no man is an island

This project explores alternative perspectives to a power and prestige paradigm inspired by an accumulated detector material that has been uncovered in the last decades. 

Hitherto unpopulated areas come to light thanks to enthusiastic detectorists and artefacts formerly regarded as rare or rich become increasingly common. Likewise, there is an increased acknowledgement, development, and exploration of social anthropological approaches offering a bottom-up perspective to social organisation. This thesis offers an alternative interpretative framework as well as a comparative regional analysis of the detector material from the Late Iron Age to the Middle Age with a focus on Western Zealand. 29 detector sites around the Tissø-complex and 15 around Ringsted have been thoroughly scrutinized showing signs of trade and handicraft, rich and imported artefacts, weapons and riding gear. 

The results question a predominant notion of a hierarchically structured society as a prerequisite for power and prestige. An anarchistic theoretical approach as an alternative way to understand social complexity is explored seeing autonomy and self-government as primary ambitions for human aspirations. 

The project is financed by Beckett Fonden, Augustinus Fonden, Kulturministeriets Forskningspulje og Etatsraad Georg Bestle og Hustrus Mindelegat

No Man is an Island_ The Sites Included In The Analysis.
Fig. 1. The Sites Included In The Analysis.
No Man is an Island_ S Shaped Brooch From Lille Fuglede.
Fig. 2. S Shaped Brooch From Lille Fuglede.
No man is an Island_ Gold cut from Herslev.
Fig. 3 Gold cut from Herslev.
No man is an Isalnd_ Mould From Marke
Fig. 4. Mould From Marke
No man is an Island_ Silver Ingots From Sæby
Fig. 5. Silver Ingots From Sæby


Borake, Trine Louise. 2019. “Anarchistic Action. Social Organization and Dynamics in Southern Scandinavia from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages.” Archaeological Dialogues 26 (2): 61–73.

Borake, Trine Louise. 2022. “Affiliated and Antagonistic Actions.” Tings Tale, Tidsskrift for Materiel Kultur. 2022 (4): 27–44.

Borake, Trine Louise. 2020. “Anarkisme i Dansk Arkæologi – En Skør Idé Eller et Brugbart Analytisk Værktøj?” Arkæologisk Forum 2020 (43): 3–10.

Borake, Trine Louise. 2018. “Bottlenecks and Anarchism Local Reactions and Centralization of Power at the Tissø Complex, Denmark AD 500–1050.” Lund Archaeological Review, no. 23: 1–8.

Borake. 2019. “No Man Is an Island – Anarchism and Social Complexity in Western Zealand 550-1350.” PhD-dissertation, Aarhus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag.

Projektet er støttet af:

Augustinus Fonden Logo
Beckett Fonden Logo
KUM Logo
BestlesFond Logo


Note: Danish only