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The Plague of Justinian and Other Scourges: An analysis of the Anomalies in the Development of the Iron Age population in Finland

The Plague of Justinian and Other Scourges: An analysis of the Anomalies in the Development of the Iron Age population in Finland

Seger, Tapio

Fornvännen, 77 (1982)

Abstract

In this paper the corpus of excavated and dated Iron Age burial grounds in Finland is quantitatively analyzed with various statislical methods in order to isolate and define the anomalies of burial ground development which probably reflect actual disturbanccs in population growth. Various potential explanations thereof are discussed, and epidemics recorded in historical sources from other parts of Europé — especially the great pandemic of bubonic plague known from the reigns of Justinian I and his surcessors — suggested as probable causes of some of the anomalies.

The present paper is partly based on an earlier study, where the corpus of excavated and dated Iron Age burial grounds in Fin- land was quantitatively analyzed (Seger 1982). Burial grounds were choscn as indicators of Iron Age population development, because only very few dwelling sites of the period are so far known in Finland (Meinander 1980 pp. 7—8).The material, its limitations and results of the statistical calculations were presented in detail in the previous study.

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