Signs of Cultural Diversity in the 13th to 15th Centuries AD Coastal Region of the Bothnian Bay in Northwestern Fennoscandia

Jari-Matti Kuusela


This paper examines archaeological signs indicating cultural diversity between trader societies in the coastal regions of the Bothnian Bay in northwestern Fennoscandia between the 13th and 15th centuries AD by focusing attention on the functioning of the network that connected the societies together. It is observed that within a relatively small bounded region, notable variation specifically in contemporary burial forms is present indicating cultural differences between the local communities. At the same time, archaeological evidence attests to interconnectedness and communication between the communities. It is suggested that the cultural diversity and distinctiveness between the communities was maintained due to the strong gateway position each of them held in regards to the interaction network, which was instrumental in, for example, the functioning of the northern medieval trade. At the same time, this interconnectedness caused certain similarities—specifically in relation to the manner of communication itself—to manifest.

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