Akademisk avhandling för avläggande av filosofie doktorsexamen i arkeologi vid Stockholms universitet som offentligen kommer att försvaras fredagen den 11 september 2009 kl. 10.00 i Hörsalen Botanicum, Lilla Frescativägen 5.

 

 

Abstract
Iron in the ground. Spade-shaped currency bars in central Norrland
This thesis explores how the spade-shaped currency bars of central Norrland were used in different contexts and what significance they held. Spade-shaped currency bars give us a glimpse of a worldview
different than our own where the intermediary form the bars epresented bestowed upon them a much fuller significance than did their place in the production process. Spade-shaped bars do not work especially well as a general intermediary form in the iron production process. They are time-consuming to produce and their shape is clearly unsuitable for forging most objects, apart from cauldrons. It is likely that the shape of the bars was chosen from
social, rather than technological considerations. It is suggested that the bars got their shape from the socketed axe because of its practical as well as symbolic importance.

The spade-shaped bars
thus became associated with ideas about the origins of society; opening up the landscape, clearing forest for farming and iron production. The bars symbolic meaning was so broad as to appeal to
people in totally different parts of Norrland. It was possible, through the lens of the currency bar, to conciliate these different ways of life to a single narrative of origins and identity.

Most spade-shaped bars are found in hoards on the periphery of the settled areas, in the forest. The placement of the hoards suggest that the burial of bars is most likely part of ritualized activities
intended to promote fertility in the fields and in the forests. The hoards are found on boundaries in the landscape, often in the places where the boundary could be crossed.