In my talk I will present the local and regional context of the Swedish archaeological materials that have been sampled for aDNA by the Jena/Tübingen team:
· the Mesolithic site Kanaljorden, Motala in Östergötland
· the Early Funnel Beaker site Kvärlöv Kalkkälla, Saxtorp in Skåne
· the late Middle Neolithic/Late Neolithic site Ölsund, Forsa in Hälsingland
For each chronological horizon I will also comment on patterns in the archaeological record, that may be interpreted as indications of population continuity or as associated with a change in population composition, eg. through migration or marriage exchange.
Kanaljorden, Motala is a Mesolithic site with spectacular wetland depositions of disarticulated human skulls – some of which are mounted on wooden stakes. The skulls were placed under water on a man made stone packing on the bottom of a small lake, together with grave gifts/offerings of artefacts and parts of animals. The ritual context was used by hunter-gatherers during a short phase of the Scandinavian Mesolithic, c. 7700 cal BP.
Kvärlöv Kalkkälla, Saxtorp is also a ritual site with wetland depositions of disarticulated human remains, but dating to c. 5700-5400 cal BP which corresponds to the Scandinavian Early Neolithic. The human remains thus belong to the phase when agriculture was introduced to Scandinavia, along with the traditions of the Funnel Beaker Culture (TRB). Besides human remains the spring mire at Kvärlöv contain funnel-beaker pottery, knapped flint and bones of domestic animals.
The human skull from Ölsund, Forsa, Hälsingland was found on the bottom of a former bay of the sea, it may be the remains of someone who drowned, or who was buried in the sea. The region of Hälsingland in North Sweden remained occupied by hunter-gatherers, when agriculture was introduced to South Sweden 1500 years previously. During the period of the Ölsund skull c. 4300 cal BP, the first traces of agriculture (carbonised cereal seeds) are found along the coast of Northern Sweden, including Hälsingland. These finds appear together with a material culture that is a mix of the local hunter-gatherer repertoire and elements associated with the Corded Ware Culture.