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Central Places in the Migration and the Merovingian Periods, s. 185-196. Regional Settlement Patterns and Central Places on Late Iron Age Zealand, Denmark Per Ole Rindel Abstract Analyses of 3241 recorded sites from Zealand (Sjælland) from the Iron Age and Early Middle Ages (500 BC - AD 1200) indicate significant changes within the regional settlement pattern. In the Late Iron Age a number of different kinds of central places types can be observed. The topographical situation of these central p
  185 REGIONAL SETTLEMENT PATTERNS AND CENTRAL PLACES ON LATE IRON AGE ZEALAND, DENMARK Introduction  As part of the research programme ”Fortid og Flora” (Land-Use History and Plant Diversity)funded by the Research Councils 1995-2000(Aaby  et al. 1999; Bruun et al. 2001), a projectdealing with the Iron Age settlement patternsand land use of the island of Zealand, Den-mark, has been carried out by Ulla LundHansen and me. At the Sachsensymposiumin Bederkesa in 1999 we presented somepreliminary results from a restricted primary investigation area in the northern part of Zealand. Now more final results based onanalyses of the whole of Zealand are available. Regional Settlement Patterns and Central Places on LateIron Age Zealand, Denmark  Per Ole Rindel Abstract  Analyses of 3241 recorded sites from Zealand (Sjælland) from the Iron Age and Early Middle Ages (500 BC - AD 1200) indicate significant changes within the regional settlement pattern. In the Late Iron Age a number of different kinds of central places types can be observed. The topographical situation of these central places is evaluated in relation to the general settlement patterns on Zealand in the same period. Gammel Lejre, Tissø,Toftegård, and Trelleborg are all situated close to large watercourse systems, 2,5-7 kilometres from the coast.Even if the general settlement pattern of the Late Iron Age shows a positive preference for the zones very close to the coast, the central places are thus situated some kilometres from the coast, but often very close to the large watercourse systems, which not only seem to have been of importance for over regional communication but for local communication, as well, as these watercourses seem to have been of increasing general importance in this  period. The situation of some of the Late Iron Age central places in areas with clayey sand soil should not only be explained from agricultural needs, as more clayey soils generally seem to have been preferred for the contem-  porary rural settlement, but also as a result of the choice of placement from aspects such as communication, protection and control.Per Ole Rindel, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Vandkunsten 5, DK-1467 Copenhagen K Denmark,rindel@hum.ku.dk  Furthermore the project has developed into a new project, running in 2000-2001 withinthe frames of the co-ordinating institution”Øresundsuniversitetet” (Øresund Univer-sity). This new project is carried out as a collaboration between the archaeologicalinstitutes at the universities in Lund andCopenhagen and deals with settlementpatterns and land use in the Iron Age andEarly Middle Ages (500 BC – AD 1200)within Scania and Zealand. An importanttask has been to establish a common data base structure and the incorporation of this Central Places in the Migration and the Merovingian Periods, s. 185-196.  186 PER OLE RINDEL into GIS (MapInfo), making total analyses of the region around Øresund possible. As a part of these projects systematic recording and up-to-date evaluation of finds and fileinformations at the Danish National Museumin Copenhagen and at the regional archaeo-logical museums on Zealand has been carriedout. This means that the already existing recordwithin the frames of the National Archaeo-logical Record (Det Kulturhistoriske Central-register) (Jarl Hansen 1994) has been updatedand supplemented considerably. By the endof the recording process in 1999, a record of 3241 archaeological sites, including settle-ments, cemeteries, hoards, field systems, stray finds etc. from the period 500 BC – 1200 ADhas been established for further analyses. Whatthe settlements concerns, only rural settle-ments, which are archaeologically docu-mented, are included in the analyses. Thismeans, that early medieval cities, or ruralsettlements known from written sources only,are not included. In this way the results inrelation to the later parts of the period inquestion should be comparable to the resultsin relation to the earlier periods. So far, ouranalyses have focussed on the relation betweensettlement and three main elements in thelandscape: the coast, the watercourses and thedifferent soil types. In order to understandthe central places of the Late Iron Age in theircontext it might be useful to compare thetopographical situation of the Late Iron Agecentral places on Zealand with the con-temporary general settlement patterns andland use of this region. Some of the mainresults of the projects mentioned above willbe presented in the following, including theearlier parts of the Iron Age as well as theEarly Middle Age, in order to see the settle-ment patterns of the Late Iron Age within a larger chronological framework. Finally therelation between the general settlement patternsand the situation of some of the central placeswill be discussed. It must be stressed, that thereliability of such analyses depends very muchon a sufficient number of sites and should beevaluated against source criticism (Rindel1998:34 pp.). In the present case, certainformation processes evidently have had impor-tant influence on the present number anddistribution of the recorded sites. Here only some of the most important will be men-tioned. Even if the number of sites allowsstatistically significant results, the evidence of such statistical analyses of the regional settle-ment patterns and land use should always beinterpreted carefully and only seen as a supp-lement to other sorts of information on thismatter, such as pollen diagrams and detailedanalyses of the specific sites and their topo-graphic, economic, and social context. Themethods used in the present analyses are notappropriate for description of particular siteson the local level, but only for statistical analysesof a large number of sites to elucidate tenden-cies and changes in the general settlementpattern within a major region. Nevertheless, Ithink that such results can be of great impor-tance and point to some facts, which can befurther analysed and explained by other andmore detailed methods. Late Iron Age Central Places onZealand It must be stressed, that the term “centralplaces” in the