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Some preliminary investigations of house-sites associated with ancient fisheries on the outer coast of the Trøndelag region are presented. These sites, which normally consist of house foundations combined with a place for pulling up boats located on ancient shores, differ significantly from later fishing hamlets (Norw. Fiskevær). Most sites contain one or two houses only, but at Almenningsværet in Roan remains of 22 houses were found, two of which are dated to the transition period between the Viking and Middle Ages. House remains at Kvalværet in Frøya are dated to the 14th and 15th centuries. These sites are interpreted as being remains of Iron Age/Early Medieval seasonal fisheries, their distribution reflecting periodical fluctuations in coastal fisheries.
Iron has been produced from bog iron ore in Mid-Norway since at least 400 BC. The smelting technology has changed since this period from an intensive initial phase lasting from 400 BC to 500 AD to small-scale production in the late Iron Age/Medieval period and finally a different type of technology was used from 1500 AD to 1700 AD, which is described in written sources. The various technologies reflect the different social and economic conditions. In some areas, the production led to deforestation and permanent changes in the natural environment. The production of iron in outfields has during different periods required advanced organization. During the early Iron Age, an average production site required a labour force of between 10 and 15 people. In some remote areas, several production sites were operated at the same time and local communities were unable to recruit enough people. Regional chiefs seem to have organized expeditions, supply of labour and trade of iron during this period. In Medieval times, local iron producers seem to have responded to a new demand for iron from the City of Trondheim, which was founded in AD 997. Production and supply of iron seems to have been interrupted by the climatic disaster of AD 536 and the Black Death in AD 1349. Knowledge of processes and markets disappeared after these events.
How to deal with failed crops and the resulting starvation in Norway was an important social issue for local and central authorities during the 18th century. Establishing granaries was an effective strategy for adapting to the challenges following short-term climatic fluctuations (climatic shocks, i.e. short, cold periods, which occurred often during this part of the Little Ice Age). The food reserves in granaries could provide, when necessary, swift and effective relief in areas affected by famine, and reduce suffering.
The first part of the article examines the contemporary debate concerning how granaries should be organized. The debate focused around the question: should the central authorities, the local authorities or the farmers carry the burden of administering and building the granaries? The latter part of the article is concerned with how the granaries were actually established. During the 1770s and 1780s, the central government implemented an expansion of the royal granaries, which were originally constructed for military purposes, but which were now also organized for civil use. Facing great costs and harsh criticism, this strategy was replaced around 1790, by the establishing of granaries organized by the local communities. The article also focuses on to what extent the granaries were able to reduce suffering during periods of short food supply, and argues that the amount of grain in the granaries was enough to reduce mortality during the period.
Abraham Bredahl Rosenvinge lived at the Bakke Estate in Trondheim. He started a series of consecutive observations, which he carried out three times a day from 1 April 1855 until 7 July 1884. The series ceased a few days before his death. The aim of the study is to investigate the quality of his observations, and decide whether they should be included in a homogenized, composite, long-term series of observations for Trondheim.
Several quality tests were performed. An inhomogeneity in evening observations in summer 1871 was detected, apparently caused by the construction of a new main building on the farm. However, this influenced the daily mean temperatures only in May and June, and by only 0.14 °C and -0.22 °C respectively. Temperature differences between Bakke and another station in Trondheim located at Our Lady’s Church indicated that none of the thermometers were out of calibration. The testing revealed that Rosenvinge’s observations should be included in a composite long-term series of observations rather than the alternative observations carried out at Our Lady’s Church.
Recent observations (1981-2010) at Værnes, 25 km east of Trondheim, were nominally 0.9°C warmer than at Bakke (1855-1884). The observation sites were judged equal, so temperature in Trondheim has increased about 1°C since Rosenvinge carried out his observations.
The first print shop in a Norwegian city was established as late as 1643, and the following ones in 1721 and 1743. However, during this period there were several book vendors in Norwegian cities that provided printed matters; this was done locally, through subscription from abroad, or during travels abroad. However, for books to be of interest, people had to possess reading skills. The article explores to what extent the population in Norwegian cities were literate during the period before 1750, and how they acquired reading skills. The article argues that the varied social structure in cities also resulted in diverse needs regarding reading, and the teaching varied according to the needs of the different social groups. Different reading practices and skills indicate the different kind of texts the reading public were interested in or able to read.