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Flax in Sweden: the archaeobotanical, archaeological and historical evidence
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies, Environmental Archaeology Lab.
2011 (English)In: Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, ISSN 0939-6314, E-ISSN 1617-6278, Vol. 20, no 6, 509-515 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The earliest recorded evidence of flax being cultivated in Sweden is from the end of the Bronze Age/beginning of the Iron Age. Later, from ca. a.d. 1100 and onwards, flax became an economically important plant in the country, and during the 12th to 16th centuries there was a substantial increase in the Swedish export of linen to other parts of Europe. Alongside its extensive cultivation, a set of cultural traditions and rituals was eventually built up around flax. The objective of this article is to draw an outline of the history of flax cultivation in Sweden and to present the relevant prehistoric and historic source material. A point of discussion will be the different roles that fibre flax and oil flax played over a long period of time and the problem of seed corn import for the development of domestic fibre flax in the country. The study is based on the prehistoric archaeobotanical record, mainly charred seeds from the Swedish Iron Age (ca. 500 b.c.-a.d. 1050), the archaeological record, documentary evidence and folklore.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Springer , 2011. Vol. 20, no 6, 509-515 p.
Keyword [en]
Sweden, Flax cultivation, Archaeobotanical evidence, Historical documents, Flax in rituals
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-50139DOI: 10.1007/s00334-011-0325-zISI: 000296469600002OAI: diva2:460121
Available from: 2011-11-29 Created: 2011-11-28 Last updated: 2011-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Viklund, Karin
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Environmental Archaeology Lab
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