Movement of agricultural products in the Scandinavian Iron Age during the first millennium AD: 87Sr/86Sr values of archaeological crops and animals in southern Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this paper, we examine the exchange of crops and livestock through the application of strontium (87Sr/86Sr) isotope analysis on cereal grains and faunal tooth enamel from the regional center of Uppåkra and three nearby settlements in Scania, southern Sweden, dating to the first millennium AD. Around a third of the fauna have non-local 87Sr/86Sr values, indicating the import of livestock from several different regions. After cleaning, almost all of the cereal grains have non-local 87Sr/86Sr values, which is surprising given the nearby abundance of fertile agricultural soils. We therefore suggest considering non-locally grown crops to be those whose 87Sr/86Sr values fall outside the normal distribution; if this approach is used, around 20% of the analyzed crop samples are interpreted as having grown non-locally. This study demonstrates the potential of combining strontium isotopic data of archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological material for gaining insights into the movement of agricultural products in prehistory.


External organisations
  • The Archaeologists, National Historical Museums
  • University of Oxford
  • British Geological Survey
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology


  • agriculture, cereal grain, mobility, Scandinavian Iron Age, Strontium isotopes, tooth enamel
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-112
Number of pages17
JournalScience and Technology of Archaeological Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch