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Immigrants to Denmark 0 CE

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  • tgpedersen
    from Albrectsen: Fynske Jernaldergrave, vol. II Ældre Romersk Jernalder VI Conclusion ... Similarities and differences can be demonstrated between the
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      from Albrectsen: Fynske Jernaldergrave, vol. II Ældre Romersk
      Jernalder

      "
      VI Conclusion

      ...

      Similarities and differences can be demonstrated between the
      different parts of the country. It is obvious, as shown above, that
      Fyn stands apart, bound to the rest of the country by common
      features, but as a crossing point for western and eastern influences
      it forms a separate culture province, in some respects however with a
      close bond to South Jutland.

      It has often been claimed, that the diverseness of the archaeological
      material in the separate parts of the country must reflect the fact
      that several tribal nations in Early Roman Iron Age have lived
      separately in the separate regions within the borders of Denmark. It
      could then be imagined that also the Fyn and its archipelago has been
      the home of a separate population.

      With that one reaches the question of who were the carriers of the
      culture of the Early Roman Iron Age [0-200 CE] on Fyn. The safest
      foundation for answering this important question would be a study of
      skeleton finds from the graves, but here unfortunately a linr is
      drawn by the fact that as we know cremation finds make up the largest
      part of the finds. I all 77 inhumation graves have taken up on Fyn-
      Langeland, but the possibilities are further weakened by the fact
      that skeletal remains are found only in a very few of them. Of the
      preserved Early Roman skeletal finds, with only 14 it has been
      possible to conduct an anthropological investigation, of these 6 are
      male, 6 female. However, generally the skeletons are badly preserved,
      such that the most important characteristic, the shape of the skull,
      can only be established in 5 cases, namely in the following finds:
      Hjadstrup grav 3, Skrøbehave, Langebjerg, Store Keldbjerg grav 3 and
      Brockdorff grav 3. I all 5 cases the cranial form id doligocephalic,
      since the length/width index for the 4 first are 68.6, 74.2, 69.2 and
      70.6, respectively, while the skull from Brockdorff cannot be
      measured accurately. Unfortunately of these 5, 2 must be disregarded,
      since the graves from Hjadstrup and Store Kjeldberg are not dated by
      other find articles, and therefore just as well might be from Late as
      Early Roman Iron Age. Three skulls then remain, of which the 2 from
      Skrøbeshave and Langebjerg by the finds are dated in period II
      [within Early Roman Iron Age], the third, from Brockdorff, in Early
      Roman Iron Age in general.

      It is evident that no sustainable conclusions may be drawn from so
      slender a body of material. A comparison with corresponding material
      from the rest of the country, however, is not without interest. As is
      well known, measurements of preserved skeletal parts from Denmarks
      Roman Iron Age have earlier been undertaken (H.A.Nielsen, Årbøger
      1906 and 1915. - J. Brøndsted, Danmarks Oldtid III, pp 372-), in all
      of approx 235 individuals, of which 100 with measurable skulls
      (Brøndsted p. 254). The cranial measurements show by and large a
      distinct doligocephality, as 84 of the 100 had a length/width index
      under 75, the rest over 75, and of these only 3 were evidently
      brachycephalic. The main part of this anthropological material is
      dated in Late Roman Iron Age, but much can be related already to
      Early Roman Iron Age. From the material available in the literature
      we find that 20 skeleton finds with cranial measurements apart from
      those from Fyn already mentioned may dated in Early Roman Age. Of
      these 20, 17 are doligocephalic, 3 mesocephalic, doligocephalicity is
      thus strongly dominant, and this is established already in Early
      Roman Iron Age, as is seen from some finds in East Jutland from the
      1st century CE.

      The material offered here should of course, slender as it is be
      treated with caution, but in all likelihood cannot be interpreted in
      any other way than that doligocephality in inhumation graves all over
      the country has been predominant, already in the 1st century CE. In
      this framework the finds from Fyn fynd their natural place, and
      identical characteristics have been found in all those regions where
      inhumation graves with preserved skeletons occur.

      It is well known that the predominant doligocephality of the
      population of the Roman Age is in stark contrast to the situation in
      Late Neolithic, where measurements have shown an approximate balance
      between doligocephaly and brachycephaly. The powerful change in Roman
      Iron Age in favor of the first-mentioned cranial type is by
      anthropoligical authorities proclaimed to be a convincing proof that
      immigration to Denmark has taken place. Using this as support
      Brøndsted relates this immigration to the introduction of inhumation
      graves in Early Roman times. Although this explanation appears very
      probable, it lacks conclusive evidence and was therefore only advance
      as a working hypothesis. That an immigration or several should have
      taken place in Early Roman Iron Age will hardly be provable with
      certainty given the means at our disposal. An unknown factor is the
      cremation graves' content of skeletal parts. Whether that part of the
      population, which inhumed their dead after cremation, has belonged to
      the doligocephalic type or has corresponded to the anthropoligical
      situation of the Stone Age finds, we don't know, therefore neither
      whether the doligocephalic population element might possibly have
      immigrated earlier, in the Bronze Age or in pre-Roman times,
      undetectably from intervening archaeological finds.
      "

      Torsten
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