Hunters as Farmers, Farmers as Hunters - animals, humans and landscapes in inland Scandinavia 1000 BC E-500 CE

Joakim Wehlin, Uppsala universitet

Magnus Odebäck Ljunge, Stockholms universitet

Sponsored by Stiftelsen Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs stiftelse 2020-2022

Do the hunting-pit systems represent efforts to domesticate the landscape and harvest elks? And do the large number of animal depictions and hunting scenes presented in rock art tell us alternative stories of the social structure of Bronze Age societies? Have people in fact ever been either hunters OR farmers?

Archaeological research dealing with post-Neolithic periods has tended to create or connect to a presumed dualism between hunters and farmers. Our purpose is to go beyond these collective categorizations by addressing: 1) the social and economic significance of hunting in societies categorized as farmers. 2) the occurrence, character and significance of domestication in woodlands north of the farming limit. This will enable us to pinpoint the specific relations to hunting, herding, and mobility and landscape use that characterized areas in between the southern and northernmost parts of Scandinavia. Our goal is to study the archaeological material on its own terms, instead of viewing it as a variation or derivation of general notions of how hunting- or farming communities are constituted.

We want to understand how and why the relations between humans, animals and landscapes evolved and changed over time, and how this effected aspects of social and economic organization. This will provide knowledge on how areas traditionally regarded as peripheral, or on the margin of the Bronze Age world, took part in and contributed to larger social and economic networks during the period.