Andrine NILSEN / Martina HJERTMAN
(Gothenburg University, Sweden)
Keywords: In-correct documentation, city margins, representativeness
Early Modern Town Project New technology offers great potential in how it may facilitate and renew the way in which archaeologists deal with the past during excavation, recording and surveying. However, the selection of base material is equally important in making an adequate analysis and presenting a fair picture of the analysed urban environment. Analyses often neglect to take into account spatial, social and chronological aspects of an urban environment, which affects our current state of knowledge of the city. A tendency in urban archaeological research is the focus on centrality. City walls or boundaries are considered to stipulate the actual limits of the city, and what is inside is normally the focus for investigation. While large areas outside the city walls were part of the city activities they are frequently excluded from cultural heritage laws. In this way, the research misses both interesting and vital parts of the urban space. The extramural are, to a higher extent, built beyond an official and regulated city plan. A large part of the city population may have lived and worked outside the city cores. The lack of archaeological excavations in these areas may lead to their stories never being told or ever becoming part of the official version of history and cultural heritage. Another important aspect to discuss is the question of time and chronology. Until recently in Scandinavia, large parts of history have been overlooked in search of more “in vogue” periods, for example the earlier Middle Ages and backwards. Cultural layers from the Late Middle Ages, Early Modern and Modern periods thus have been removed without proper, or any, documentation, affecting our analysis and vision of urban contexts. In our paper we want to raise questions of representativeness, in a way obvious, although often overlooked when it comes to investigating and analysing urban contexts. Our archaeological results may benefit greatly from new and precise technologies, but they will never be fully accurate and representative if we consciously or unconsciously discriminate and exclude certain social, spatial and chronological aspects.