Cultural identity? The Middle Neolithic Pitted Ware complex in southern Scandinavia

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The aim of this short article is to question the archaeological classification of the Neolithic archaeological cultures, and to raise questions about how to understand the fragmentary material culture in terms of social agency and cultural expression. e settlement of Jonstorp in southern Sweden as a case of the south Scandinavian Pitted Ware complex presents theoretical and methodological implications for the study of economic systems in emerging complex societies. We have problems understanding the time in question. The problems might be in the archaeological material and our classifications, in our methods and our ability to understand the past. However, the narrative of the Neolithization and the introduction of animal breeding and cereal production in southern Scandinavia describe a chaotic period with the construction of monuments and enclosures, technological innovations and colonizing the landscape. Does the material culture at the Pitted Ware sites reflect encounters between regional cultural identities? Can we talk about clashing cultural identities in altered regional economic systems in Scania, southern Scandinavia and in the rest of Europe? My contribution to the debate involves anthropological theories of economic systems, sociological theories of cultural representation, conflict and identity, and above all a critical perspective on archaeological classification.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeolithic Diversities : Perspectives from a conference in Lund, Sweden
EditorsKristian Brink, Susan Hydén, Kristina Jennbert, Lars Larsson, Deborah Oalusson
PublisherDepartment of Archaeology and Ancient History, Lund University
ISBN (Print)978-91-89578-60-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0065-0994

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History and Archaeology


  • Pitted Ware culture
  • Middle Neolithic
  • Classification
  • Complex societies
  • identity
  • conflict


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