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Bo Friman

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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The dissertation can be divided into two parts, the first of which is a detailed analysis of three excavations concerning Mellanbyn in southern Malmö. In the second part I study the more general development of society, relating Mellanbyn to the surrounding area as well as to the region as a whole during Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age. The aim can be summed up as being to study the development of society from an individual–collective and egalitarian–elite perspective in the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age. My work is geared to trying to understand changes in the world of ideas, patterns of action and social organization on the basis of changes in settlement, the use of the landscape and deposition patterns of objects.

Southern Malmö is inhabited by a seemingly egalitarian settlement with small farming units based on cultivation of hulled barley during phase 1 (800 BC – 400 BC). Egalitarian and collective structures are visible and settlement spread to colonize all the plateaus and heights in the area during phase 2 (350 BC – 100 BC). Farms with collective animal husbandry has acquired a more important role and begun to gain an economic advantage. During phase 3-4 (200 BC – the birth of Christ) the settlement began to be concentrated in village-like structures. The interpretation is that an agricultural reform took place at roughly the same time in two different areas with a view to freeing larger areas of land for tillage and grazing. The process must have been staged by an emerging elite. During phases 5–6 (The birth of Christ – 250 AD) settlement reached its peak in the number of long-houses and farms. The agrarian elite manifested their position and their belonging to the place by construction of large farms and long-houses, sacrificing their agricultural surplus and prestige objects. The major votive ceremonies took place at Mellanbyn. More workshop sites became significant during this period in southern Scandinavia, and this was where new power centres grew up and were consolidated in the Late Roman Iron Age. New elite was founded on the control and trade chiefly of Roman goods but also on the control of the indigenous manufacture of metal objects. Mellanbyn’s lack of important contact networks and control over the production of valuable and prestigious objects also led to its fall in the Late Roman Iron Age. It brought down with it the farms that were directly dependent on it. On the other hand, some areas still had continuous settlement after Mellanbyn ceased to exist as a place with central functions.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Archaeology
  • Olausson, Deborah, Supervisor
Award date2008 Jun 3
ISBN (Print)91-85341-25-8
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2008-06-03
Time: 10:15
Place: Edens Hörsal i Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Helgesson, Bertil
Title: [unknown]
Affiliation: Regionsmuseet i Kristianstad


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Archaeology

Free keywords

  • central functions
  • individual
  • collective
  • egalitarian
  • elite
  • pit-system
  • long-house
  • farm
  • village
  • manifestation
  • ancestor cult
  • possession
  • social bonds
  • Malmö
  • Mellanbyn
  • Early Iron Age

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