View Chapters

Book: Early Economy and Settlement in Northern Europe

Chapter: Large Mesolithic House – Pits at Tønsnes, Coastal Northern Norway: Evidence of a Winter Aggregation Site?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.30727


In 2008-2012 rescue excavations undertaken in conjunction with preparations for a new industrial harbour revealed Stone Age settlements at Tønsnes, Tromsø, in a number hitherto unparalleled in this part of northern Norway. The earliest settlements date to Preboreal times. Most surprisingly was the finding of five house-pits dating to between c.8000 and 7000 BP (c. 7000 and 6000 cal. BC), i.e., within the last part of the Pioneer phase as defined in this volume. The house-pits are much larger than generally seen among Middle Mesolithic houses in Scandinavia, and display variation, but also clear similarities to the latter in dwelling - landscape-relations, in layout (semi-subterranean floor areas, wall-banks and a lack of hearths) and in settlement practices (indoor vs. outdoor activities). Based on this new material we discuss seasonality in mobility and residency in Early Stone Age/Mesolithic northern Norway.

Chapter Contributors

  • Jan Magne Gjerde ([email protected] - jmgjerde) 'Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo'
  • Marianne Skandfer ([email protected] - mskandfer) 'Tromsø Museum – The University Museum, UIT - The Arctic University of Norway'