After we finished the field work in early november, we have during the autumn quality assured all documentation, washed and Base Registered all findings and registered all samples for macrofossil, wood species and 14C-analysis. Now the actual report work begins!
Through all the results from both the investigated remains and the analyzes and Special Studies of findings, soil and bones that are made, we will eventually be able to answer the questions we posed before the investigations.
One of our themes before the surveys concerned traditions and contact networks over time. Among other things, we wanted to see if there are similarities or differences in how the graves have been constructed, how the burial fields have been constructed and how the compositions of the grave gifts look over time and between the different premises. Who has been buried, what genders and ages exist and which are missing? Have the sites of the burial Fields been used in any other way before, during, between and/or after the actual burial stage. Is there a group of objects in the graves that can show local traditions, local crafts or the presence of certain groups in the form of, for example, decor? Can the presence of certain animals and plants in the graves say anything about ritual practice?
In an extension, the above can say something about the underlying society. Here can be mentioned social stratification and differentiation, are there different social groups that show a higher social status, armed individuals /groups and can one see a mobility within and outside these settlements? Are there signs of employment and specialization in the graves?
Analysis of 6,000 shards of ceramics
As for the finding material, it is certain categories that should undergo specialist analysis. All ceramics, over 6,000 shards, shall be studied in terms of manufacturing methods, and if decor elements exist, shall be defined. Is it possible to see if ceramics are made locally or come from outside? The burnt clay that we often find can tell if it was sitting in house walls or maybe even been a lining wall for a furnace.
In the investigations, a total of 60 kg of burned bones were found, which are now to be analyzed. The majority of them come from the graves in Sylta, Eriksberg and Turku. The analysis will show who has been buried and which and how many different animals have followed in the grave. The result of the osteological analysis thus gives an indication of the social position of the buried. Bone material may also have been found on the grave’s Superstructure or elsewhere than in the fire bearing itself. These bones may indicate ritual activities in connection with the funeral, such as communion meals or that someone visited the tomb at a later time.
What does the plant material tell?
We use macrofossil analysis to see if there are traces of, for example, grains or other plant material that can tell us about the environment people lived in and what they lived from. Macrofossil analysis will also be carried out of parts of all fire layers from graves. It can give a hint if there were herbs or plants placed on the Firebowl, perhaps as a grave gift. These plants and herbs can additionally help to understand when in the year the funeral has taken place.
Vedartsanalys and 14C analysis is used to be able to date a house or grave. The wood species analysis allows us to narrow the data through low self-age on the carbon. It is better to use a young twig than charcoal from an oak that can be several hundred years old already at the time of burning. This means that the result of 14The C-analysis is given as short a time span as possible.
Added to this, of course, are all the finds that have been found. They should be identified, dated typologically and the metal finds preserved in order to be preserved in the future. Objects made of iron, Cu alloy and precious metal-in our project about 1100 objects – are affected by corrosion when they lie in the ground and can break. Sometimes they are so corroded that it is difficult to determine what kind of object it is. If they have been to the grave, they are also affected by the fire. Glass beads are one such category often affected by the fire. Through the preservation we get possible decor elements, something that can help when dating.