Nordic Blade Technology Network, Workshop 2011, 24-26 March

Nordic Blade Technology Network, Workshop 2011 – Lithic technology as a clue to the understanding of the postglacial colonisation of Northern Europe

The Nordic Blade Technology Network (NBTN) was established in 2009 as a result of four workshops dedicated to the study of lithic blade technology. The workshops were financed by the Nordic Council (NOS-HS Sekretariatet. Forsknings- og Innovationsstyrelsen) and they took place in Helsinki (June), Uppsala/Falun (August), Oslo (October) and Copenhagen (November) 2009. The network also organized a session at the „Eighth International Conference on the Mesolithic in Europe“, in Santander, Spain (13-17th September 2010) and will now convene for the sixth time in Schleswig at the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology on 24-26th March 2011.

The purpose of this research network is to investigate and rewrite the prehistory of human societies in Fennoscandia from the first human colonisation after the last Ice Age to the beginning of agriculture. Recent archaeological research has revealed traces of pioneers from both the Southern and Eastern European plain that entered Scandinavia starting at 13,000 BC, and moving around and towards the centre of the de-glaciated parts of the region until the land ice disappeared at c. 8,000 BC. The project applies a research methodology developed and shared internationally, that focuses on the production of stone tools as evidence of cultural traditions. The information stored in the waste materials from the production of sharp edge tools (knifes, arrow heads, points, scrapers and other) is large and it can reveal structure of decisions and learning processes, as well as movement of ideas about form and function of the tools. Fennoscandia in this early phase was not divided by any boundaries in the sense of national states of present day Scandinavia. We find it important to adjust our research to this fact and therefore, we look at Scandinavia as one region with its remains to be understood through a common archaeological scientific scheme. Thus, we will be able to describe how people and knowledge travelled during the early history of colonization and lived in the vast area of what is today defined as the Nordic countries.