The site of Ajvide is located on the western coast of Gotland, Sweden, in the parish of Eksta. It covers an area of 200,000 square metres and was occupied from the Late Mesolithic through to the mid Bronze Age. The majority of the activity on the site took place during the Middle Neolithic period (3100 - 2700 BC). This phase of activity belongs to the Pitted Ware culture.
The principal feature of the site is a burial ground containing some 80 graves. In some cases the graves are occupied by more than one individual, whilst others may be cenotaphs. Most of these graves date to later than the main phase of Pitted Ware activity. Adjacent to the cemetery, to the East, is an area of very dark soil that contains a mixture of artefacts, pottery and bone fragments. In some texts on this site, this area is referred to as the black area, and is believed to have a possible ceremonial function. However, Österholm has suggested that it may in fact represent the processing of seal train oil.
A significant faunal assemblage has been recovered from the site. This suggests that in the late Mesolithic the economy was based upon the hunting of grey, ringed and harp seals, porpoise and fishing. Cattle, sheep, and pigs were introduced at the start of the Neolithic. However, there was a resurgence in seal hunting and fishing by the Middle Neolithic. Cattle and sheep returned during the late Neolithic and Bronze Age. It has been argued that the pigs which remain on Gotland during the Pitted Ware phase are in fact wild or feral animals, implying a general return to hunting and gathering during this period and not just a reversion to marine resources. Examination of the helical fracture pattern and dynamic impact scars of the bones from Ajvide suggests that bone marrow extraction took place at this site.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Outram, A. K. 2006. Distinguishing bone fat exploitation from other taphonomic processes: what caused the high level of bone fragmentation at the Middle Neolithic site of Ajvide, Gotland?, pp. 32-43. In Mulville, J and Outram, A (eds). The Zooarchaeology of Milk and Fats. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
- ↑ Österholm, S. 1997. Traceable remains of train-oil on Neolithic seal-hunter sites, pp. 163-164. In Burenhalt, G. (ed). Remote Sensing. Volume 1. Stockholm: Stockholm University.
- ↑ Rowley-Conwy, P and Storå, J. 1997. Pitted Ware seals and pigs from Ajvide, Gotland: methods of study and first results, pp. 113-130. In Burenhalt, G (ed). Remote Sensing. Volume 1. Stockholm: Stockholm University.