Present day archaeology

Ancient remains are often seen as monuments of our forefathers, according to Swedish law (KLM ch. 2 § 1) ancient remains are monuments/remains after human activity from ancient times that has originated due to older manners and customs and are lastingly abandoned (my own translation). There is no absolute time span stated in the paragraph on how long a remain must have been abandoned before it is considered an ancient remain or monument.

Verdandi Park in Älghult

A few days ago I passed the Verdandi Park in Älghult a small community in the Northwest part of Kronoberg County. This park does not constitute as an ancient remains just yet as it is still in use, but in another way it is a form of monument of a time that has passed. This is area is very well preserved with structures and a lovely atmosphere and can be seen as mirror into the past. Here is a dance hall and small buildings for sales of beverages, hot-dogs, tickets etc.

Verdandi Park in Älghul Dance hall

The Park was erected in 1931 by the Verdandi section Stridskämpen (the War fighter) in 1931. Verdandi is a Swedish workers’ organization striving for social justice and a society free from alcohol-related injuries. It was often rented to the local branches of the national unions and to local sports associations. Since 1984 it is owned by Älghults shooting association.  Most of these parks were associated with a concept called “Folkets park“, webpage in Swedish, (The People’s park). These parks for the people was started as an idea of entertainment centers for workers, the first was established as early as in the 1880’s.  

In the 50’s and fourth these parks/venues were the entertainment center in many small communities and cities around Sweden. Here one could go dancing, watch entertainers, go to political rallies and meet for big holidays etc. During the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s all kinds of bands played these venues, but to many Swedes they a linked to a Scandinavian phenomena called “dansband” or “dance bands”, directly translated. These bands plays what could be called a form of slow and soft rock and roll mixed with pop and country and western most often preformed in Swedish. To this music people most often dance foxtrot, jitterbug or slow fox. Though they still are popular in certain parts of the country the golden age were in the 70’s. On the website “Svenska dansband” one can see pictures of several of theses dance bands and their most often quite corny uniforms, I promise you some good laughs.

One of the more extreme uniforms were used by the band Gert Jonnys, click here and search for Gert Jonnys.

These venues are as said before not to be classified as ancient monuments or remains but are still worth to be protected as part of our national heritage along with other typical structures of the 20th century.

Magnus Reuterdahl


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

3 responses to “Present day archaeology

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  • Ebba

    How come ju stopped reading the law (KML) after chapter 1 & 2? Try reading chapter 3 wich is more dynamic. ‘Folkparker’ can easily be protected by KML and regarded as “an ancient monument” (or to that equivalent ‘byggnadsminne). The challange as suppossed to archeology remains is that in the case of buildings you actually have to choose what to preserve and from what perspective you are going to tell history. I think what you call pomo

  • Magnus Reuterdahl

    Oh, I haven’t stop reading, but if not the statures in chapter 2 § 1 are not fullfilled the “thingy” can’t be declared an ancient remain or monument (fornminne), nor do I think it should be as it is still in use (more or less as indented).

    As you write, the right thing should be to list it as a historical building (Byggnadsminne) in accordance with chapter 3 § 4. I am not sure if this Folkpark is listed or not. The good thing is that it is up to each and everyone to propose that a building should be listed as a historical building and then it is up to the County administrative board to decide if it should be. I didn’t really elaborate on this in my post as my main theme where to highlight how thin the line is between ancient monuments/remains and things still in use are, if listed as a historical building it can still be used as it is, with some restrictions, and will most definently not become a remain or a ruin which is all for the best.

    Magnus Reuterdahl

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