Var går gränsen? : arkeologiska uttryck för religiösa och politiska aktörer i nuvarande Västsverige under perioden 1000-1300
Sammanfattning: The early Middle Ages saw the formation of the three Nordic kingdoms of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and at that time the area studied here constituted a border region between them. During the same period the Church was very active in the area: a bishopric was established and a large number of churches were built. This makes the area a particularly interesting one to study from the point of view of physical manifestations of political and religious power ambitions. The starting point for the discussion is in the differences that have been noted between the materials from the western and those from the eastern parts of the study area, differences that are chiefly to be detected during the earlier part of the period. Archaeological materials from the early medieval towns of Skara, Lödöse and Kungahälla, together with archaeological and building remains from more than 500 medieval central church sites, are described. The methodological basis lies in the ideas of Braudel and the Annales movement, a broadly cultural approach which has been further developed in critical archaeology, the roots of which are close to those of post processual archaeology and the discussion of the symbolic values of the materials. The analysis is based on observations of local change processes identified in individual materials which can be linked to different power holders, focusing on both them and those over whom power is exercised, mainly in religious groupings and political ones. This is also facilitated by some fundamental discussion of questions concerning the dating of the materials concerned. Church activities tended to determine the course of events in the eastern parts of the province, while the political power holders seem to have held sway in the west. In the thirteenth century, when the church appears established, it is possible to detect a greater similarity in the materials, something that may also be seen in other Scandinavian materials. Activities in Skara and its immediate surroundings declined at that time, whereas Lödöse continued to grow vigorously. In the early fourteenth century there is a further restructuring, when political activities tend to centre on the new strongholds rather than on the towns as previously. There is much to support the view that this was also the time when the territorial divisions of Scandinavia took shape, and when the political structure changed in the direction of stronger central control. At that time society was also moving in the direction of a more distinct market economy, to some extent characterized by greater export and import activity.
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