Recently, the Alvastra team went on a visit to Lund, in Southern Sweden, to take part and present our project for a group of Stone Age archaeologists active in that region of the country. While we were there, Nathalie and I spent a day studying artifacts held in the collections of Lund University.
The purpose of our visit was to further familiarize ourselves with Middle Neolithic artifacts, as well as to see if any parallels could be found between the Alvastra material and artifacts from two Scanian sites also with both Pitted Ware and Funnel Beaker Ware cultural components; Jonstorp and Stävie.
Axe cores from Jonstorp. Photo: Greg Tanner, SHMM
The flint material from Jonstorp was both similar and dissimilar to Alvastra. Axe cores, blades/blade fragments and both transverse as well as tanged arrowheads were present. What was very different, however, was the great number of double platform blade cores as well as hundreds of blades produced by these cores, all with very uniform dimensions. This would indicate blade production at the site using these characteristic Pitted Ware cores. This kind of activity, as well as these types of cores are absent in the Alvastra material.
Artifacts from Stävie. Photo: Greg Tanner, SHMM
The flint material from Stävie, however, was very similar to Alvastra, even to the point where I said to Nathalie in jest that “you could basically place a box of this material in the Alvastra section at our museum and I would be hard pressed to notice it didn’t belong”. Again, axe cores, blades, scrapers, and both types of arrowheads dominate the material.
A traditional view of Alvastra is that many of its material cultural components share similarities with multi-component Middle Neolithic sites to the south in Scania. Upon my investigation of the flint material stored in Lund, in many ways this seems to be an accurate comparison. One can wonder what kinds of cultural ties the people at Alvastra had to contemporary groups in Scania.