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Seaways to Complexity

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This book focuses on the sociopolitical development and the organisational differences between societies in northwestern Scandinavia in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age (2350–1100 BCE). With a foundation in a political economy approach, a theoretical model is presented that emphases a dialectic negotiation between societies exercising coercive or cooperative strategies through processes of categorisation. With a developed theoretical basis, the archaeological material is studied using a two-tiered approach. First, an extensive archaeological corpus, consisting of settlement and burial patterns, lithics, metal, and rock art is investigated comparatively for patterns of diachronic, regional and societal differences. Second, patterns from the first-tier are scrutinised and three case studies are selected, each expressing different organisational patterns based on local ecological advantages and/or restrictions. These aspects are then discussed on an interregional level, suggesting that utilisation of the seaway was one of the primary movers of increased complexity along the coast. In conclusion, the book presents the first big synthesis of the sociopolitical development in northwestern Scandinavia. The synthesis is advanced through a modelled approach, contributing to building a sociohistorical basis for northwestern Scandinavia in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, as well as outlining a theoretical model for concurrent but contrasting sociopolitical strategies that can be applied cross-culturally.

Published: Feb 1, 2020