Människor i utmark

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The aim of this study is to illuminate the complex and varied uses of the forested outlands, from the Iron Age, through the Middle Ages, to Early Modern times. Material evidence from the landscape of Värmland, in Western Sweden, will be examined, focusing on the local societies of Dalby and Gunnarskog. Evidence for the reconstruction of outland activities comes from a range of sites, including pitfalls for elk, bloomery furnaces, shielings, localities with outland haymaking and agriculture, tar production sites, and soapstone quarries. Results from the excavation of two settlement sites connected with outland use are also presented. A multi-disciplinary approach has been adopted where the evidence is available. Outland use functioned within the "permanent field and meadow system", although some outland activites predate the introduction of this system, during the Middle Iron Age in the forests of central Sweden, and some continued to function after its breakdown in the pre-industrial period. Outland use developed from a dialogue between the natural environment, pre-existing practices within the outland, patterns of land division introduced by the "permanent field and meadow system", the structure of society and general human strategies. The people involved in outland use were the forest farmers, a wealthy element of society, due to the marketable value of the products of outland use, and the risk-management capacity of outland use. The strategies adopted by the forest farmers to the surrounding environment, both natural and social, is studied through the two main arenas for social practices and daily actions; the household and associated work co-operatives, and the local society. The forest farmers of the two local societies of Dalby and Gunnarskog adopted quite different strategies toward outland use. In Gunnarskog the forest farmers appear to have practised a form of labour division, where different households speciliased in different outland activities. In Dalby the various households were engaged in most forms of outland production and appear to have been competing against one another to produce goods for an external market during the Viking Age and the Early Medieval period. When this external market collapsed during the High Middle Ages the forest farmers of Dalby appear to have responded by establishing systems for co-operation. By the Early Modern period the forest farmers of both Gunnarskog and Dalby were engaged in cattle breeding for the lucrative market of the Swedish mining districts.


  • Eva Svensson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology


  • local societies, social practice, human strategies, pitfalls for elk, bloomery furnaces, shielings, outland agriculture, outland haymaking, rural settlement, soapstone quarries, forest farmers, tar production, households, landscape archaeology, Outand use, Archaeology, Arkeologi
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1998 Sep 29
  • Almqvist & Wiksell International
Print ISBNs91-2201808-5
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 1998-09-29 Time: 10:15 Place: Samarkand, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Martens, Irmelin Title: [unknown] Affiliation: Oslo ---