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Open access, nodal points, and central places. Maritime communication and locational principles for costal sites in South Scandinavia, 400-1200 AD

Open access, nodal points, and central places. Maritime communication and locational principles for costal sites in South Scandinavia, 400-1200 AD

By Soren M. Sindbaek

Estonian Journal of Archaeology, Vol 13:2 (2010)

Introduction: The sea was treasured by Late Iron Age and Early Medieval Scandinavians for many reasons. In addition to supplying fishery and other coastal resources, it was the principal conduit of regional and long-distance communication. Through the period c. AD 400ñ1200 various sites emerge or disappear as centres of communication and exchange. The fate of individual sites is often explained as an effect of the changing fortunes of political centres. Communication, however, is a reality of its own. This paper argues that over the centuries, the choice of location for sites concerned with long-distance traffic follows a pattern, which is closely related to changing modes of communication and social relations, rather than mere political shifts. Analysing the location of three evidently important sites, it asks what form of communication made just these positions particularly attractive at a particular period of time.

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