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Man and Society – Society and Man

The section ‘Man and Society – Society and Man’ deals with a large number of different, archaeologically identifiable, individuals and groups that fall within the range of the ZBSA’s geographical and chronological remit. However, these have to be considered against the background of certain specific features of the area under study.

On the one hand, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea constitute important communication routes and networks; on the other hand, they also structure and circumscribe settlement areas. The result has been the formation of various different geographical settlement and activity units. The geography, the location on the periphery of the areas of central and southern Europe that are so often thought to be sources of inspiration, and the special maritime-communications situation, have thus created specific social structures and constraints. For example, unlike the regions of western, central and eastern Europe to the south, scarce or inexistent metal-ore deposits are the reason for the permanent need to ensure imports of raw materials, which are then distributed within the area under study and used to demonstrate social status. Moreover, in the Baltic and Scandinavian areas, cultural –  and therefore also social – continuity can be traced over what are often considerable periods of time. It is therefore possible to obtain insights into patterns of social behaviour over large areas and long time spans.

Nydam boat new exhibition

The aim of this section is to identify, describe and analyse these patterns with the help of models and comparisons. For this purpose, the approaches used in sociological as well as epistemological and communication studies are taken into account when discussing the archaeological results. Parallel questions always have to be asked regarding the relationship between man and society and vice versa: how does individual behaviour influence social situations, and how do social situations determine the way individuals act in our study area?

Estonian burial

A Stone Age quadruple burial from Veibri, Estonia. (Drawing K. Roog​, photo: M. Tõrv).

This section concentrates on descriptions and analyses of communities, of the whole range of their constituent individuals, their internal organisation and their interaction with other groups. The transformation, continuity and termination of social behavioural patterns, adaptation processes in neighbouring societies and the evolution or dissolution of social units are also discussed.

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