Infields, Outfields, and Broken Lands

Agricultural intensification and the ordering of space during Danish state formation
  • Tina L. Thurston
Part of the Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation book series (STHE, volume 3)


Even before the advent of the well-known “prime mover” theories of the 20th century (i.e. Wittfogel 1957, Boserup 1965) fired the imaginations of contemporaneous archaeologists, scholars had long been asking questions about the connections between political power, agricultural intensification, and economics. While enthusiasm for these ideas has faded, there is still an active debate about the role of state governments in what archaeologists interpret as intensification attempts, and all the ramifications — social, political and economic — that may be inferred from them. Despite some earlier calls for a deeper look into the causes and consequences of intensification (i.e. Bender 1978), until the 1990s, a fairly simple line was usually drawn, connecting large agricultural “improvement projects” and the idea of top-down directives from authoritarian rulers. Even with a continuing accumulation of contradictory data, many researchers continued to assert that only those who could see from the top of a “pyramid” — both literally and figuratively — could have the perspective to organize and plan such complex undertakings. More recently, several authors have called this into question — while some cases surely illustrate the power of elites to demand or support increased production, in other cases, both labor and organization can be traced to farmers and farming communities, who turn out to be fairly capable of both creating and maintaining large, complicated systems of terracing, irrigation, land reclamation, and other laborious intensification schemes (Erickson 1993, Frederick, this volume, Lansing & Kremer 1993). This has led some researchers to replace the top-down assumption with a generalized skepticism about the extent of elite authority in organizing agricultural intensification.


Central Authority Cultural Landscape Agricultural Intensification Consolidation Phase Village Territory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andersson, I., 1947, Skånes Historia. Stockholm, Norstedt & Sons.Google Scholar
  2. Bender, B., 1978, “Gatherer-hunter to farmer: a social perspective.” World Archaeology 10: 204–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berglund, B. E., Ed., 1991, The cultural landscape During 6000 years in southern Sweden-The Ystad Project. Ecological Bulletins. Copenhagen, Munksgaard International.Google Scholar
  4. Berglund, B., M. Hjelmroos, et al., 1991, The Köpinge Area: Vegetation and landscape through time. The cultural landscape During 6000 years in southern Sweden-The Ystad Project. B. Berglund. Copenhagen, Munksgaard International. 41: 109–112.Google Scholar
  5. Boserup, E., 1965, The Conditions of Agricultural Growth. Chicago, Aldine.Google Scholar
  6. Boserup, E., 1981, Population and Technological Change. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Brink, S., 1984, “Ortnamn som Källa i Historisk Forskning (Placenames as sources for historic research).” Meddelanden från Lunds Universitets Historiska Museum (1985–86): 167–208.Google Scholar
  8. Christiansen, E., 1980, Saxo Grammaticus Danorum Regum Heroumque Historia books X–XVI. Oxford, UK, BAR.Google Scholar
  9. Conelly, W. T., 1994, “Population Pressure, Labor Availability, and Agricultural Disintensification: The Decline of Farmng on Rusinga Island, Kenya.” Human Ecology 22(2): 145–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. de Wet, C., 1993, A Spatial Analysis of Involuntary Community Relocation: A South African Case Study. Anthropological Approaches to Resettlement. Policy Practice, and Theory. M. M. Cernea and S. E. Guggenheim. Boulder, CO, Westview Press: 321–350.Google Scholar
  11. Callmer, J., 1986, “To Stay or To Move: Some Aspects of Settlement Dynamics in Southern Sweden.” Fornvännen (79): 165–172.Google Scholar
  12. Drennan, R., 1988, Household Location and Compact versus Dispersed Settlement in Prehispanic Mesoamerica. Household and community in the Mesoamerican past. R. Wilk and W. Ashmore. Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press.: 273–293.Google Scholar
  13. Eder, J. F., 1991, “Agricultural Intensification and Labor Productivity in a Philippine Vegetable Gardening Community: A Longitudinal Study.” Human Organization 50(3): 245–255.Google Scholar
