The use of tar and resinous substances dates back far into Scandinavian prehistory. How it was produced, however, was unknown until recent excavations in eastern Sweden revealed funnel-shaped features—now identified as structures for producing tar. A new way of organising tar production appeared in the eighth century AD, leading to large-scale manufacture within outland forests. Intensified Viking Age maritime activities probably increased the demand for tar, which also became an important trade commodity. The transition to intensive tar manufacturing implies new ways of organising production, labour, forest management and transportation, which influenced the structure of Scandinavian society and connected forested outlands with the world economy.