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We invite you to join us for a Norwegian sketch of. The program of music and commentary produced from materials provided by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Heard on this program of the music by your lake Rama Johansson. And a documentary called The Birth of a society. The Norwegian broadcasting orchestra opens this program with the moonlight sleigh ride by Johansson conducting Oyvind bad. Yeah both. The book. The book. The
book. The book. The book. America. The book. Abut. The book. Will. The Be.
The big. Good luck.
On. A little. Nightly. The Norwegian broadcasting orchestra performing your son's moonlight sleigh ride. Continuing with a Norwegian sketch is the third in a series of documentaries on the search for Norway's past the birth of a society in the last programme about agriculture and trade in Illinois.
We spoke about the golden period of the Bronze Age. We spoke of rock carvings and grave mounds of vines of luxury articles made of bronze and gold of wealth and contact with foreign lands. But so far we've had nothing about the houses people lived in. Surely we are past the period of tents and caves and should perhaps begin to see the outline of a society in no way. Let us put the question to one who has made the subject have a field of study curator million mark. How far back do we have to go. Would you say before we can begin to speak of some sort of a society here in Norway there must have been some kind of society in the Bronze Age. But in fact we know very little about it. Talking about the Bronze Age in our last program curator Miller said that the building of the enormous grave mounds pointed towards some organized and joined effort and he suggested a society with
chieftain saw perhaps leading families at the head. What would you say about that. Yes that's obviously right. It must be that the great family with several generations living together. But it is to the farm. We must I suppose to find the root of the fast organized society the farmstead has always been very much in the center here. Yes and we have got some room and so far in no way. But they all come from one part of the country. The southwestern part and are from a limited period. Just as a person from an age and the main part of them from the migration period is there must have been farms earlier and that we have to have them in
Denmark and are of the same type. No region are an age houses more or less. We can point to certain kind of home that must have been more or less the same more or less over the Scandinavian countries. But the Norwegian ones. For them not only does the Danish ones. You said that very few have been found. Why is that do you think that we have so very few relics of houses. Well there are several reasons. Perhaps it was when I believed good that there won't be much left of them. They know once we have their own stone built and you can see the mobo ground the wooden houses will be seen and then possibly they have modern farms still standing in the same places as the old
ones and I have of course ring so the old ones. The houses built of stone and they are the ones which we still have remnants of and that is why we find most of them in southwestern Norway I suppose. Yes we believe in you so there's very little forest in southwest and that's why they had to build their houses so St.. I'm so once again we must make our way to the Yad in this strict in southwestern Norway where curator Aardman Meredith will guide us in our search for an always past for the first signs of an organized community living. And it was indeed a fascinating place he took us to among grassy hills overlooking the open land beneath. We saw the remnants of an old old settlement now only a grassy toughs remained but we could clearly see the contours of a circular whirling with an a thing in
one end. And within this wall an open courtyard where 16 to 18 houses had been grouped in a circle around a central mound and the mound was thought to have been an offering place. This settlement has been something of a mystery to know which an archaeologist and there have been several theories on the functions of this closed settlements there are only about a handful of this type in the whole of Norway. Let's hear what curator M. Europe thinks about the question. It is my opinion that this was a settlement of farmers. Combined with hunting and fishing. I believe that they did the different tasks farming hunting fishing and so on. Collectively probably under the leadership of the elders. They must have had quite large
areas around this settlement at their disposal. Do we know what the houses were like in the youngest face or settlement the houses were constructed of stone built walls with a low turf covered roof the roof supported by wooden pillars. In the middle of the houses we find fireplaces and the smoke must have its way out through a hole in the roof. And what about the finds. Well. The most important group of find is pottery also in the houses. We have also got some tools to iron and other utensils used in the work of our men and women such as spinning wheels usually of soapstone. Now I was so Arden and women's ornament of bronze
silver and gold the pottery is very important because both form and decoration changes very often and therefore we can date. There were US layers of the settlement fairly exact if you talk about the last of the settlement. Does that mean that the new houses were built over the sites of the old yes we can follow the evolution of the settlement in several stages with houses built upon the underlying ones. These being burned down. I would like to mention that only the latest phase seems to have don't build walls but that the older ones are built of timber. For how long was this settlement inhabited though certain months seems to have started in this closed
around the birth of Christ and lasted for about 400 years. The cultural layers are more than one meter thick and that means in my opinion at least constant settlement throughout the whole period. So much for the village settlement. Much more numerous are the so-called single farm settlements one farm surrounded by fields and also system which is the common one in Norway today too. We went with curator Miller up top or looked up the remnants of such a single farm and asked them how the settlement worked. Here we have two houses one 64 metre long and the other about 30 meters. Both of them are about six meters brought the bigger one is Dave why did in five separate rooms all with their own
entrances and no communication between them. Both Houses were used well in places except for one tree in the big house meant for cattle. In all the rooms both private places and finds show that people lived here. There are very large these houses. Was this really one single farm. Yes we suppose so but we must remember that it is family property. We had two or maybe three going to reasons living together. In the village settlement we have just seen the fields where collectively farmed and the land stretched far up from the central village. Was that the same here. No here the system is quite different. Some 80000 square
meters of land around the houses. Is fenced in by I think a stone fence. This semicircular fence bends inwards to the houses so that the cattle grazed outside the fence could read the house without passing the cutaway to the area tries to round the houses. We suppose. They were able to secure their supply of crops within the area near to the house and in this area we also can see traces of cultivation in hundreds of small stone heaps which must have been cleared and cleaned out of the line and also in mosques and who are really growing and trying to do they on the whole different from theirs at the village settlement and no not very much in this
