Settlements without names, names without settlements – and the transformation to an occupied landscape
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Original versionIn: Albris, S. F. (ed.). Placing Place Names in Norwegian Archaeology. Current Discussions and Future Perspectives, 55-78.
Archaeological settlement surveys have shown marked differences in the settlement structure between the Early and Late Iron Age. The historic Norwegian farm seems to be established at the end of the 6th century. This has consequences for the way we look at farm names. If the historical farms did not exist in the Early Iron Age, what were the ‘farm names’ in the Early Iron Age? The starting point for the discussion is that the relationship between people and landscape must have changed significantly at the end of the 6th century. The article discusses this by looking at how the landscape was used and experienced. While the Late Iron Age landscape was divided into properties and thus had a cell structure, the landscape of the Early Iron Age can be seen as a landscape defined and experienced through the movement between places defined by the practices that have taken place in these places. The differences between these two ways of experiencing the landscape mean that the practice of naming places must have been different. The terms chronotope and praxiotope are used to describe these two different ways of naming places. The theoretical starting point is symmetrical archaeology and practice theory.