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The Perception and Interpretation of Hanseatic Material Culture in the North Atlantic: Problems and Suggestions
By Natascha Mehler
Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume 1 (2009)
Abstract: This paper takes the discussion on the concept of Hanseatic material culture from the Baltic and moves it west towards the North Atlantic islands and Norway, focusing on the contact zones between Hanse traders and societies at the fringes of northern Europe. The peoples of this area conducted considerable exchange with the Germans during the 14th through the 17th centuries, a process which could have led to signifi cant impacts on the native cultures. This study describes artifacts produced in northern Germany and imported to the north as a medium transporting culture, and points out the many complex problems in tracing artifact distribution in northern Europe that are caused by multilateral and illegal trade, piracy, and the involvement of third parties. With the help of archaeological methods, the second part of the paper attempts to address some of those issues by suggesting a classifi cation of Hanseatic artifacts.