Last year when working in Kronobergs county we made a small scale experiment. As most monuments in this part of Sweden is found in woodland areas, they were greatly effected by the storm Gudrun. Some monuments as mounds, cairns, graveyards etc. are quite easy to spot, others are more difficult to identify. Therefore it is more difficult to estimate and describe the damage done to them. A certain type of cultural remains that in Sweden is called “fossil åker” (fossilized fields), e.g. an area where the traces of ancient farming can be seen, either by small cairns made by the stones collected in the fields or in some cases by small terraces that are visible. The oldest of these fields are from the bronze age and youngest probobly from the late 19th century. Large areas of these remains are protected by law in Sweden, among other things based on the assumption that within these areas there are remains of settlements. What we hoped to accomplish was to try to identify were these settlement were within a few fossilized fields and by this try to estimate in what way and by what effect the damages after the storm might have caused a settlement. Now these areas can sometimes be several km² large and the damages from both fallen trees and the machines used to bring out the lumber has caused large areas to be difficult to reach as well read. After doing some small-scale surveys, me and a colleague of mine; Leif Jonsson, identified 18 possible settlement sites within 13 areas of fossilized fields. To try to be more certain whether we really found the settlement areas or not we used a method of phosphate analysis with a reflectometer (Merck Rqflex 10) which measures phosphateº by an optic scanner. In ten of these tested areas we got indications that what we thought to be a settlement might be one. Two of these indications were stronger that the others. To make sure we decided to do a small excavation within one of the ares, in the parish of Östra Torsås (Raa 93:1). With the help of a caterpillar we opened up two trenches S-N and E-V. In the E-V trench we found clear evidence of human activities, as we didn’t find any postholes we can’t say for certain that it is a settlement, but we found hearths and parcels of ash and a lot of cremated bone fragments from animals, burnt clay etc. From this we could describe some of damages that a settlement or activityarea in this situation had gotten.
Most of the damages could be described as secondary, that is to say the damages probably is related to the effects of the pressure the large machines used to bring out the storm fallen lumber. We also identified that there is a big risk of more damage during reforesting.
// Magnus Reuterdahl