In my dissertation (Hallgren 2008) I discuss the introduction of cultural practices such as cultivation, cattle herding, pottery craft and specific lithic traditions in the region around the Baltic Sea during the Stone Age. The main focus is on the Early Neolithic (4000-3300 cal. BC according to the Scandinavian Chronology) Funnel Beaker Culture of the Mälardalen and Bergslagen region in eastern Central Sweden. Archaeological material from neighbouring parts of Scandinavia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kaliningrad, northern Poland and northern Germany are also included in the discussion. The thesis does not attempt to explain why practices like agriculture and ceramic production were introduced, rather it discusses when and how this took place.
To get a perspective on the introduction of pottery technology in Mälardalen and Bergslagen around 4000 cal. BC., the thesis starts with an overview of the first appearance of ceramics around the Baltic Sea. It is shown that pottery was introduced along the eastern shores of the Baltic more than 1000 years before people began to practice the craft of pottery in Central Sweden. The larger part of the thesis is devoted to the Early Neolithic Funnel Beaker Culture (abbreviated TRB) of Mälardalen and Bergslagen. The archaeological material from the region is discussed as remains of activities like living, crafting, cultivating, herding - cultural practices that were created through performance and participation. It is argued that participation in these activities shaped aspects of the participants' identity. The last part of the thesis discusses the northern border of the Funnel Beaker Culture. The northern limits of the distribution of TRB materials have often been explained with reference to ecological conditions, whereas here it is argued that the northern border of the Funnel Beaker Culture was determined by the extent of late Mesolithic social networks.