Daily Archives: September 14, 2008

A report on the week in Svappavaara

In the background is Svappavaara

Last Friday I returned to Luleå after a sightseeing above the the polar circle. The aim of this tour was Svappavaara, a small community some miles southeast of Kiruna. Svapavaara is a mining community from the 17th century. The mines has been opened on several occasions, the last big venture was done during the 60’s.

The famous architect Ralph Erskine designed some housing buildings at the time named Ormen Långe (the long snake), today they are empty and abandoned, the community is somewhat on hold.


But it seems as the future holds yet another injection for Svappavaara as a new open-cast mine is planned to open in a near future and that is the reason to why we were there. To start the new mining project new roads needs to be in place so we made a preliminary search of the area to establish if any ancient- or cultural remains are in the way.

As we were in the neighborhood we also visited a few places to help the owners to find and mark some ancient monuments, a couple of hearths and a summer grave.

A summer grave is an interesting phenomena, as many farms and villages did not have a church or a cemetery of their own they buried their dead in a temporary grave during the summer and dug him or her up when the winter came and transported the dead to its final resting place.

The summer grave is found a few hundred meters from this farm, that has been abandoned in the 40’s.

As we visited one of this sites I learned of the danger of being an archaeologist working in a forest environment, as we were walking a tree branch smash into my right eye. Besides the pain my eye also got infected, so I have had some problems with my sight the last few days, it getting better though, after a quick visit to the doctors office. Due to this I haven’t really spent much time in front of the computure.

I’ll add some pictures tomorrow.

Magnus Reuterdahl

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