sara gummesson

Sara Gummesson


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Works at Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies
Visiting address Wallenberglaboratoriet, Lilla Frescativägen 7
Room 217a
Postal address Institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Mesolithic bone and antler craft is the point of departure for my PhD project. Within my research I intend to investigate and problematize Stone Age osteological assemblages. This material has long been treated as refuse of local fauna and past subsistent strategies. I argue that this is a somewhat simplified picture of osteological assemblages and their genesis. I will study Mesolithic bone and antler craft, investigating these remains as a significant process of patterning in the osteological assemblages. In archaeological material bone and antlers craft is not only represented as fully completed artifacts, the craftsmanship is also represented by raw materials (i.e. bones and antlers), debitage, blanks, pre-forms etc. and fragments thereof.

Central to this research is the study of taphonomy and spatial distribution and therefore the project is structured around these topics. To enable interpretations the taphonomic processes need to be investigated and addressed, including both biostratigraphic and digenetic processes. My aim is to use the bone and antler craft forming a basis for interpretation of spatial distribution and identification of sequences of events. To enable contextualization of these events and the human agency creating patterns in the assemblages. Further to place this agency within the social landscape in the local and the Scandinavian Mesolithic context.

I have masters in osteoarchaeology and have previously been working within commercial archaeology, mainly with Stone Age remains.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2016. Gunilla Eriksson (et al.). Journal of Archaeological Science

    Recent excavations at the sites of Strandvägen and Kanaljorden in Motala, Eastern Central Sweden, have unearthed complex and varied funerary remains from the Mesolithic. The two sites are situated on opposite banks of the river Motala Ström. While geographically close and roughly covering the same time span (c. 8000–7000 cal. BP), the funerary remains reveal differences and similarities in the treatment of the dead between the two localities. While at Strandvägen human bones were mostly found either scattered along the river bed or in inhumation graves, Kanaljorden contains wetland depositions of disarticulated skulls. We have conducted multi-isotope analyses of δ13C, δ15N, δ34S and 87Sr/86Sr of human and animal remains with the aim of reconstructing the dietary patterns, geographic provenance and mobility of the interred. A series of faunal reference samples and, in the case of 87Sr/86Sr, soil samples have been analysed in order to establish relevant isotopic baselines. The results show a protein intake dominated by aquatic resources, probably consisting of both freshwater and marine fish in varied proportions. The strontium isotope data indicate an interesting distinction between the individuals buried on either side of the river Motala Ström. Five out of six sampled individuals from Strandvägen have isotope ratios consistent with a local provenance, whereas ratios from seven out of eight Kanaljorden individuals indicate a non-local origin. The δ34S analysis proved problematic as a majority of the samples appear to be affected by diagenesis. This is probably the result of contamination by exogenous sulphur from surrounding fluvial and lacustrine sediments, as has previously been reported from other waterlogged sites.

Show all publications by Sara Gummesson at Stockholm University

Last updated: October 16, 2018

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