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3 Economic Specialization and Ethnic Consolidation: Northern Hunting Societies in the Iron Age and Early Middle Ages

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author looks closer at development in the Sámi areas through the Iron Age and the Early Middle Ages. The author captures some of the regional variation that characterized the hunter-­gatherer communities and their relations with surrounding ethnic groups. Before examining the different processes within the Sámi area during the Iron Age and the Early Middle Ages, the author also looks at the neighboring societies, mainly the Germanic chieftaincies in northern Scandinavia, and considers the nature of their contacts with the Sámi. The Viking Age and the Early Middle Ages were periods during which the hunting culture became 'visible' once more in the archaeological material. The economic and political changes in the east and the west, along with the conversion of Norse society to Christianity, meant that the Sámi found themselves in a far more economically and culturally stressed situation than had previously been the case.

Keywords: Early Middle Ages; Germanic chieftaincies; hunter-­gatherer communities; Iron Age; Norse society; Sámi



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