  14. Emanuelsson, U., 1985, Det Skånska Kulturlandskap (The Scanian Cultural Landscape). Lund, Bokförlaget Signum.Google Scholar
  15. Erickson, C. L., 1993, The Social Organization of Prehispanic Raised Field Agriculture in the Lake Titicaca Basin. Economic Aspects of Water Management in the New World, V. Scarborough and B. Isaac. Greenwich (CT), JAI Press. Supplement 7.: 367–424.Google Scholar
  16. Erickson, C. L., 1999, “Neo-environmental determinism and agrarian “collapse.”.” Antiquity (73): 634–42.Google Scholar
  17. Feinman, G. M., 1991, Demography, surplus and inequality: early political formations in highland Mesoamerica. Chiefdoms: Power Economy and Ideology. T. Earle. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 229–262.Google Scholar
  18. Goffert, W., 1988, The Narrators of Barbarian History (AD 550–800) Jordanes, Gregory of Tours, Bede, and Paul the Deacon. Princeton, Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hansen, U. L., 1987, Romischer Import im Norden (Roman Imports in the North). Copenhagen, Det Kongelige Nordiske Oldskriftselskab.Google Scholar
  20. Hansen, U. L., 1990, “Langdistancehandel i romersk jernalder-fra gaveudveksling til aftalehandel (Longdistance trade in the Roman Iron Age-from gift exchange to administrative trade).” Hikuin 16: 63–88.Google Scholar
  21. Hedeager, L., 1992, Iron Age Societies. From Tribe to State in Northern Europe, 500 BC to AD 700. Oxford, Blackwell.Google Scholar
  22. Hvass, S., 1983, “Vorbasse: the Development of a Settlement through the first Millenium AD.” Journal of Danish Archaeology 2: 127–136.Google Scholar
  23. Jones, G., 1987, A History of the Vikings. Oxford, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Kirch, P. V., 1994, The Wet and the Dry: Irrigation and Agricultural Intensification in Polynesia. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  25. Kousgård-Sorensen, J., 1979, Place Names and Settlement History. Names, Words, and Graves: Early Medieval Settlement. P. Sawyer. University of Leeds Press.Google Scholar
  26. Lansing, J. S. and J. N. Kremer, 1993, “Emergent properties of Balinese water temple networks: Coadaptation on a rugged fitness landscape.” American Anthropologist (95): 97–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Morrison, K. D., 2003, Rethinking Intensifiction. New Approaches to Agricultural Intensification. T. L. Thurston and C. T. Fisher. New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishing.Google Scholar
  28. Müller-Wille, M., 1988, “The transformation of rural society, economy and landscape during the first millennium AD: archaeological and paleobotanical contributions from Northern Germany and Southern Scandinavia.” Geografisk Annaler 70 B: 53–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nancke-Krogh, S., 1982, Af jord er du kommet. Danskerne om jorbrugere gennem 6000 år (From the soil are you come. Danes as farmers through 6000 years. Viborg, Nyt Nordisk Forlag Arnold Busck A/S.Google Scholar
  30. Olsson, E. G. A., 1991, The agrarian landscape of Viking Age farmers at Bjäresjö. The Cultural Landscape during 600 Years in Southern Sweden. The Ystad Project. B. Berglund. Copenhagen, Munksgaard International. 41: 190–193.Google Scholar
  31. Palsson, H. and P. Edwards, 1986, Knytlinga Saga. Odense, Odense University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Petterson, C. B., 2002, “Bott vid en landsväg...” En västskånsk kustbosättning I tre skeden, från vendeltid till vikingatid Märkvärt, Medeltida M. Mogren. Riksantikvarieämbetet Skrifter 43.Google Scholar
  33. Pettersson, C. and T. Brorsson 2002, Bott vid en landsväg...” En västskånsk kustbosättning i tre skeden, från vendeltid till vikingatid. In Märkvärt, medeltida. Arkeologi ur en lång skånsk historia, edited by M. Mogren. Riksantikvarieämbetet Skrifter. vol. 43. Riksantikvarieämbetet, Stockholm.Google Scholar
  34. Porsmose, E., 1988, Middelalder o. 1000–1536 (The Middle Ages 1000–1536). Det danske landsbrugs historie 4.000 f. Kr.-1536 (Danish agricultural history, 4,000 BC to AD 1536). C. Bjørn. Odense.Google Scholar
  35. Pred, A., 1986, Place, Practice and Structure. New York, Barnes & Noble.Google Scholar
  36. Randsborg, K., 1980, The Viking Age in Denmark: the Formation of a State. London, Duckworth.Google Scholar
  37. Ridderspore, M., 1988, “Settlement Site-Village Site: analysis if the toft-structure in some medieval villages and its relation to late Iron Age settlements. A preliminary report and some tentative ideas based on Scanian examples.” Geografisk Annaler 70B(1): 75–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ridderspore, M., 1991, Landscape, land use, and the moving of a manor. A hypothetical reconstruction based on land survey documents from around 1700. The cultural landscape during 6000 years in southern Sweden: the Ystad project. B. Berglund. Copenhagen, Munksgaard International. 41: 195–196.Google Scholar
  39. Saitta, D., 1994, “Agency, Class, and Archaeological Interpretation.” Journal of Anthropological Archaeology (13): 201–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sawyer, B. and P. Sawyer 1993, Medieval Scandinavia. From Conversion to Reformation circa 800–1500. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.Google Scholar
  41. Scott, J. C., 1985, Weapons of the weak: everyday forms of peasant resistance. New Haven, Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Scudder, T. and E. Colson, 1982, From Welfare to Development: A Conceptual Framework for the Analysis of Dislocated People. Involuntary Migration and Resettlement. A. Hansen and A. Oliver-Smith. Boulder, CO, Westview Press: 267–287.Google Scholar
  43. Skinner, W., 1977, Regional Urbanization in Nineteenth Century China. The City in Late Imperial China. W. Skinner. Stanford, Stanford University Press: 211–249.Google Scholar
  44. Söderberg, B., 1994, Bytomts arkeologi i Skåne-några exempel från UV Syds arbetsområde (Village archaeology in Scania-some examples from UV Syd’s area of activity). Arkeologi i Sverige. Andræ. Stockholm, Riksantikvarieämbetet. 3: 41–66.Google Scholar
  45. Stenholm, L., 1986, Önnerup-en skånsk by mellan två revolutioner (Önnerup-a Scanian village between two revolutions). Medeltiden och arkeologin. Festskrift till Erik Cinthio (The Middle Ages and Archaeology. Papers in honor of Erik Cinthio). A. Andrén. Lund, Institute for Medieval Archaeology: 73–86.Google Scholar
  46. Stjernquist, B., 1951, Vä Under Järnålderen. Lund, CWK Gleerup.Google Scholar
  47. Stjernquist, B., 1955, Simris On cultural connections of Scania in the Roman Iron Age. Lund, C.W.K. Gleerups.Google Scholar
  48. Stjernquist, B., Ed., 1981, Gårdelösa: An Iron Age Community in its Natural and Social Setting I Interdisciplinary Studies. Lund, Acta Regiae Societatis Humaniorum Litterarum Lundensis.Google Scholar
  49. Stjernquist, B., 1993a, Gårdlösa. An Iron Age Community in its Natural and Social Setting. II. The archaeological fieldwork, the features, and the finds. Stockholm, Almqvist & Wiksell International.Google Scholar
  50. Stjernquist, B., 1993b, Gårdlösa. An Iron Ae Community in its Natural and Social Setting. III. Chronological, economic and social analyses. Stockholm, Almqvist & Wiksell International.Google Scholar
  51. Stone, G. D. & C. E. Downum, 1999, Non-Boserupian Ecology and Agricultural Risk: Ethnic Politics and Land Control in the Arid Southwest American Anthropologist 101:113–128, 1999.Google Scholar
  52. Strömberg, M., 1980, “The Hagestad Investigation.” Meddelanden från Lunds Universitets Historisk Museum 1979-80: 192–265.Google Scholar
  53. Thun, E. and M. Anglart, 1984, . Stockholm, RAÄ.Google Scholar
  54. Thurston, T. L., 1997, Historians, Prehistorians, and the Tyranny of the Historic Record: Danish State Formation Through Documents and Archaeological Data. New Approaches to Combining the Archaeological and Historical Records. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. S. Kepecs and M. Kolb. 4: 239–263.Google Scholar
  55. Thurston, T., 1999, “The Knowable, The Doable and the Undiscussed: tradition, submission, and the’ becoming’ of rural landscapes in Denmark’s Iron Age.” Antiquity 73(281): 661–671.Google Scholar
  56. Thurston, T. L., 2001, Landscapes of Power, Landscapes of Conflict: State Formation in the Danish Iron Age. New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishing.Google Scholar
  57. Tschan, F., 1959, The History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen. New York, Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Vad Odgaard, B., 1988, Heathland history in western Jutland, Denmark. The cultural landscape: past, present, and future. H. Birks. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Wittfogel, K., 1957, Oriental Despotism. New Haven, Yale University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tina L. Thurston
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyState University of New York at BuffaloBuffalo

Personalised recommendations