FARAVID 35/2011


Jari-Matti Kuusela – Jasse Tiilikkala – Riku-Ville Vaske – Jari Okkonen, Centre-periphery -model used to study the Iron Age settlement dynamics in Northern Finland

Iron Age settlement dynamics in Finland are poorly understood due to the lack of known dwelling sites. However, applying the centre-periphery -model some hypothetical conclusions can be made. It appears that the Iron Age settlement indicators outside the Iron Age core settlement areas are uniform. They consist of scattetered individual burials, stray finds and pollen data indicating agriculture. This implies that these areas have been under continuous settlement throughout the Iron Age but that their livelihoods have been different compared to the core areas. The core areas likely practiced agriculture to a greater extent while the area outside the cores followed a livelihood form more akin to that of hunter-gatherers. These hunter-gatherer -societies had trade contacts with the agricultural central areas and via these contacts some aspects of the agriculturalists’ lifeways were adopted by a section of the hunter-gatherer society. Among these were some aspects of material culture and agriculture, which was practiced mostly for status purposes rather than as an actual livelihood endeavor. The section that adopted agriculture probably cosisted of a hunter-gatherer elite who also controlled the trade with the agriculturalists. Thus a form of a middleman-culture developed between the agriculturalists and the hunter-gatherers. This facilitated the birth of centre-periphery -relationship between the agriculturalists of the core areas and the hunter-gatherers of the peripheries.  

Faravid 35/2011