Denmark before the Vikings

By Glyn Daniel; Ole Klindt-Jensen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
The Neolithic

THE COMING OF AGRICULTURE

AT TIME WHEN SCANDINAVIA was still inhabited by a population of hunters and fishers, a new people was spreading from the South and the South-east over Central and Western Europe. On the rich and fertile loess soil of this area we find the first European agricultural communities whose settlement sites have produced the distinctive rounded pottery with linear decoration, that gives the Bandkeramik culture its name. These settlement sites yield traces of long rectangular houses, associated with smaller huts which may be interpreted as granaries. From the animal remains found on such sites we know that the first farmers had domesticated the cow, pig and sheep and had begun to cultivate barley and the primitive wheats, einkom and emmer. Traces are also found of the agricultural implements used by these people, simple saddle querns for grinding corn and axe-like blades of hoes with traces of wear along one side and at one end.

Agriculture had spread from the Middle East where, long before the advent of the Bandkeramik culture in Europe, wild plants had been selected and systematically cultivated in fields near the settlement. With the domestication of animals and the development of agriculture a new economy was created which exploited nature in a revolutionary fashion. The Carbon 14 dating method has provided us with reasonably accurate dates for the first appearance and development of agriculture in the Western Hemisphere. Thus the earliest agricultural settlement in the Elburz Mountains, by the Caspian Sea, is dated to about 5800 B.C.; in Mesopotamia, the Jarmo culture is dated to about 4700 B.C.; the Bandkeramik settlement near Magdeburg in Germany dates from about 4200 B.C.; while the earliest known

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Denmark before the Vikings
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Illustrations 6
  • Foreword 9
  • Introduction 11
  • Chapter I - The Palaeolithic 14
  • Chapter II - The Mesolithic 20
  • Chapter III - The Neolithic 34
  • Chapter IV - The Bronze Age 58
  • Chapter V - The Pre-Roman Iron Age 81
  • Chapter VI - The Roman Iron Age 101
  • Chapter VII - The Dark Age 119
  • Chapter VIII - The Prehistoric Landscape 132
  • Chapter IX - Danefæ, Excavations and Collections 139
  • Bibliography 144
  • The Plates 147
  • Notes on the Plates 197
  • Index 205
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