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Farming on the frontier - the expansion and complexity of agrarian societies during the Neolithic in Scandinavia


The objective of this project is to investigate the speed of the neolithisation process focusing on agrarian societies and their expansion in southern Scandinavia, western Sweden and Norway in order to illustrate the complexity of the transformation from hunter-gatherer to agrarian societies. The aim of the project is to reach a more nuanced understanding of the changes that came with the neolithisation process in Scandinavia.

The project is based on a study of the archaeological literature on the neolithisation process in Scandinavia and empirical studies, including regional landscape analyses, early food production, domestication of animals, settlement patterns and burial customs, with the aim to provide alternative interpretations to existing ones. I will discuss material culture together with other evidences such as pollen diagrams, macrofossils, C-14 dates, isotope analysis and DNA analysis.

I will examine whether an essential aspect of the neolithisation process lies in a changed ideology, which may be seen by the appearance of monumental graves. Monumental tombs suggest a permanent link with a certain region, which implies that these communities were more dependent on resources within a defined area, with agriculture playing a central role.

Many researchers have argued that the neolithisation process should be interpreted as either a long or a short process. However, according to my hypothesis, the process should be interpreted as a quick in some regions and a more graduate process in other regions, thus showing several different processes of neolithisation. The neolithisation process and the expansion of agrarian societies are thus dependent on many environmental and ideological factors, which taken together show that people react differently and at different speed in relation to new impulses.    


Responsible: Ph.D.-studenrede Lasse Sørensen

Ph.d dissertation: From Hunter to Farmer in Northern Europe

Download Lasse Sørensen's dissertation in three volumes here:

Vol. 1

Vol. 2

Vol. 3