Although occupied only relatively briefly in the long span of world prehistory, Scandinavia is an extraordinary laboratory for investigating past human societies. The area was essentially unoccupied until the end of the last Ice Age when the melting of huge ice sheets left behind a fresh, barren land surface, which was eventually covered by flora and fauna. The first humans did not arrive until sometime after 13,500 BCE. The prehistoric remains of human activity in Scandinavia - much of it remarkably preserved in its bogs, lakes, and fjords - have given archaeologists a richly detailed portrait of the evolution of human society.
In this book, Doug Price provides an archaeological history of Scandinavia-a land mass comprising the modern countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway-from the arrival of the first humans after the last Ice Age to the end of the Viking period, ca. AD 1050. Constructed similarly to the author's previous book, Europe before Rome, Ancient Scandinavia provides overviews of each prehistoric epoch followed by detailed, illustrative examples from the archaeological record.
An engrossing and comprehensive picture emerges of change across the millennia, as human society evolves from small bands of hunter - gatherers to large farming communities to the complex warrior cultures of the Bronze and Iron Ages, which culminated in the spectacular rise of the Vikings. The material evidence of these past societies - arrowheads from reindeer hunts, megalithic tombs, rock art, beautifully wrought weaponry, Viking warships - give vivid testimony to the ancient humans who once called home this often unforgiving edge of the inhabitable world.
Contents ; PREFACE ; CHAPTER 1. PLACE, TIME, AND ARCHAEOLOGY ; CHAPTER 2. THE FIRST INHABITANTS (13,000 - 9500 BC) ; CHAPTER 3. THE LAST HUNTERS (9500 - 4000 BC) ; CHAPTER 4. THE FIRST FARMERS (4000 - 2800 BC) ; CHAPTER 5. NEOLITHIC SOCIETIES (2800 - 1800 BC) ; CHAPTER 6. BRONZE WARRIORS (1800 - 800 BC) ; CHAPTER 7. THE AGE OF IRON (800 BC - AD 750) ; CHAPTER 8. VIKINGS! (AD 750 - 1050) ; CHAPTER 9. A VIEW TO THE PAST ; ILLUSTRATION CREDITS ; REFERENCES ; INDEX
T. Douglas Price is Weinstein Professor of European Archaeology Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include Europe before Rome, Principles of Archaeology, Europe's First Farmers, and the leading introductory textbook in the discipline,Images of the Past
Reviews for Ancient Scandinavia: An Archaeological History from the First Humans to the Vikings
Anyone interested in Scandinavian prehistory, student and researcher alike, will be superbly served by this book, which elegantly blends synthesis with in-depth case studies. Highly recommended. --Kristian Kristiansen, University of Gothenburg Price has written the most accessible overview of Scandinavian prehistory in decades, taking the reader on a well-illustrated journey of some 14,000 years from the first settlement to the time of the Vikings. With remarkable fluency, a clear line of narrative chronology links major discoveries, debates and key sites, and the result is superb. For a one-stop guide to the archaeology of the Scandinavian countries, this is the book. --Neil Price, University of Uppsala This book provides a comprehensive overview of the archaeology of Scandinavia, from the first inhabitants 15,000 years ago to the time of the Vikings. The author's focus on specific sites of settlements, burials, and treasure deposits shows the reader clearly how archaeologists reconstruct ancient societies from the material evidence. --Peter S. Wells, University of Minnesota