Bronze Age Identities : Costume, Conflict and Contact in Northern Europe 1600-1300 BC

Sammanfattning: This dissertation deals with male and female social identities during the Middle Bronze Age (1600-1300 BC) in southern Scandinavia and northern Germany. South Scandinavian Bronze Age research has traditionally focused on the male sphere, while women have seldom been seriously considered or analysed in terms of their roles, power or influences on society. This study addresses the imbalance through discussing the evidence for gender relations, social structures and identity. The topic will be approached using case studies from different areas of northern Europe and from a variety of angles (e.g. costume and appearance, age, violence, long distance contacts), always drawing on the rich material from burials. How people presented themselves varied not only between different areas, but also over time. Groups that treated material culture in a fairly similar way during Period IB (c. 1600-1500 BC) start treating it in different ways during Period II (c. 1500-1300 BC). In southern Scandinavia during Period II the material culture is fairly similar on the whole, but the different geographical groups use the artefacts in different ways. The level of violence seems to have fluctuated in the area during the Middle Bronze Age, with some areas showing more signs of violence at certain times. On the other hand the view on ageing seems to have been fairly similar over a large part of central and northern Europe, and from age 14 one seems to have been regarded as an adult. The dissertation also shows that long distance contacts were important and wide-ranging, and people seem to have moved across large areas of Europe, even if the visible exogamous marriage pattern seems to have decreased in distance from Period IB to Period II. In conclusion, although there seems to have been a general European pattern concerning e.g. the view on age, the archaeological record reveals many local variations in how this was expressed, e.g. on the body.