Category Archives: Östergötland

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 🙂

Advertisements

A visit to Hästholmen a villa forensis in Östergötland, Sweden

Hästholmen lanterna 600I’ve been lazy when it comes to archaeology blogging lately, partly due to lots and lots of work. The other day I was asked to meet up with some folks from Jönköping County administrative board to tell a little on Hästholmen, as they were visiting on their annual staff day. This gave me a good reason for some blogging 🙂

Hästholmen hamnen 2 (600x450)

Hästholmen is a small town, ca 500 residents, by lake Vettern. It’s interesting out of many aspects, but lets start during the middle ages. Hästholmen is named in several historic documents, the oldest dated back to 1300 AD. It was never a town but it was what can be called a villa forensis (a place with a market) – this was one of the ports for transporting agricultural commodities from the fertile plains of Östergötland.

Hästholmen nya skärgården (450x600)

In medieval sources a church and a castle is also mentioned. The castle was probably more of a fortified farmstead than a castle. It was owned by one of Albrecht of Mecklenburg knights, Gerdt Snackborg. At Hästholmen was also a ting-place, a middle age court, this was active until at least 1523.

Hästholmen fyr (446x600)

Hästholmen peaked during the 14th and 15th century and then slowly faded into history as Vadstena, where the newly founded Vadstena Abbey was based, received its town charter. There hasn’t been done much archaeology within the medieval parts of Hästholmen, but the finds that has been found are mainly from the 14th or 15th century, for example weapons parts, a seal stamp and a collection of coins. The Seal Stamp is bourgeois and holds the name S.olai Pedarson. In 1983 a collection of 282 silver coins was found on the small hill where the “castle” is supposed to have been. The coins are from Sweden, Denmark and Germany and are minted between 1363 and 1520.

Hästholmen hamnen 4 600

Hästholmen hamnen karta 600The next time in history Hästholmen is visible in history is during the mid 19th century when it once again became an important harbour for agricultural commodities. This was to due with the steam-ship traffic on lake Vettern. In 1859 they rebuilt the harbour, much as it looks today, and 1860 the first the first harbor warehouses, one of this is till there. In 1939 they built a facility for storage and processing of grain which also is still standing. A narrow gauge railway was added in 1888 and a broad gauge (standard gauge) between Hästholmen and Mjoelby wasinaugurated in 1912.

Harbour ware house ca 1860

Harbour ware house ca 1860

In 1918 the ship Per Brahe went down during a storm just 500 meters from the Hästholmen port. It’s know as one the beloved artist John Bauer and his family together with more than 20 others died. The ship was salvaged from the bottom of the lake in 1922 and was was used for many more years in different parts of Sweden and Finland.

Facility for storage and processing of grain, build 1939

Facility for storage and processing of grain, build 1939

This is not the only find made in the harbour or nearby the harbour. Another ship wreck was found 2003, this is not dated but of old age (Viking Age or later). Added to this is also a stone age shaft-hole axe and a Vendel Age (550 – 800 AD) sword.

The old harbour

The area around Hästholmen, Alvastra and Omberg is one of the three pre-historic central areas in Östergötland. The district has been inhabited since the Stone Age, with plenty of both Mesolithic and Neolithic settlements, which has been around creeks, ancient lakes and wetlands in the plains and by lake Vettern.

Information sign rock art

Information sign rock art

During the Boreal period, about 8500-6800 BC we know of more than 30 Mesolithic settlements around the lake Tåkern, alone. In Hästholmen are traces of at least one Neolithic settlement and an Iron Age settlement. At Omberg, about 1-2 km north of Hästholmen is the Alvastra pile-dwelling site, ca 3100 BC. There has also been a megalith grave, that was destroyed in 1916. Excavations at this site was conducted in 1979-83 and found human bone material from both the Neolithic period, ca 3200 BC, and the Mesolithic’s, ca. 6300 BC.

In this area is also lots of medieval remains such as the ruins of the Alvastra monastery, Sverker Chapel, Sverkers farmstead and Alvastra mill. The Sverker-dynasty is one the early royal dynasty’s connected with the formation of Sweden during the 12th-13th century.

One rocks with carvings at Hästholmen

One rocks with carvings at Hästholmen

One of the more interesting sites in Hästholmen is the rock-art. Near Hästholmen are more than 80 known places with rock art, most of these are mainly dated to the Bronze Age. The normal type of carvings are cup marks (skålgropar, älvkvarnar) but in but six places there are also figurative motifs, all of are these close to lake Vettern and the most known are those at Hästholmen. It includes about 200 carvings spread over some 10 areas, including 130 cup marks, 29 ships, nine people, axes and animal etc. etc.

Hästholmen hällristningar 8 (600x450)

Hästholmen hällristningar 7 (600x309)

Hästholmen hällristningar 6 (502x600)

Hästholmen hällristningar 5 (600x450)

Hästholmen hällristningar 4 (600x449)

All in all a nice day 🙂

Magnus Reuterdahl


Mesolithic Motala on film

At the city Motala on the eastern shore line of lake Vettern a big excavation that in part is still on- going that concerns the mesolithics. The excavations are being done by Riksantikvarieämbetet (the National Heritage Board) UV Öst (RAÄ UV Öst) (link in Swedish about the excavation) and by Stiftelsen Kulturmiljö (link in Swedish about the excavation).

The excavations concern at least one settlement and several different activity areas; production sites, graves etc, that are dated to ca 6000-4000 BC. There are also remains of a medieval farmstead, dated to ca 1200-1300 AD.

