strong cultural affinities with the Eastern Plains and the East Baltic area, it will in the future be relevant to expand the network and collaborate with researchers from these regions. The early prehistory of Fennoscandia has so far been investigated within national research traditions employing typological approaches of formal tool types, and focusing on regionally defined archaeological materials on local or national geographical scales.

This tradition of research has led to the construction of a mosaic of archaeological cultures, and reflects an idea of a static prehistoric lifestyle. Both can today be considered imprecise or even false in the light of recent archaeological results and research into the high mobility hunter-gatherer societies in postglacial landscapes.

Today it is hypothesized that while south-west Scandinavia was inhabited from the North European Plain, the direction of immigrations into eastern Fennoscandia and to the East Baltic was from the Russian Plain. However, when the materials are regarded at an inter-Scandinavian scale in a long time perspective and employing a common technologically based methodology, it becomes clear that human mobility and the transmission of specific knowledge took place at wide geographical scales through millennia within Fennoscandia’s early prehistory. This view witnesses a dynamic cultural process in which cultural encounters and interregional contacts must have been widespread and frequent compared with all the subsequent agricultural societies that employed a land use based on farming.

By deconstructing the former problematic typologically based conceptions of Scandinavia’s early prehistory and focussing on the process of tool manufacture at an interregional and international level as an expression of culture, a dynamic prehistory of Scandinavia’s early cultural processes can be accessible. Lithic blade production has been demonstrated to have a profound cultural and social meaning in early prehistory. Due to the mentioned national research traditions there is, however, no consensus about methods of analysis or identification criteria for the products of different methods of blade manufacture within the research area. One of the main aims of this project is to build a database of shared criteria for recognising and analysing archaeological blade assemblages. Assemblages analysed using these criteria will be comparable with each other regardless of which part of Fennoscandia they derive from.