settlement. The finds are also dominated by lots of pottery. But there is more embodied collection of farming tools for instance stone for grinding corn. What period are we in now. Still in the Iron Age. Yes this farm was built in the middle of the fast century and inhabited for a little more than 200 hundred years. When it again was abandoned We call this migration period. What about that religious life halfway any traces of offering self burial customs around the farm of this type. We usually find a lot of grey mounds which are clearly connected with the farm. The farms from the finds from the graves complete the picture both with regard to everyday tools and
utensils and personal belongings. Some of the weapons found in these graves have been purposely destroyed probably because the living wanted to insure themselves against sharply weaponed ghost in case it should be disturbed in its grave. Since such a great number of farms of this type are abandoned ground about this eccentric does that mean that the whole area was abandoned and the people migrated. Or do we have a continuation of settlement. Of course we have continuation but these hundreds of abandoned farms of the migration period re present a problem. We do not know why they were left but it was too early for the migration to the islands in the north. Which took place about 800. For some unknown reason these forms were no longer found few to worry
about it is probable that they settle down somewhere in the neighborhood. We've spent some time out in the coastal fjord district of Southwest and no way. Now we must make our way to the inland. For in this period the migration period we have a marked change in settlements on the one hand we have the many abandoned farms of which great Imma little spoke and at the same time we can trace the growth and expansion from the coastal areas up the main valleys of southeastern Norway and right up to the mountain Highland curator Edlin Markham's whom we spoke to in the beginning of this program has found and excavated a migration period house in an isolated mountain area. We would have liked to go up that but the snow lies deep for the greater part of the year. There is nothing to be
seen so we've settled instead with pictures and science and slides around us and curator mountains to tell us of how wet and off the results it has brought. Where do we go from here. You have to match us or we go after the south eastern part of the herd on them or at the north northern end of the lake nurse from a little more than 100 meters about sea level here I have actually found a house which was not really visible above it was a wooden house and with the kind of pellets same homes which were there were not straight. They were blowing out and the house was wider in the middle. And of course this was not the kind of building that I have invented up there. We know it must have been quite common besides the stone houses and we also know it from later periods in Scandinavia amongst others from. Wrong. Where we have
it in the Viking age and also from the Viking forts in Denmark tell a boy like the other ones so this must have been quite a common type of house in Norway in the latest centuries or they are in the age. And we have the situation then that this house which was fairly typical the only remnants we have of it is up here in this isolated mountain district. Yes. Perhaps it's easier to find them in the isolated districts the house is situated on the plain by the river. And it's right there in the mountains. And one day while we were excavating the little herd of reindeer came right down to the other side of the river. For unfortunately I turned and run away when they caught sight of us. But this means that we are
in there. In a place where you know even today very easily can go reindeer hunting. And is that one of the reasons why people settled up here do you think. Yes outside or outside the house there was a little heap. Boone's that was everything I had been throwing out to their house and they contain lots o reindeer bones was mostly air in there and very little. Boone So House and other team and we've we've had of course off our mountain settlements in the Stone Age. But this is a much more advanced stage of course what period all when we are in the end of the migration period. I mean the House has been inhabited from about five hundred and fifty and two little after 600.
But the stone age settlements they were not all year round settlements what about this is their seasonal dwelling place saw. No I think it's a permanent oiling and that is partly because the house is fairly large. It's about 11 metres long and 5 to 6 metres behind and there was quite a lot to find in this house which we would not expect to find in the seasonal dwelling amongst other things. Over quite a few assurance ports the very finest pottery it was and even her little fragment of a block must be. And that's it. That's the kind of thing said don't carry to the mountains for just a short time. People have lived in this inland isolated invent district in the period just before the Viking age and during the
Viking period too. Is there anything in this settlement which can point towards the out burst of activity of the Viking age. Yes and I thought so. Not only Merced on but even other communities of this kind are in the mountains. One of them mainly the one most important ways of living was iron making in the prehistoric Norway the only way or making I was from the bog or so and the best of it or so you found in the mountain districts everywhere in Merced you find heaps of iron slag and moving house. There was also lots of tools of every kind and a few pieces of slag. So one of the reasons why people moved here perhaps was that he had
wanted to produce on. Yes it obviously was and they didn't only produce what I needed and sales also made I'm just so used to other parts of the country where you couldn't make art. So in fact we have perhaps yeah. The beginnings of if not industrial at least a trading community. Yes there is there have not been able to go serious up here and I suppose cereals and salt have been very important things for them to attain and they have got to partly at least in the extremes for Iran and with the home production of ion in the inland district of Norway. We have come to one of the most important preconditions for the outburst of the Viking age.
You have been listening to the birth of a society produced by Google Graus Dawa of radio Norway. Now a composition called a golden orchid by golly crammer Johansson the Norwegian broadcasting orchestras conducted by or even bet the OS. Through. The
thing. That was a golden orchid composed by Ollie Carmel Johansson
concluding this program of Norwegian sketches. Norwegian broadcasting orchestra was on her direction of movement. Whose programme was prepared at the University of Michigan by Maryann. This is Brett Hein please. Join us again next week. This is NPR. When I finish your educational radio network.
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Norwegian Sketches
Episode Number
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
Norwegian Sketches is a National Educational Radio Network program prepared by the University of Michigan . Each episode features a unique selection of music and commentary from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Musical selections are performed by the Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra, and commentaries include documentaries, lectures, and readings from Radio Norway.
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Host: Hindley, Fred
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Producing Organization: Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-27-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00
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