New evidence on the introduction, cultivation and processing of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) in southern Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Subfossil remains of Cannabis sativa L. (hemp) have been found at Lindangelund in the region of Malmo, southern Sweden. These represent the earliest robust evidence so far for hemp retting in Scandinavia. Finds of seeds, stems and pollen of C. sativa from a waterlogged context on a settlement dating to the Roman Iron Age demonstrate that the plant was locally cultivated and processed during the 1st-2nd centuries AD. An introductory phase in Scandinavia is proposed (c. AD 1-400) during which the cultivation of hemp was apparently small scale and processing was probably carried out within settlements. In the succeeding centuries, c. AD 400-550 (the Migration Period), remains of hemp are mostly found in pollen records from lake sediments, and less frequently in the archaeological record. This could indicate that the process of hemp retting relocated from settlements to lakes shores where activity became larger in scale and more integrated with the prevailing agricultural system.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Swedish National Heritage Board
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology

Keywords

  • Cannabis sativa, Hemp, Retting, Roman Iron Age, Sweden, Scandinavia
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-119
JournalEnvironmental Archaeology
Volume20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes