Heritage board’s course on Historic Landscapes day 2

Today we visited Västra Syninge (Syninge west) a farm with several interesting features, with the help of a map from 1630s and a modern map one can trace a lot of the 17th century landscape – a farm that has moved, across the road?, traces of fossilized fields in form of clearing cairns field edges. Lots of interesting discussions concerning how to interpret these traces, for example their age, how to classify them, what scientific and pedagogic value they have and so fourth. The most rewarding discussion, according to me, was that concerning the remains of an earlier farm. According to Swedish Cultural heritage act, a monument or remain classified as ancient monument/remain must be permanently abandoned. This particular farmstead is permanently abandoned and can be traced back at least to medieval times. On the historic map are two adjacent farms, of which this is one, the other is still where it once was and in use. As the remains are a part of the remaining farm the area isn’t abandoned – how it categorizes relic?

This might seem as an easy question but isn’t, should a part be classed as ancient monument? That would be as putting a dead mans hand on it making it impossible or next to impossible for the farmer to use. Should we class it as something else with another or lower protection risking that it gets destroyed or are there other ways? Lots of interesting questions that has no straight answer.

I’m sorry to say I have no photos of the area, as it was bit rainy and several of the remains were very difficult to photo.

After this we went to Finsta – visiting the, assumed, birth place of  Birgitta (Bridget) Birgerstotter or Saint Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden in 1303,  a more likely place is Fresta,  according to ledgend Birgitta had her first holy vision here in a place called Birgittas Bönegrotta (a cave in which she prayed).  Here we discussed the importance of accuracy, it is more or less clear that Birgitta wasn’t born here and therefore didin’t have her first vision here – – So how do that influence on the historic value of this site? Does it loose or reduces its historical value if Birgitta was not born here? Or does the tradition in itself a historical background which gives it a historical value? I think the latter – over long time people has connected this place with Birgitta, and come here as a pilgrimage or as interested tourists and that makes the place a site of interest.

So not to lure people to Finsta – there are no remains of the medieval Finsta that Birger Persson , Birgittas father, owned though there is a small cave that tradition call’s Birgittas. But if you do visit don’t miss the wonderful Iron Age grave fields just a few hundred meters away and the medieval church.

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

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