Walk this way

Nowadays most of my job is being done from behind a desk while using a computer, but now and then I get to go out on a hike in the cultural landscape whislt working.

Today I was out inspecting a find of a  so called  fossil road (hålväg in Swedish term). This road ha sprobably not been used for quite some time, probably several hundered years.

hålväg1 fossil road (600x450)

How old it is, I can not say offhand, but through long usage it has cut through the soil. This part of the road is about 150 meters and is part of a system of parts of different roads, it is about 40-70 cm wide at the bottom and 2-3 meters at the top and has a depth of about 0.8-1 meter. It has been used more than a few times.

hålväg2 fossil road (450x600)

It makes you or at least med wonder who used it, when and why. Is this a road between two villages, settelments, or between different activity areas or is it a more general way?

Quite a luxery being able to dwell on thongs like this whilst at work :)

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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

2 responses to “Walk this way

  • dan oancea (@dankogaion)

    A road that has not been used for hundred of years would be completely covered by vegetation even in Sweden. In B.C. Canada you need less than 20 yrs to have it completely overgrown. I would cut a few transversal trenches to document the structure and I would use a metal detector (sweep all road) to try to find some evidence. The computer won’t solve this but good ol’ fieldwork .Good luck!

    • Magnus Reuterdahl

      We got quite a lot of these fossil roads in Sweden and many of them have been dated, some back to the Iron Age and I think there are a few with Bronz Age datings as well but many is probably from historic times, though these tend to be marked on historic maps, this isn’t. How big the vegetaion growth is depends on how the area has been used, the soil and what trees grows there and of course if other human activities has been done. Way up north you find stone age finds just centimeters under the surface, in these parts it a bit more, but vegatation covering a depth of one meter or more isn’t usual if you’re not in a city. Most stone settings (Iron Age graves) are just 0,1-0,3 meters in height and these are no problem to identify.

      When it comes to excavations this will probably not be excavated, at least not at present, but it will be recorded and by doing so we get more information on this particual landscape and how its been used. This is the case with most ancient remains, the archaeology done behind the desk gives some answers and the excavtions gives others.

      Best wishes

      Magnus

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