WARP30 Abstract/PowerPoint: An Infrastructure Project in Sweden: Alvastra Pile-Dwelling


Nathalie Hinders, Gregory Strand Tanner, and Jackie Taffinder

Abstract: The Alvastra pile-dwelling is a wooden platform in the middle of a mire connected to the mainland by a wooden causeway. The platform is surrounded by a fence or palisade of oak piles driven into the ground. It was built around 3000 BC in the Dags Mosse mire, Alvastra, in the province of Östergöt-land. The wooden platform was the scene of large-scale ritual activities, activities that are focused on the meeting of cultures.

The Alvastra pile-dwelling was excavated the first time from 1909 until 1930 by Otto Frödin. The results of this excavation were published in 2011 by Hans Browall. The second excavation was conducted between 1976 and 1980 by a group of archaeologists from Stockholm University under the leadership of Professor Mats Malmer. The results have, for various reasons, never been published in their entirety. As this is such an important site, the inaccessibility of the material has held research into the cultural relations of the Neolithic back. It is thus of vital importance that the material be made accessible to the archaeological community.

Jackies field mapJackies field photo

Field maps and photograph from Stockholm University excavations

 The pile-dwelling is for several reasons of great archaeological significance, both nationally and inter-nationally:

  • At this place two archaeological cultures are represented – the Pitted Ware Culture and the Funnel Beaker Culture
  • This site is fixed in time. The more than 800 piles used to build this platform can be related to each other by their tree rings. They represent 42 years, a floating chronology, which has also been attached to calendar years by numerous radiocarbon dates
  • Because of the waterlogged conditions in this mire, organic material has been preserved in unusually large amounts – tools of bone and antler, wooden objects apart from the piles in the platform, apples, carbonized grain, tinder mushrooms, human bones and animal bones
  • The non-organic material excavated from the site consists ofpotsherds, flint tools and stone tools of various kinds. It is diverse and very rich, making many different kinds of archaeological research possible. Other research is also possible, for example climatic change. Much ongoing genetic research is based on the human bones but much remains to be done on the other kinds of material

In 2014 the Swedish History Museum and the Department of Archaeology at Stockholm University was granted funding by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences to digitize the assemblages from the 1976-1980 excavations and to construct a research platform for the Alvastra pile-dwelling site, i.e. to provide an infrastructure for research. The project was launched in April 2015 and will work for three years to make the assemblages digitally available and to collect all available resources in a digital platform accessible from the home page of the Swedish History Muse-um. This paper is a presentation of an infrastructure project in Sweden. The paper will describe the project and present what has been done so far.

To see the WARP30 PowerPoint of project click here:  Alvasta Pile Dwellings Sweden

WARP30 Abstract/PowerPoint: Wooden Circles in the Final Jomon Period of Japan

By  Naoto Yamamoto, NewsWARP Asia Coordinator

Nagoya University

Naoto hypothetical restoration of Wooden Circles--Mawaki Site
Hypothetical restoration of Wooden Circles–Mawaki Site, Japan

Abstract:  Wooden circles were constructed during the final Jomon Period in Japan (c. 3300-2500 cal BP). They consist of 6, 8 or 10 poles arranged in a circular configuration of 6 to 8 meters in diameter and have been excavated in the Noto peninsula region and the Toyama bay region, Central Japan. These poles are made of large chestnut (Castanea crenata) logs which were split in half, and their cut surfaces are always oriented outward. A pair of these poles seems to form a gate-like structure. The upper parts of the structure were almost completely decayed and lost; the base of logs were preserved and examined.

Naoto Wooden Circle of the Mawaki site 2004 (c) 2006 Board of Education of Noto Town
Wooden Circle of the Mawaki site 2004 (c) 2006 Board of Education of Noto Town

Although the wood circles have been documented at 16 sites, 12 of them included large pits arranged in a circular configuration without poles or only wooden poles without pits. Direct evidence of wood circles are found at only 5 sites; Chikamori, Mawaki, Yonaizumi, Sakura-machi and Teraji. The wood-en circles date from c. 3000 cal BP to 2540 cal BP. The circles from c. 3000 cal BP were 6 meters in diameter and the diameter of the remaining poles are about 45 centimeters. The examples from c. 2800 cal BP were 8 meters in diameter and the diameter of the remaining poles are about 80 centimeters. The people of the Jomon period were hunter-gather-fishers. According to recent studies, the cultivation of rice in paddy fields was introduced from the Korean peninsula c. 2900 cal BP. Research by Dr. Imamura proposes that it was cooler from c. 2800-2670 cal BP. Based on my original analysis, this paper presents new interpretations of these wooden circle features. Questions regarding the function and reconstruction of these features, including the question of whether they were buildings or ceremonial wood circles, are explored here.

To view Naoto Yamamoto’s Slide Notes and WARP30 PowerPoint click on Naoto Yamamoto’s Slide Notes  and Wooden Circles in the Final Jomon Period of Japan WARP30 PowerPoint

WARP30 Abstract/PowerPoint: Waterlogged Sites in Florida and the Broader Picture

By Barbara Purdy, University of Florida

Purdy ancient canoe
Examining Ancient Florida Dugout Canoe

Florida has many waterlogged sites, some of great antiquity and diversity. In this paper, I show exam-ples from these sites – Windover, Hontoon Island, Lake Monroe, Belle Glade, Fort Centre, Key Marco, canoes – and discuss briefly their significance, contributions to an understanding of Florida’s herit-age, broader connections, and their present condition. Sadly, Florida has swept much of its wetlands heritage under a grid of busy streets.

