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The Use of Amber in the Scandinavian Stone Age

Conference contribution
Authors Tony Axelsson
Anders Strinnholm
Published in From Funeral Monuments to Household Pottery. Current advances in Funnel Beaker Culture (TRB/TBK) research: Proceedings of the Borger Meetings 2009, The Netherlands edited by J. A. Bakker, S. B. C. Bloo and M. K. Dütting.
Volume BAR S2474 2013
Pages 143-150
ISBN 9781407310855
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Historical Studies
Pages 143-150
Language en
Keywords Amber, material culture, neolithic, megaliths
Subject categories History and Archaeology, Archaeology, Archaeology, North European


The use of amber along all other forms of material culture undergoes changes over time. These changes and its shifting role during the Stone Age in Scandinavia are our main focus in this paper. When discussing Neolithic amber beads from hoards or megaliths it is important to remember that the use of amber beads are not a Neolithic innovation as well as the practice differs between regions. Amber, as is well known, cannot be dated. Consequently, based on the various contexts of finds, it is only possible to roughly classify the different objects/shapes chronologically. This means that, as sketched out here, our endeavours to analyse changes in importance and use are, of necessity, relatively rough and simplified. Amber was, and still is, naturally available only in limited areas along the shorelines of Southern Scandinavia and the East Baltic region. This means that large parts of the area didn’t have direct access to the sources and the amber therefore must have been obtained by trade and/or barter. That is the case for Falbygden with its large concentration of megaliths and Neolithic settlements.

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