|17 April 2018
Skilled potters travelled around the Baltic nearly 5000 years ago
Corded Ware pottery is an innovation over earlier Stone Age pottery, mixing broken pottery with the clay. Researchers at the University of Helsinki have now mapped the routes of pottery and people representing the late Neolithic Corded Ware Culture complex into the Nordic countries circa 2900-2300 BCE, examining pottery from 24 archaeological sites to determine the geochemical composition and geological origin of Corded Ware pottery.
Traditionally, Swedish archaeologists have assumed that Corded Ware pottery arrived from the south. However it now seems clear that both pottery and people belonging to this culture arrived first in Eastern Sweden from Finland and Estonia, and this was not a one-way one-time event; there were many active contacts in all directions across the Baltic Sea during the period.
The researchers found that Finland, Estonia, and Sweden had at least five different manufacturing areas for Corded Ware pottery which engaged in active trade across the Baltic Sea approximately 5000 years ago. Haeme in Southern Finland had a manufacturing hub of Corded Ware pottery which can be described as quasi-industrial in Neolithic terms, and spread its products along the Finnish coast and into Estonia.
In traditional societies women usually make the pottery. Corded Ware burials show that females were more likely to receive pottery as burial gifts, and analyses from European cemeteries show that the women were more likely to relocate during their lifetime. The study proposes that skilled female artisans arrived in Sweden particularly from Estonia and Finland, as both the geochemical origin and cultural links of the imported pottery indicates a connection to the region. The exchange network also suggests that even during the Stone Age, the Baltic Sea was less an obstacle and more a connection between communities.
Edited from EurekAlert! (22 March 2018)
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