Bosättning och resursutnyttjande : miljöarkeologiska studier av boplatser med härdar från perioden 600-1900 e. Kr inom skogssamiskt område

Sammanfattning: This thesis focuses on dwelling sites with hearths dating from the period 600-1900 AD, located in the coniferous forest areas of Northern Sweden. The term dwelling sites with hearths refers to sites where stone-lined hearths occur. These hearths are of a type that became very common in Northern Sweden during the first millennium after the birth of Christ.The main aim of this study is to apply environmental archaeological methods to the investigation of dwelling sites with hearths in order to attain new information on the organisation and use of these sites, as well as to discuss and evaluate earlier strategies of settlement and subsistence. For this study, soil chemical survey and pollen analysis methods are used. Soil chemical surveys have been conducted at a total of 13 sites from the period 1000/1100-1900 AD at locations in the inland areas of the counties of Norrbotten, Västerbotten and Jämtland, while pollen analyses have been conducted at 4 sites located in the county of Norrbotten.Interpretations of the results are related to previous archaeological research, surveys and excavations. In addition, historical and ethnographical documentation as well as historical research concerning the conditions in the area during later periods are considered.The results show that environmental archaeological methods can provide information about settlements with hearths that is not normally possible to discern through archaeological surveys or excavations. Regarding the environmental impact at the settlement areas, there are clear differences between different dwelling sites with hearths. These differences seem to be independent of the number of hearths at the sites. Thus, it is not possible to make interpretations regarding these dwelling sites based purely on the number of hearths at the sites. The results also imply that these sites have been part of a settlement system where different types of dwelling sites were in use for shorter periods of time, for different purposes, and by a limited number of people. With the exception of the 17th century church and market place in Arvidsjaur, none of the examined dwelling sites could be interpreted as being a gathering site for a large number of people. Compared to descriptions of the conditions in the Sami area (Sa. Sápmi) during historical periods, this type of settlement pattern is comparable to the Forest Sami settlement pattern of late historical times. Moreover, soil chemical surveys conducted in areas adjacent to a number of hearths show similarities to the Sami hut (Sw. kåta). To sum up, the use of dwelling sites with hearths shows continuity from the 7th century settlements to Sami settlements of the 20th century, with respect to the environmental impact at the dwelling sites. On the basis of these results, it is suggested that a settlement pattern and subsistence similar to that of the Forest Sami economy and settlement of late historical times are characteristic for settlements with hearths and may have occurred as early as 600 AD.