The Westland cauldrons in Norway
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- AmS-Skrifter 
Original versionHauken, Å.D. (2005) The Westland cauldrons in Norway. Stavanger : Arkeologisk museum i Stavanger
The Westland cauldrons constitute the largest group of so called Roman imports in Norway. 112 cauldrons are recorded, of these 110 are found in graves. This work gives an exhaustive presentation of all the known finds with Westland cauldrons in Norway. A new classification of the cauldrons is made, based on an analysis of the cauldron’s profile. The cauldrons are divided into two classes, 1 and 2, each subdivided into types. The chronology of the cauldrons is investigated within an already existing framework, showing that the new classification also is chronologically relevant. Type 2C cauldrons cover the Late Roman Iron Age (C3) and the Migration Period, whereas class 1 cauldrons are found only in the C3, and type 2D cauldrons only in the late Migration Period. Different production techniques are discussed in detail. Class 1 cauldrons are hammered, class 2 cauldrons are both hammered and treated on a lathe. Based on the metalworking techniques a local, Norwegian production is rejected. The significance of Westland cauldrons in the West Norweigan society is discussed. A comparison between the graves containing cauldrons and a contemporary group of graves showed that there is a qualitative, but not a quantitative difference between the groups. There is also a fluctuation in wealth through time in both groups. The cauldrons served as status markers amongst the living. As gravegoods they could serve to further enhance the reputation of the deceased and the family. The fluctuation in the wealth of the graves is interpreted as an in- or decreasing need for social competition in an inherently unstable society. Finally the mode of exchange is discussed, pointing to the importance of gift exchange, both as a means of acquiring high status goods, creating a retinue and forming alliances, but also as a means to facilitate the exchange of more mundane necessity products.
Text is © Arkeologisk museum i Stavanger; some photos are © Kulturhistorisk museum in Oslo.