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Book: Early Economy and Settlement in Northern Europe

Chapter: Macro-level Predictive Modelling of Early Stone Age Pioneer Settlement Locations in Varanger, Northern Norway

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.30728


Finnmark, and the Varangerfjord area in particular, have for decades been considered the hub of Early Stone Age (c. 10,000-6100 uncal. BP, c. 9500-5000 cal. BC) research in northern Norway. Yet, the number of sites dating back to the pioneer phase (c. 10,000-7000 uncal. BP, c. 9500-6000 cal. BC) appears too low to allow for more nuanced insights into the cultural material variability and economic and social organization. Moreover, the focus on the Varangerfjord, rather than the entire Varanger peninsula coast, has prevented insights into the above aspects on a broader regional canvas. It is thus of importance to increase both the number of sites and geographical and topographical representation. This paper discusses how this dual aim was achieved by the implementation of macro-level predictive modelling and surveys. The implications of these findings are briefly discussed, notably a) raw-material testing sites and raw-material exploitation (quarry) localities were an integral part of the pioneer repertoire, b) earlier notions of a general increase in quartz use over time in the Early Stone Age along the coast or dichotomous coast-inland technological regimes (or people) need revision (e.g., Grydeland 2002, 2005, 2006, Olsen 1994, Rankama 2003, see also Hood 2012 for a critical discussion), c) semi-subterranean pit dwellings, tent-rings, and wind-breaks were just as much a feature of the early pioneer settlement on the outer Varanger peninsula as they were along the inner parts of the Varangerfjord (e.g., Grydeland 2006), and d) the early pioneers did not seem to change their locational criteria for habitation, or other types of sites, despite swift and drastic climate change and the iso- or eustatic consequences thereof.

Chapter Contributors

  • Hans Peter Blankholm ( - hpblankholm) 'University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway.'