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Elites, networks and the Finnish connection in Birka

Gustin, Ingrid LU (2015) In Aspects of Viking Age Urbanism
Abstract
In research on Birka strong focus has since long been directed towards long-distance contacts with Western as well with and Northeastern Europe (todays Russia, Belarus and Ukraine). The great attention paid to west- and east European contacts has likely contributed to that contacts with Finland have fallen out of the discussions. However as seen from studies of the pottery in Birka the Baltic Finnish ware constitute the second largest group when it comes to imports to the town. In the graves on Björkö there are finds of this type of ware as well as of dress details deriving from or showing heavy influence from the Finnish mainland. Some of these finds derive from the most lavishly furnished chamber graves in Birka, indicating that the... (More)
In research on Birka strong focus has since long been directed towards long-distance contacts with Western as well with and Northeastern Europe (todays Russia, Belarus and Ukraine). The great attention paid to west- and east European contacts has likely contributed to that contacts with Finland have fallen out of the discussions. However as seen from studies of the pottery in Birka the Baltic Finnish ware constitute the second largest group when it comes to imports to the town. In the graves on Björkö there are finds of this type of ware as well as of dress details deriving from or showing heavy influence from the Finnish mainland. Some of these finds derive from the most lavishly furnished chamber graves in Birka, indicating that the elite in the town were part of a network that was directly or indirectly connected to groups on the Finnish mainland. Besides Baltic Finnish pottery or dress details from Finland these graves also contained objects such as weights, scales and Islamic coins – items indicating an affiliation to groups involved in the sale and exchange of goods. Finds of standardized weights in south western Finland is a clear indication that this region was part of a supra regional network in the Viking Age just like Birka. Objects from Finland found in Birka on one hand and objects from Scandinavian and central Sweden found in Finland on the other confirm that there has been a close connection between the Mälaren region and south western Finland. Probably products such as furs distributed by the elite in Vakka Suomi attracted groups in eastern Sweden and Birka. However the elite in Birka might also have had other reasons for maintaining contacts with groups in south western Finland. People in south western Finland were linked to routes and networks spanning much further east and by extension also to the riches of the Caliphate. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
submitted
subject
keywords
Trade, Finland, the Mälaren Valley, Birka, Archaeology, long-distance contacts, The Viking Age, Networks, Furs
in
Aspects of Viking Age Urbanism
editor
Hedenstierna-Jonson, Charlotte
publisher
Statens historiska museum
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d8317d5e-273b-4b6a-b11e-d33b0c2d3e37 (old id 4279638)
date added to LUP
2014-01-31 11:18:19
date last changed
2017-01-25 16:21:11
@inbook{d8317d5e-273b-4b6a-b11e-d33b0c2d3e37,
  abstract     = {In research on Birka strong focus has since long been directed towards long-distance contacts with Western as well with and Northeastern Europe (todays Russia, Belarus and Ukraine). The great attention paid to west- and east European contacts has likely contributed to that contacts with Finland have fallen out of the discussions. However as seen from studies of the pottery in Birka the Baltic Finnish ware constitute the second largest group when it comes to imports to the town. In the graves on Björkö there are finds of this type of ware as well as of dress details deriving from or showing heavy influence from the Finnish mainland. Some of these finds derive from the most lavishly furnished chamber graves in Birka, indicating that the elite in the town were part of a network that was directly or indirectly connected to groups on the Finnish mainland. Besides Baltic Finnish pottery or dress details from Finland these graves also contained objects such as weights, scales and Islamic coins – items indicating an affiliation to groups involved in the sale and exchange of goods. Finds of standardized weights in south western Finland is a clear indication that this region was part of a supra regional network in the Viking Age just like Birka. Objects from Finland found in Birka on one hand and objects from Scandinavian and central Sweden found in Finland on the other confirm that there has been a close connection between the Mälaren region and south western Finland. Probably products such as furs distributed by the elite in Vakka Suomi attracted groups in eastern Sweden and Birka. However the elite in Birka might also have had other reasons for maintaining contacts with groups in south western Finland. People in south western Finland were linked to routes and networks spanning much further east and by extension also to the riches of the Caliphate.},
  author       = {Gustin, Ingrid},
  editor       = {Hedenstierna-Jonson, Charlotte},
  keyword      = {Trade,Finland,the Mälaren Valley,Birka,Archaeology,long-distance contacts,The Viking Age,Networks,Furs},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Statens historiska museum},
  series       = {Aspects of Viking Age Urbanism},
  title        = {Elites, networks and the Finnish connection in Birka},
  year         = {2015},
}