Archaeology in Stockholm County part 1

Notes from the seminar “Archeology in Stockholm County 2009” held at the County Administrative Board of Stockholm 2010. I’ve divided it into three parts in the order they were given.

The Neolithic landscape at Albyberg in Haninge.

Michel Guinard SAU (Societas Archaeologica Upsaliensis)

A report on the results from an archaeological investigation in 2009 in Haninge where 16 settlements (Stone Age), one rock with cup marks (dating Stone Age – Iron Age) and four cairns that mark boundaries (medieval or newer times) was found.

12 of the 16 settlements consisting of finds of quartz, these are dated roughly to about 9000-6000 BP. They are positioned high in the countryside, about 40-55 m above sea level, in small sheltered positions on the highest peak levels. These sites might be some kind of temporary hunting stations temporary for seal hunters, fishers or bird hunters.

These can be compared with the four Neolithic settlements found at 30-35 m above the sea level on sandy flat surfaces.

Comment;

- The report is not yet published.

Korsnäs Revisited – about an ongoing research project on middle Neolithic activities at Södertörn

Elin Fornander, the Archaeological Research laboratory, Stockholm University

Korsnäs is a pitted ware settlement (ca 3200 BC– ca 2300 BC) at Södertörn, Grödinge parish. The settlement is situated ca 25 m above the sea level on a flat sandy surface. The settlement was discovered 1903. Several minor excavations and surveys has been made since then; 1931 phosphate mapping, 1933 minor excavation, 1964 survey, 1970/1973/1979/1991/2003 minor excavations, 2005 screening of old dump piles, 2009 minor excavation).

The 2009 excavation was part in the research project at hand, the excavation will continue in 2010 as part of the field courses (Archaeology, Archaeological Sciences, Osteoarchaeology) held by the Department of Archaeology at Stockholm University.

The place has very good preservation conditions for bones. What makes the enviorment good for bone preservation has been debated, during the project soil samples will be taken for the purpose of answering that question. Among the animal bones seals and pigs dominate but bone analysis shows that an essentially part of the diet was marine which leaves question on what they did and how they regarded the pigs. There are also seven known graves, the latest found in 2009. The graves in the pitted ware culture are often elaborate and diverse. In one of the graves the individual has been laid on a bed of herring bones together with a dog skull and a clay bead in one of the eye sockets. Also interesting is a child burial.

The 2009 excavation gave evidence for the richness of the site, they excavated a surface of 17 m2 and found nearly 49 kg of ceramic shards, ca 19 % are decorated. There are also several shards from miniature vessels, they’ve been ca 2-3 cm – 5-10 cm in size. Besides the ornate ceramics the ceramics can be divided into two types; porous and solid cargoes.

Comments;

- this is an interesting project that include several archaeological methods; soil analysis, lipid analysis, bone chemistry (13C-analysis), ceramic analysis, osteology etc. The results will come in a report, but also as part of a student essays and be part of at least one thesis.

Mass burn sacrifice (flint and other stone tools that has been purposely exposed to fire and heat as a ritual act) in early agricultural society, Stensborg, Grödinge parish

Lars Larsson, Department of Archaeology Lund University

Settlements are often a too wide term to describe a site as it includes many diverse and divergent types of sites; human settlements, farms, manufacturing sites, hunting sites, activity areas, etc. In this case a better word might be gathering sites (Samlingsplaster). They are well defined places, often they can be described as some form of enclosed by natural or manmade barriers such as ravines, trenches, open water, hills etc. At these locations one finds large amounts of deposited burned, and deliberately broken objects; flint artifacts, slate artifacts, ceramics, exotic objects, human bones, etc., Known places of this sort includes Sarup in Demark on Fyn, the Alvastra pile-dwelling and a number of premises in southern Sweden. An interconnecting element is fire and the deliberated destruction of the objects. The items are usually deposited in small pits or small thin flakes.

At a golf course in Stenstorp, Grödinge parish, a small field between two courses has be saved. On this field archaeologist Sven-Gunnar Bostrom have picked up, measured, positioned and collected more than 3,000 objects by field walking. Among the objects are large quantities of rock axes (thin-and with a pointed ridge), flint axes, and much Funnelbeaker (TRB) ceramics. A high percentage of the ceramic shards are decorated. There are also a lot of exotic objects such as a slate knife and the artifacts made of Kristianstad Flint.  These have artifacts have been deliberately destroyed by fire and by breaking. A lot of the objects have roughly the same size which shows that it’s important how to destroy them correctly. They could also be said to have been “baked” or cremated in a controlled way to make the destruction go a certain way for example the flints are often found as large pieces of white sheets of flint. Thereafter the destroyed objects have been “buried” in small pits that has been sealed with clay or in flat beds of clay that more resembles a form a sowing. Some artifacts, such as rock chisels are not destroyed, indicating that they instead have been used in the process of destruction.

In 2008 and 2009 excavations in the field and on the ridge which forms the northern boundary. During the excavation yet another interesting find was made, in the field, concentrations of burnt grain, more than 7000 grains were collected from three samples- The grain consist mainly of barley, spelt and bread wheat. The grain was well-stocked, severely burned and in combination with very little charcoal. This indicating that the grain exercised as fuel.  14C-dating of the grain gives dates to ca 4600 BP i.e. Funnelbeaker culture.

The excavations on the ridge resulted in more normal settlement finds.

Comments;

-          So far this place is unique in this part of Sweden, though not unique in Scandinavia.  It shows extraordinary similarities to their southern counterparts, which indicates arather close connection between the South Scandinavian Stone Age cultures and between middle Swedish owns. Among the finds are also artifacts that show contacts to the north, such as a slate knife, also broken.  The similarity between these sites indicates that there is a consciousness and organization within the society that reaches far beyond the tribe or the closest neighbors, that borders on the concept of organized religion.

Magnus Reuterdahl


These notes should not be used as references, if you’re interested I’m sure the people behind the seminars are happy to help you.

These are memory notes so there might very well a few faults or misunderstandings among them, if you find anything that is wrong or out of place please contact me so that I can fix it.

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About Magnus Reuterdahl

I am an archaeologist/Osteologist from Sweden. My main intrest lays in north Euorpean archaeology in, preferbly the prehistory of the late iron age and the neolithic periods. I've also got a strong intrest for Chinese archaeology, especially the neolithc Yangshao culture. I also write about cultural heritage and cultural history. Mitt namn är Magnus Reuterdahl, jag är arkeolog och osteolog och arbetar företrädesvis i Sverige även om jag gjort ett par vändor till Kina. På den här bloggen skriver jag om mitt yrke, om fornlämningar, kulturarv och kulturhistoria m m. View all posts by Magnus Reuterdahl

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