Kontinuitet eller förändring och avbrott?
En studie av boplatser under övergången mellan äldre och yngre järnålder i Västra Götaland
For almost a century, archaeological research has been trying to understand the archaeological and environmental sources and analyses pointing towards an overall decline in e.g. settlements and agriculture in the Migration- and Vendel period in different areas of Scandinavia. Regarding Sweden, this research has mainly been focused on the eastern parts of the country, with house foundations and farming systems being interpreted as abandoned. Early research wanted to see a dramatic chain of events, which has now been oriented towards more conscious, inherent factors. Furthermore, the colder climate in the aftermath of the volcanic eruption during 536-537 AD – which has been observed in environmental data and contemporary written antique sources – is now being emphasised in archaeological research. Instead, this essay focuses on the western part of Sweden, Västra Götlands län, and the settlement site material, to see if it has been subject to a decline in any way. The methods used are both quantitative, a C14-database of archaeological features from settlement sites between 250-650 AD has been created, and qualitative, as four sites are more thoroughly discussed. Microarchaeology and site biography are two theoretical perspectives argued as compatible in the analysis and discussion. The essay concludes that while it is not possible to see a general decline in the material during the Migration period in the created statistics, as there are C14-dated material present in both Roman Iron age and the Migration period, there is an abundance of sites whose activity seems to end around the 400s. However, it is argued that a decline is observed in the statistics ca 520-650 AD and it is put forward that this can possibly be linked to the 536-537 AD event.