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The coastal courtyard-sites in Norway from the 1st millenium AD

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  • Economics
  • Political Science


Along the western coast of Norway, especially in the North, there is a special type of site usually referred to as the seat of a chieftain. They consist of a group of dwelling houses arranged around a circular or oval courtyard and they are usually situated on the edge of cultural land. The author considers these sites to be an expression of a well developed chieftainship system functioning as judicial administrative and economic centers and as cult sites. Chieftains in N. Norway had access to enormous natural resources, fishing and hunting, and from later Roman or early Migration period they seem to have imposed on the Finns annual taxes, which for the greater part consisted of furs and skins. This accumulation of wealth gave reason for political power, social status and trade.

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