There are several things that are special about this site among them the exceptional preservation environment, UV has made this film, with English subtitles, that allows you to find out more about this exiting place and the finds that has been made.

The film is produced by Martin Wanngård at BringitoLife during 2010 and 2011 and is 18 minutes long and is part of RAÄ UV Öst’s intermediary of the results.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Swedish ancient monuments on youtube

Since a few months back I work at the Östergötland County Administrative Board as an archaeologist. A project that has been ongoing for some while, that I haven’t worked on, is a video-project displaying some of the ancient monuments in Östergötland County. Information on the films are presented here.

The first of at least four films was uploaded a few days ago via Youtube, it’s available in Swedish, English and Arabic and is about the Svaneholm castle ruin outside Mjölby built during the 14th century.

The Swedish and Arabic version can be found here

Check it out!

Magnus Reuterdahl


Middle Ages seminar at Östergötland County Museum

Follow on Twitter #medsem12

Today I’ll attend a seminar on current research and projects concerning the Middle ages in Sweden åt Östergötland County museum, Linköping, Sweden. The seminars are being held by contract-archaeologist as well as resrearchers.

Among the seminars are:

Krokeks Cloister – the franciscan forest convent by Marie Ohlsen, Östergötland museum.

Devestation or restructring – the Linköping are during the Iron Age and Middle Ages by Karin Lindeblad & Maria Petersson, the National heritage board UV öst (east)

Ecological & social connections associated with the black death by Per Lagerås, the National heritage board UV syd (south)

Slaves, tradesfolk and common people – strangers during the middle ages and how we find them by Mats Roslund, archaeologist, Lund University.

To work with a gender perspective on historic landscapes by Elisabeth Gräslund berg, geographer, Stockholm University.

Hemvidakulla – a deserted farmstead in Ydre by Hans Andersson, professor emeritus historical archaeology, Lund University

Musical meetings – music during the Middle Ages by Lars Jonsson, music producer and artistic director, NoMeMus.

Etc etc.

This post will be updated during the day.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Upcoming Archaeology seminar in Östergötland

On Friday (February 12th) the County Administrative board of Östergötland holds a seminar not unlike that I visited in Stockholm last week.

Program

Östergötland County museum

The archaeological field works of 2009 – Marie Ohlsén

S:t Illian, the third church  – Mats Magnusson

Sudden death in Skänninge – Victoria Björhager & Emma Karlsson

Mariehov, an archaeological investigative stage 1 – Anders Persson & Rickard Lindberg

Arkeologikonslut

Tornby – Björn Hjulström

Kv. Stenhuset – Kenneth Svensson

Arkeologicentrum

The wind farm in Hornsberg – Magnus Reuterdahl

The National Heritage board UV Öst

Garden archeology in kv. Lyckan – Annika Nordström & Jens Heimdahl

Valla, a Viking Age farm complex – Karin Lindebald & Katarina Sköld

Tombs and burial practices at St. Olaf. New methods and analysis of medieval tombs in a Dominican convent- Hanna Menander

Kulturmiljövård I Mälardalen

Archaeology in Motala – Fredrik Hallgren

Looking forward on Friday’s activities and from list of participants as well as speakers I see a lot of familiar faces.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Car swap

Mayhap not the king of the road but… 

 

…I say goodbye to my old faithful, a Mercedes 190 D 1993…

DSCN4950

…and hallo to a new companion, a Nissan Almera 2001.

DSCN4951

I’ll spend this week in Ostergotland and Smaland; on Monday and Tuseday we’ll (Arkeologicentrum) work on an archaeological investigation some miles southwest of Linköping and then back to Tryserum to continue onward with the survey from last week.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Currently on my bed stand is…

I’ve installed myself in my home for the coming weeks, in Tryserum a few miles south of Valdemarsvik in Smaland, Ostergotland County.

My internet connection is uncertain at best, but right now it seems to work. So instead of surfing I’m glad to have brought a more analogue pleasure to kill time; books.

On this trip I brought the unauthorized autobiography by one of my all-time favourite authors; Robert Bloch. Once around the bloch (1993). He’s mayhap most famous for his novel Phsyco, he’s written plenty of gold nuggets such as; The Man Who Collected Poe, The Funnel of God, Fear Today, Gone Tomorrow etc.

once around the bloch

This is a great read, fan of Robert Bloch or not, as he have lived an interesting life or do tell the tale of his life as if he did. It starts; I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. The trouble is, it has somebody else’s initials on it…

Bw

Magnus Reuterdahl


What’s happening here?

Another week is coming towards its end and once again I’ll prepare myself to go home to Stockholm. The next couple of weeks I’ll be working in Ostergotland just south of Valdermarsvik doing an archaeological investigation for a wind farm. I and a colleague will conduct a survey of the area where we will visit known ancient remains and cultural relics and search for dittos.

This week I’ve had Bobby Womack as company while doing prep work for the next couple of week’s survey and while finishing a couple reports.

Yet again I’ll manage to miss another Martin Rundqvist’s  Stockholm blogmeet (Sept 2nd), but that’s no reason for you to miss it; more info here!

Magnus Reuterdahl


Speed update

Been a little tired these last few days (arcaheological jet lag?); the small excavtion in Ostergotland, Klockrike, gave nothing. We did a number of search shafts, which were more or less empty. All we found were some pieces bricks, normally you can find porcelain, scrap iron, glass, etc. but here it was basically completely empty.

Then it was off to Lerum in Vastergotland where we have added to an earlier survey which led to three descriptions of three croft ruins and one remain from charcoal production.

Tomorrow morning it’s off to Stockholm to finish up a report.

Magnus Reuterdahl


%d bloggers like this: