Culture Contact, Ethnicity and Food Practices of Coastal Finnmark, Norway (1200 to 1600 A.D.)

The Abstract and the PDF files have been kindly provided by Colin Amundsen who retains copyright. Colin can can be contacted by email.

Colin P. Amundsen (2008) Culture Contact, Ethnicity and Food Practices of Coastal Finnmark, Norway (1200 to 1600 A.D.). The City University of New York, Unpublished PhD Thesis. 473 pp.


One of the consequences of early commercial fishing, with regard to Norway, was the partial influence upon the Norwegian state to expand its regional borders and influence further north. Although this was out of economic necessity it was not the only reason for the establishment of permanent settlements, in the form of fishing villages, along the coast of Finnmark. One of the outcomes of this movement was a more visible Norwegian presence in the Far North which brought with it more direct contact with the local indigenous population, the Saami, as well as more inflammatory contacts with tribal peoples (Karelian) from present day Northwest Russia who were in the region to trade and to collect tribute on the behalf of the Principality of Novgorod. This period of Finnmark's historical past is characterized as a high point of stately hegemonic desires, both from the west and the east, which at times was considerably hostile. However, there were periods of economic cooperation in the form of trade between Norwegian, Saami and Russian/Karelian. It is during this period that unique structures appear along the coast, known as multi-room houses, which have remained enigmatic monuments within north Norwegian archaeology. It is from these sites, and under the above historical context, that the material presented in this dissertation originated. Special attention will focus upon the ichthyological remains with an in-depth discussion devoted to the multiple butchery styles observed which are believed to be ethnically prescribed practices outside of what has been observed thus far in Northern Norway or the North Atlantic.

Thesis (PDF file)