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Book: Early Economy and Settlement in Northern Europe

Chapter: Aareavaara and the Pioneer Period in Northern Sweden

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.30729


This article is an up-to-date overview of the Pioneer period of the Mesolithic in northernmost Sweden. Compared to Norway the time-span of the Pioneer settling in the northern parts of Sweden was longer due to the longer presence of the Fennoscandian ice sheet. Over the past 15 years new knowledge has been generated through newly discovered sites, but also through critical reviews of results from previously excavated sites. At the beginning of the article is a presentation of the finds from Aareavaara, where – to this day – the oldest site (c. 9400 BP ≈ 8700 cal. BC) discovered in northern Sweden was found in 2009. This is followed by a comparison with the second and third oldest sites in northern Sweden; Kangos (8720 ± 60 BP (7960-7590 cal. BC)) and Dumpokjauratj (c. 8630 ± 85 BP (7940-7530 cal. BC)). Despite their differences in age, the three sites share similarities in their topographic position in the landscape. The sites and their dates are also discussed in relation to a larger context of migration. In Sweden, Norway and Finland, GIS-analyses of other sites, radiocarbon dated older than 8000 years give indications of pioneer immigration to Fennoscandia from the south and from the east. Since the distribution of the oldest settlements in each region indicate a frontier, the larger picture of pioneer immigration also includes current knowledge of the ice-sheet deglaciation.

Chapter Contributors

  • Olof Östlund ( - oostlund) 'Norrbotten County Museum, Sweden'