This thesis is an archeological study of continuity and change in mining and settlement 1000 – 1500. At the time for the earliest possible introduction of mining, in the mid-10th century, the primary area for Norbergs’ mining district was sparsely settled, but in the late Viking Age and/or early Middle Ages, the analyses demonstrate a significant agricultural expansion.

Based on the dating of the medieval blast furnaces, the 13th century seems to have been the main expansion phase for mining in the area. In the early 14th century there may have been 121 blast furnaces around Norberg. During the later parts of the Middle Ages, starting in the second half of the 14th century, in total 30%, of the blast furnaces was closed.

The Christian ideology broke down the former power of the local Viking Age magnates and dissolved their strong control over the route taken by the iron to the consumer. Their strong control over the craft and the craftsmen was also reduced. Together, this contributed to the quantitative development of iron production, and permitted craftsmen and iron producers to strengthen their social positions by developing their operations. These actors became stronger during the Middle Ages and had much to win from an increasingly powerful monarchy. The development of the towns and trading created entirely new routes and institutions for the iron to be shipped down from the mining area. This created the right conditions for the peasant miners to free themselves entirely from the old structures that controlled the mining area and trade.

After the Black Death it was increasingly important to be more self-sufficient and to reside on site, which is why the so-called peasant miner organization reinforced its position and became dominant. But at the same time, the first large scale industrialization of the mining area stopped.