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Book: Comparative Perspectives on Colonisation, Maritime Interaction and Cultural Integration

Chapter: 10. Exploring New Territories, Expanding Frontiers: Bowmen and Prospectors on the Scandinavia Peninsula in the Third Millennium BC

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.24608


The argument in this article has two premises: First, migration and other forms of human movement have been the norm throughout human history. Second, western Scandinavia is rife with readily exploitable copper ores, and there might have been attempts at utilizing these in the 3rd millennium BC. Building on the concept of travelling metallurgists as an element in the expansion of the Bell Beaker phenomenon in combination with anthropological perspectives on prospecting, the article explores how prospecting for metal would have been adapted to the landscapes of western Scandinavia. Generally, although prospecting seldom leads to successful metal production, and is difficult to study archaeologically, it will often have a significant transformative impact – on both the external and indigenous actors and societies. Two archaeological sites in western Norway
are expressly discussed, Slettabø in Rogaland and Skrivarhelleren in Sogn. The latter is particularly relevant as a historical case of prospecting and mining from the 1700s AD and offers insights into movement in a fjord and upland landscape.

Chapter Contributors

  • Lene Melheim ( - book-auth-720) 'University of Gothenburg'
  • Christopher Prescott ( - cprescott)