Seriation Studies

Migration Period

Using the catalogue in B nermans Die Völkerwanderungszeit Gotlands, Stockholm 1935 a sample from systematicly done excavations was tabulated as below.

Reordering both the rows and the columns in the order of the outhermost and after some iterations the following ordered seriation can be seen:

Other ways of defining the artefacts and other source criticism result in other seriations. These can be compared, like the one based on U Näsmans material in: Grundvalen för en tudelning av äldre germansk jänålder, Tor 1970-1971, Uppsala 1971. See Tabell 4. Other ways of ordering, like using the next outhermost get another result, even if it is done systematic, see tabell 5:

Bronze Age

The catalogue in Montelius treatease from 1885 about the Scandinavian Bronze Age was seriated. Period 1 got no usable combination but the other periods followed nicely as can be seen from the markings of periods upptil and to the right.

A few dendrodated oak-cist are included: on row 6 Muldhöj 1365 bC, on row 8 Borum Eshöj 1344 bC, on row 18 Store Kongehöj 1385 bC and on row 22 Trindhöj B 1347 bC.(Dates from Randsborg o Christensen 2006.)

Montelius first divided the material in an older bronze age and a younger. Then each period was divided in a typical period and one that led upp to it and one later part. Absolute chronology he partly got from Egyptian murals. So he could divide the bronze age in 6 periods of 200 years each. Later this was reworked, partly as can be seen in the diagram of Magnus Holmquist made ca 1970.

Today the periods can be given timespans with the help of 14C, al dates bC:

II 1500 - 1300

III 1300 - 1100

IV 1100 -920

V 950 - 800

VI 800 - 520

See: K Hornstrup et al 2012.


I 1750 - 1500

II 1500 - 1300

III 1300 - 1100

IV 1100 - 920

V 920 - 720

VI 720 - 550

See: Olsen et al 2011, used by Bertilsson 2018.

The different types as seen by Montelius and in the seriation order are partly shown in the working paper below:

Bronze age cairns are largest when most of them were bild as is shown below for the cairns from Gotland, Södermanland and Östergötland. Data from Oldeberg 1974. Sizes in metres, from 10 meters on.

The cairns with a depression, kraterrösen, have the largest depression in the highest cairns, as shown below. The logaritms of the sizes are resized/compared to the largest values who are given the value 1.0. Values from a list given by Nilsson.


U Bertilsson 2018: Chapter 7. In the Beginning There Was the Spear:, In: Prehistoric Warfare and Violence Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, Cham.

KM Hornstrup, J Olsen, J Heinemeier, H Thrane o P Bennike 2012: A new absolute danish Bronze Age Chronology, In: Acta Archaeologica vol 83, Oxford.

O Montelius 1885: Om tidsbestämning inom bronsåldern med särskildt afseende på Skandinavien, Kungl. Vitterhets- historie- och antikvitetsakademiens handlingar, 30 = N.F. 10, Stockholm.

PE Nilsson 1981. Om bronsåldersgravars läge på Gotland. Stencil, Stockholm.

A Oldeberg 1974: Die ältere Metallzeit in Schweden I, Stockholm.

J Olsen, KM Hornstrup, J Heinemeier o P Bennike 2011: Chronology of the Dqanish Bronze Age Based on 14C Dating of Cremated Bone Remains. The American Journal of Science 53(2).

K Randsborg o K Christensen, 2006,Bronze Age Oak-Coffin Graves, Köbenhavn.


Birka Graves by Computer 1978.

The metod of seriation isw given in two version, one in text and another in the table. There are differensen between them and my present code is a little different from both.

The coin datings can be summarized on a logarthmical paper, just to indicate a growing population. Desertion of the town is set to after the year 1000. The beginning to about 780. In the seriation 750 is to early.

The earliest burials are like those on ordianry farms, with few artefacts. Traditionaly the bjärköarätt was promulgated by king Björn III in 808. After that the rich chamber graves appear.

There is no horisontal chronology around the town. The different grave monuments get tighter and tighter packed as if on different small farm grave fields. At Borg there is a remarkable increase in the later part of the 900´s.

The relative position of the different grave finds in the seriation are summarized in the work sheets below:

The relative position of the different artefacts on the plates in the Tafeln from 1940 are shown on the work sheet below. Tentatively artefacts in the same find combination date each other, all in groups of 10 positions:


Arbman, H 1940 Birka : Untersuchungen und Studien. 1, Die Gräber : Tafeln, Stockholm : Vitterhets-, historie- och antikvitetsakad.

Arbman, H 1943 Birka : Untersuchungen und Studien. 1, Die Gräber : Text, Stockholm : Vitterhets-, historie- och antikvitetsakad.

Saers, J 1978 Birka Graves by Computer. Norwegian archaeological review 1978(11:2), p. 84-91.


Mode, the always changing dress fashion is something pecular to Europe. Already in the stone age the danish flint stone axes can be dated within a generation. Small changes in their form occur all the time and can be learned. In roman times it is taken for granted that with time the basins change between the Östland and the Westland form. In sumerian times they are always the same, millenium after millenium. Real stable stability in the sumerian culture as in most of the world. In Europe it is more the stability of a bicycle, always swinging around the midpoint. The hemline or skirt length has a period of ca 105 years, 3 x 35 years. Short 1640, 1740, 1860 etc. (JK1940,122). The dress forms are bell-shaped 1725 - 1759, back-fullnes 1760 - 1795, tubular 1796 - 1829 and then again bell-formed 1830 - 1867, back-f and then tubular 1900 - 1937 ( FM 1973,121).


FM: 1973 Fashion marketing : an anthology of view-points and perspectives / edited by Gordon Wills and David Midgley

JK: 1940 J Richardson o AL Kroeber Three Centuries of women´s dress fashion. A Quatititavie analysis, Berkeley

Jozef Saers