The Central Place of the Avaldsnes Area, SW Norway. An Analysis of Elites and Central Functions along Karmsund 200 BC - AD 1000
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The island of Karmøy is located at the southwestern coast of Norway, in the county of Rogaland. The protected sea way through Karmsund on the eastside of the island, represent an area with great strategic potential along the west Norwegian coast. The northern part of Karmøy, where Karmsund is at its narrowest, has yielded rich archaeological finds from several prehistoric periods. Medieval sources describe the farm of Avaldsnes, at the midpoint of Karmsund, as a royal estate in the 9th-14th century AD. The subject of the thesis is to carry out a long-term analysis, between 200 BC - AD 1000, in an area surrounding Avaldsnes, to test the hypothesis that the area functioned as a central place in different parts of the Scandinavian Iron Age. The thesis concludes that the Avaldsnes area functioned as a regional central place at least within the Late Roman Iron Age (c. AD 250-350) and the Late Merovingian Period (the 8th century AD). There is no documented continuity in the Migration Period in between. While the focus of the central place in the Late Roman Iron Age was the farm of Avaldsnes, in the Late Merovingian Period the centre core seems to have shifted to the farms surrounding Bø, further north in the area. Within both periods, the area probably held different economical, ideological and military central functions for a larger region in West Norway.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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