Northern Scandinavia is and has always been a heterogeneous cultural landscape in contradiction to what may be thought in modern times. The Norsemen in northern Norway in the Late Iron Age (c.800-1050 AD), contemporary to the Sámi and the Kvaens, the Birkarlar from the Middle Ages and the new settlers in historic times are examples of different cultural economies with different economic subsistence’s.
With the mean of stable isotope analysis (δ13C, δ15N, δ34S, δ18O and 86/87Sr) on both human and animal skeletal remains I am aiming at tracing differences and similarities between and within different cultural economies. What does the collagen tell us about dietary patterns? Are there any differences between smaller and larger cultural economies? Can and should results from diet and mobility patterns be used in an ethical discussion on bioarchaeology and identity issues? And what can the reindeer and its domestication tell us as about the economies? These are some of the questions that I am and will be addressing in my thesis.
Results from a pilote study on reindeer isotopes have been indicating a possible way to trace different cultural economies with strong cultural connection to the reindeer. According to archaeological facts and the few historic written sources mentioning Lapland and northern Scandinavian cultural economies I am expecting differences between sites studied. There is some cross-cultural evidence at certain of the sites studied; hence, isotope results are expected to have cross-cultural tendencies.