In late March 2016, international news sources reported the wanton destruction of ancient stone monuments by militant groups. The entire civilized world was aghast. Yet, almost daily, the environmental and cultural heritage entombed in waterlogged archaeological sites is demolished by ambitious dredging, draining, and development projects. The repercussions of this situation are not known or understood by the general public. The ethnographic and ethnologic information lost when water-saturated sites are destroyed far exceeds that of stone sculptures and pillars. I have been involved with and concerned about the invisible heritage of wetlands for fifty years, beginning with the Ozette site on the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington. I challenge WARP members from diverse areas to tell their stories in a way that will bring global attention to this situation. Perhaps we should put together a non-technical, broadly publicized book with lots of pictures aimed at an audi-ence of interested adults and young people, as well as government and business enterprises.

To see Barbara Purdy’s WARP30 PowerPoint click here:  Waterlogged Sites in Florida and the Broader Picture

Purdy historic canoe
Ethnographic Drawing of Florida Dugout Canoe

WARP30 Abstract/PowerPoint: Breaking Waterlogged Ground. Challenging the Dichotomy Between Wet And Dry Land Based on Evidence Gathered From the Waterscapes of Caton Zug (Switzerland)

By Renata Huber, Eda Gross
Amt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie, Direktion des Innern

Dock for logboats
Reconstructed dock for logboats as one possible function

ABSTRACT:  Zug takes its name from an old term for hauling in fishing nets (zuc). Current research underlines the significance of the use of wetland resources at several sites from at least the Neolithic onwards. The excellent preservation conditions at wetland sites allow us to make a distinction between various patterns of resource management at different sites. The abundance and composition of the recorded finds (including animal and plant remains) seem to vary depending on the location, function, and seasonality of each individual site.

At Cham-Eslen, around 4000 BC, a single building on a shallow seems to have been used predominantly for fishing, as we can tell from the discovery of fishing gear and a large amount of fish bones. Trans-disciplinary studies carried out on a large bone midden and its overlying loam layers at the site of Zug-Riedmatt (around 3200 BC) revealed evidence of seasonally differentiated subsistence activities including intense red deer hunting, fishing, gathering, and processing of different wetland species in and around the river delta and lakeshore. The Roman mill at Cham-Hagendorn – preserved in an abandoned riverbed – gives us a glimpse of the use of a watercourse as a source of energy. Finally, a recent excavation in a silted-up small lake called “Bibersee” (beaver lake) yielded a very rich assemblage of fishing gear (traps, fences, a dugout) from the Middle Ages, which fit in well with the site of Steinhausen-Sumpfstrasse West.

When tracing backwaters and wetlands in pre-industrial Canton Zug, a variety of waterscapes emerge. Lakes, deltas, riparian zones, rivers and swamps of different sizes cover a large area of Canton Zug and paint a picture of abundant food resources as well as transport and communication routes and energy sources over the course of time.

To see Renata Huber and Eda Gross’ WARP30 PowerPoint click here:  Breaking Waterlogged Ground from the Waterscapes of Canton Zug, Switzerland

Composite tool with elaborately wrapped handle from Cham-Eslen
Composite tool with elaborately wrapped handle from Cham-Eslen

Summary of WARP’s 30th Anniversary Meeting, June 28th–July 2, 2016

By WARP30 Co-Organizer, Dr. Benjamin Jennings

6-30-16  WARP30 delegates at Banquet jpg
WARP30 Delegates at Conference Banquet, The Great Victoria Hotel, Bradford

As 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the Wetland Archaeology Research Project it seemed a great opportunity to hold the latest iteration of the WARP conference series. Having organised the conference at the University of Bradford with Francesco Menotti and great assistance from Dale Croes, I think we can all agree that we are extremely happy and impressed with the conference, which was a great way to celebrate the Wetland Archaeology Research Project, catch up with old colleagues, and meet up and coming early career researchers.

The conference started well with wonderful introductions from Professors Bryony Coles, Barbara Purdy, and Dale Croes. These three papers set the scene and tone for the following two days of, admittedly quite intensive, but highly interesting and informative presentations covering a wide variety of epochs, subjects from archaeozoology to experimental sailing performance of dugout canoes, and from the northern extremities of Scotland and Canada, to Japan, Australia and New Zealand (see full program published below, under Conferences-Exchanges menu category).

6-29-16  Naoto Yamamoto gives talk on Wooden Circles WARP30  2
Dr. Naoto Yamamoto gives talk on Wooden Monumental Circles found in Jomon sites in Central Japan

More than being a scientific programme, the anniversary meeting was intended to offer an opportunity for introductions, networking, and collaboration. The discussions held throughout the conference certainly indicate that this was achieved, and the NewsWARP site will act as platform to continue contact, interaction, collaboration and presentation.

Conferences and meetings are only successful because of the speakers and delegates who attend; on behalf of the conference organising committee and myself, I extend my sincerest thanks and congratulations to all those who attended WARP30. It was truly a pleasure to see you in Bradford, and without your attendance the anniversary meeting would not have been successful! Not only in terms of celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Wetland Archaeology Research Project, or in celebrating the numerous achievements of Professors Bryony and John Coles, but also in terms of encouraging early career researchers to carry the torch of wetland archaeology in the future.

Finally, as we discussed during the closing session of the conference, it is crucial that we remain in contact and make sure that our research gets out there – one way to do this would be to use a keyword in our chosen method of article archiving, e.g. Academia, etc., using a common theme – how about #WARP ?

Once again, thank you for attending WARP30 and making the conference the success that it was, and looking forward to meeting many of you again at WARP30 +1, wherever it may be.


Benjamin Jennings

University of Bradford