Abstracts in Proceedings of "Hunting in Northern Europe" Meeting

Author: Edited by Dr Oliver Grimm and Ulrich Schmoelcke

Year of Publication: 2013

Publisher: Wachholtz

Place of Publication: Germany

Volume: 1

Pages: 353-377; 343-356; 379-386

Language: English

Link to: Website

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The Proceedings of ther Conference “Hunting in northern Europe until 1500 AD” (Old traditions and regional developments, continental sources and continental influences) (Schleswig, June 16th and 17th, 2011), contain 3 articles on falconry and owing to kind permission of co-editors Dr Oliver Grimm and Dr Ulrich Schmoelcke) we are glad to paste these abstracts below:


Falconry in continental settlements as reflected by animal bones from the 6th to 12th centuries AD. By Wietske Prummel, Groningen   on pp.357-377.

Keywords: Archaeozoology, falconry, hawks, game, Early Middle Ages, High Middle Ages

Abstract: This paper discusses the types of evidence by which falconry can be demonstrated in settlement layers: (1) falconry devices, (2) bones of hawks, (3) the sexes of the hawks, and (4) the bones of prey animals. Falconry was known in continental Europe from about 500 AD. Archaeozoological evidence makes clear that falconry was practised at strongholds of Slavonic peoples from the 6th century AD, at trading and other sites in northern Europe from the 8th century, at strongholds in Germany from the 9th century, at high status sites in France from the 7th century, and at castles, strongholds and towns in the Netherlands from the 11th century. The low flight, with goshawk and sparrowhawk on large and small birds and mammals, was the most common type of falconry before the 13th century AD. The high flight, with peregrines on large birds, became vogue in the 13th century AD.


“Originally developed as a means for surviving in the desert,falconry has evolved into a means of life.”

by Claus Dobiat, Marburg   on pp.343-356.

Keywords: Birds of prey, falconry, steppe areas, Migration Period, elite burial

Abstract: The first part of the paper discusses where falconry is first attested archaeologically. Most probably, this form of hunting was practiced in Assyria and in the Hittite cultural area from as early as the 2nd millennium BC. However, falconry initially remained alien to the Greeks and Romans. In central Europe, evidence for falconry becomes widespread from the late 4th century AD onwards, both in richly furnished graves and later also in settlements. Most likely, the practice was introduced from the central Asian steppe areas during the Migration Period, then rapidly spread throughout Europe and became the symbol of a social elite.


The Vendel Period royal follower’s grave at Swedish Rickeby as starting point for reflections about falconry in Northern Europe

By Maria Vretemark, Skara on pp.379-386.

Keywords: Iron Age, cremation graves, birds of prey, falconry, Scandinavia

Abstract: A most remarkable cremation grave from Rickeby in Vallentuna parish, Uppland, in Mideast Sweden was excavated in 1980. A high-ranking warrior had been buried with very rich grave goods such as a helmet, a sword and drinking vessels. Remains of a horse, four dogs and several birds of prey were identified among the cremated bones. This set off an investigation in order to shed new light on the question of falconry in Iron Age Sweden. The occurrence of raptors as part of the grave goods proved to be restricted to the most exclusive burials in the eastern part of Sweden. Goshawk was most frequently found but other birds of prey were also present. As it seems falconry was introduced in Sweden at the second half of the 6th century, probably from Eastern Europe.

The titles of all articles in these proceedings might be downloaded and looked through here:


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