The handicrafts of Iron Age pottery in Scandinavia :regionalities and traditions

Thomas Eriksson, Anders Lindahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the last 35 years almost 5000 ceramic thin-sections have been analysed at the Laboratory for Ceramic Research, Lund University and of those have 1650 analyses been performed on material from the Iron Age in Northern Europe (here c. 500 BC-1100 AD). Currently there is a project to register these analyses in a database and evaluate the results. We can for the first time get an overall picture of the various handicraft traditions that have existed at different periods in Northern Europe and in particular Scandinavia. The study presented here aims primarily to identify regional diversity during the Iron Age. The focus will be on analyses performed on pottery from Eastern Denmark, Scania, Gotland and Mälardalen with some examples from other parts of Northern Europe. A further aim of this survey, which is based on a large statistical material, will also investigate how cultural choices were reflected in material culture.
Interactions between different geological conditions and various cultural choices played a decisive role in how the pottery craft developed in different regions. The different geological conditions, with different types of clays and temper, can partly explain the differences in ceramic handicrafts. These factors may also have affected e.g. regional differences in firing methods. Various vessel types, styles, and ultimately table manners have also influenced the craft. Regional differences in usage of various types of vessels also affected how the pottery was manufactured. The method of studying thin-sections can reveal hidden differences in the handicraft and modify or even overturn groupings based on style and decoration. This study will set focus on that.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-60
JournalLund Archaeological Review
Issue number2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Geology


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