Food Cultures in Sápmi : An interdisciplinary approach to the study of the heterogeneous cultural landscape of northern Fennoscandia AD 600–1900

Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis is to highlight the heterogeneous cultural landscape in Sápmi through the study of food. By studying food and the choices of specific foodstuffs in Sápmi AD 600–1900, a greater understanding can be gained on the history of this area during the period. A number of well-known archaeological sites in Sápmi have been chosen as the focus, dating from the Late Iron Age in north-central Sweden to the late-19th century in northern Norway. By means of stable isotope analysis (δ13C, δ15N, δ34S and 87Sr/86Sr) and elemental analysis on human and animal skeletal remains, the diversity in food culture has been studied. The chronological range in this thesis is rather broad but has been determined by the available archaeological skeletal material from the area. The overarching questions are how cultural diversity is reflected in different food practices, how individual life history and studies of mobility contribute to the understanding of life in Sápmi, what role the reindeer had in the diet in Sápmi during the period studied, and finally, what impact mining activities had on the local population in Sillbajåhkå/Silbojokk in terms of lead poisoning?Through the different case studies, it has been demonstrated that food consumption was by no means uniform and static during the period, and that the differences in food consumption reflect a multicultural landscape. Individuals buried in Vivallen had a diet based on terrestrial and freshwater resources, in contrast to individuals from Guollesuolu/Gullholmen and Kirkegårdsøya, who had diets based predominantly on marine protein. However, the diet of individuals buried at Gullholmen was much more varied than at Kirkegårdsøya, indicating a multi-ethnic presence. The intra-individual analysis of diet and mobility provided information on a more complex society. Whether they were Sámi or non-Sámi is difficult to assess, but they were clearly a culturally heterogeneous group of people. The individuals that were buried in Rounala and Sillbajåhkå/Silbojokk in northern Sweden had a mixed diet, including foodstuffs from terrestrial, freshwater and/or marine environments. The sites overlap chronologically, with Rounala dating from the 14th to the 18th century, and Silbojokk from the 17th to the 18th century. While individuals buried in Rounala had a mixed diet, focused on freshwater fish, individuals buried in Silbojokk had a much more varied diet. Through the analysis of sulphur and strontium isotopes, it was possible to investigate intra-individual change in diet and mobility. Further, the results indicated that reindeer protein was not a major food source at the sites studied.The mining activities at Silbojokk can be seen as the result of colonial infraction on nature and people in Sápmi by the Swedish state, with an immense and negative impact on the environment and for people there. This thesis includes the analysis and handling of human skeletal remains, which always has ethical implications: even more so in areas subjected to colonialism, such as Sápmi. My aim has been to highlight the importance of discussing reburial and repatriation and offer some thoughts on how this may be handled in the future.

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