Agricultural history in pre-modern societies is commonly characterized by relatively long periods of stability, interspersed by a small number of large- scale transformations. The main aim of this article is to identify major shifts and general features of the early agricultural history in two regions in the inland area of eastern Norway consisting of today’s Hedmarken and Østerdalen regions. This paper is based on a statistical modelling of 594 radiocarbon dates, survey data, excavations results, and pollen analysis from these two regions and from eastern Norway in general. A period of extensive farming has been identified in Hedmarken between c. 2350–800 BC, followed by a transitional period (c. 800–400 BC) and a period during which livestock breeding and arable cultivation were more closely integrated (from c. 400 BC). The author concludes that this latter tradition was closely associated with the clearance-cairn fields. However, other parts of the landscape were also in use for the production of crops and animal feed. Because of the limited data available, the developments of early farming in Østerdalen are less clear. However, it is indisputable that a mixed farming economy emerged in the southern parts of this valley in the Roman Iron Age (AD 1–400) with the cultivation of both clearance-cairn fields and of sandy terraces.
This item's license is: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International