case of Late Iron Age Zealandcovers a wide range of sites with very differentcharacteristics (cf. Näsman 1998:1 pp.).Gammel Lejre, with the large hall houses(Christensen 1997; Jørgensen 2001:78) andthe neighbouring stone ship and rich cremation  187 REGIONAL SETTLEMENT PATTERNS AND CENTRAL PLACES ON LATE IRON AGE ZEALAND, DENMARK grave in the barrow “Grydehøj” (Andersen1960; Christensen 1991), and Tissø, withlarge hall houses, as well, and rich and unusualartefacts (Jørgensen 1998, 2001:79 p.), bothseem to have been important political centresduring the Late Germanic Iron Age and Viking  Age, probably within the royal level of thesocieties. The large farmstead and the preciousfinds at Toftegård at Strøby no doubt repre-sents a high social level, too, most likely a seriesof local magnates during the same period(Tornbjerg 1997, 1998). The ring fortress atTrelleborg probably played a role for royalcontrol of the region in the late 10 th century (Andersen 1991). Recently indications of tradeand handicrafts in the Late Germanic Iron Age and Viking Age have been found in thevicinity of Trelleborg (Johannesen 2001). Theprecious ring knob sword in the 7 th century grave at Kyndby, indicates the presence of a person with high social status, probably a military leader related to the king, on thepeninsula between Roskilde Fjord and Isefjordat this time (Ørsnes-Christensen 1955; Nør-gaard Jørgensen 2001:111). The Relation between Settlementand Coast In the following analyses of the relationbetween settlement and coast it is importantto distinguish between the hinterlands relatedto the open coasts at the waters surrounding Zealand and the hinterlands of the protectedcoast in relation to the widely ramified inletsystem which covers a major part of NorthernZealand, that is the inlets of Roskilde Fjordand Isefjord (Fig. 1). The coastline of Zealandseems to have changed to some degree during the Iron Age, partly caused by minor changesin the general sea level within this period. Inthe Early Roman Iron Age and Late GermanicIron Age the sea level seems to have beenabout 1 metre lower than the present, while itwas about the present level in the Early Germanic Iron Age and the Viking Age, andabout 1 metre higher in the Early Middle Ages (Holmberg & Skamby Madsen 1998:212p.). Much work has to be done to get a moreprecise knowledge of the prehistoric coastlines.So far, historical maps from about 1800(Videnskabernes Selskabs kort) have been usedin the present analyses to have a rough appro-ximation of the coastline of the Iron Age andEarly Middle Ages. By use of GIS the distri-bution of sites in buffer zones with differentdistances from the coasts are compared to thesize of the same buffer zones. Similar analysesof the distance of sites with Late Iron Agegraves or single finds from the coast havebeen carried out, as well. It should be noted, Fig. 1. Zealand showing the different buffer zonesused in the analyses of the relation between thesettlement and distance from the coast. The brokenline marks the boarder between the hinterland of the open coasts and the hinterland of the largeinlet system of Isefjord and Roskilde Fjord.  188 PER OLE RINDEL that the very intensive excavation activity inthe area around Høje Tåstrup during the lasttwo decades (Mahler (ed.) 1999) has a very strong influence on the number of recordedIron Age settlements in the zone between 5and 10 kilometres from the coast, which causesa considerable artificial overrepresentation of this zone. This fact has no influence on theanalyses of the hinterland of the inlet systemof northern Zealand, as this region does notinclude the Høje Tåstrup area. As regards thehinterland of the open coasts, the analyses havebeen carried out in two ways, including andexcluding the Høje Tåstrup area, respectively.The zones closest to the coast, that is lessthan 1 kilometre from the coast, generally seem to have had a negative preference during most of the Iron Age (Fig. 2). This can not beexplained by changes in the sea level. Such a negative preference does not count for thezones at the open coasts during the Late RomanIron Age, however. From the Late GermanicIron Age this pattern is changed to a positivepreference for the zones within 500 metersfrom the coasts, both as regards the protectedcoasts in the inlet system (Fig. 3) and theopen coasts. This obviously has a close rela-tion to the emergence of numerous landing places and certain economically specialisedsettlements at the Danish coasts in the LateGermanic Iron Age and Viking Age (Ulriksen1998; Møller-Hansen 2000).The total lack of recorded settlements fromthe Early and Late Germanic Iron Age in theinnermost part of Zealand, that is more than20 kilometres from the coast, should not beoverestimated, as several graves and single findsfrom this time span are known in the sameregion (Fig. 4). Nevertheless this part of Zealand generally seems to have had a negativepreference for settlement in all periods of theIron Age, as the number of settlements is lessthan should be expected if the settlements of the periods in question were evenly distributedon Zealand. In the Early Pre Roman Iron Age(500-200 BC) the inner part of Zealand may even have been uninhabited as no finds arerecorded from this period. The Relation between Settlementand Watercourses The major watercourse systems on Zealandare all to be found on the southern and tosome degree the north eastern part of theisland. The northern and north western partsare totally dominated by the large inlet sys-tem, with only minor watercourse systems inthe hinterlands. Similar to the analyses of therelation between settlement and coasts, thesettlement patterns have been analysed in re-lation to a number of zones with differentdistances from the watercourses, and the dist-ribution of settlements on the different zoneshas been compared to the area distribution of the same zones. So far, the present analyseshave been carried out on the basis of moderntopographical charts in the scale 1:100.000,which of course represents a source of error.The exact positions of the different water-courses have no doubt changed to some degreeboth during and since the Iron Age and theEarly Middle Ages. Especially the high sea level during the Early Middle Ages may havecaused more water rich watercourses in thisperiod than later on (Holmberg & Skamby Madsen 1998: 212 p.). Another source of erroris the many regulations of the watercourses,which have taken place since the periods inquestion, and the fact, that the watercoursesare treated as a simple line in the analyses evenif the width of such a watercourse can be many metres.
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