Early Cereal Cultivation at Sámi Settlements: Challenging the Hunter–Herder Paradigm?

Marte Spangen, Anna-Kaisa Salmi, Tiina Äikäs, Ingela Bergman and Greger Hörnberg


It has been generally accepted that cultivation in northernmost Sweden was intrinsically associated with the migration of Nordic farmers into the area and that indigenous Sámi societies followed purely hunter-gatherer or pastoralist subsistence strategies. In this paper, it is argued that the discursive connotations of cultivation have promoted a dichotomy between Sámi and Swedish idioms that are still being reproduced among scholars, as well the general public. Recent palynological findings in pollen records challenge prevailing views on the time, course, and cultural context of the introduction of (cereal) cultivation and call for a redefinition of traditional Sámi subsistence, as well as for a decolonization of the cultivation concept.

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