Settlement, resources and routes in Iron Age Forsand
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Original versionIn: Mooney, D. E., Guðmundsdóttir, L., Dahl, B., Roberts, H. & Ramstad, M. (eds.), Expanding Horizons : Settlement Patterns and Outfield Land Use in the Norse North Atlantic, 85-102.
Forsandmoen is a prehistoric settlement site continuously in use from the Early Bronze Age to the Late Iron Age. This paper uses the large settlement as a case study to explore the duality of the agrarian and the outfield resources as two entangled aspects of the Iron Age society. The outfield resources offer a reminder of the need for expanding perspectives, in the same manner as routes and exchange direct our attention towards regional and inter-regional contexts. The abandonment of the large settlement at Forsandmoen in the Late Iron Age is the central research question. This paper argues that Forsand played a role as an intermediary between the outer coast of Rogaland and the mountain areas of South-Norway. It is suggested that the lines of communication broke down or were reorganised in a way that made an intermediary excess in the eighth century. At the other end of the routes from Forsand, finds in Setesdal are concentrated in the areas were these routes come down from the mountains. Grave finds start to appear in Setesdal at the same time as the abandonment of all known settlement sites in Forsand. It is proposed that the divergent, but coinciding regional patterns can be related. The divergent patterns are seen as a strong argument against an intensified exploitation of resources governed by leaders seated along the coast.