Category Archives: Östergötland

New week, new locality

I have just arrived in Motala in Ostergotland for two days of work, a small archaeological investigation to delineate a settlement just outside of Motala.

Then follow a couple of days of survey work in Lerums municipality, in the same area I was a month ago; Rävbacka because they want to use another area for wind energy works.

A lot of travelling, it’s tuff but gives me the possibility to see much of the country and visit places and cultural and ancient remains I probably never would seen otherwise, juist one of the perks with this particular job. 

Magnus Reuterdahl

Summer vacation 2009 part 6; Ostergotland

On our way south we passed a few rune stones in Ostergotland. First out was Ög 190 in Vikingstad parish. It is dated to the 11th century and the inscription is “…erected this stone after Agute a good…”.

 Ög 190 runsten

As you can see the rune stone has been mended but some fragments are missing.

Next stop was the three rune stones; Ög 207-209, along an abandoned road (hålväg) by an prehistoric grave field in Viby parish. The stones are dated to the 11th century. Ög 207 and 208 are in their original place while Ög 209 was found nearby in the 1860’s and later placed here. The grave field predates the rune stones. The grave filed is used during the Iron Age but might have used also during the Bronze Age.

ög 207-209 and the abandoned road

The abandoned road, it’s known as the old country road in sources from the 17th century but is very possible as old as or older than the rune stones.

Ög 207

 Ög 207

Redulv and Gere erected this stone after Ofeg, their uncle, a good farmer.

Ög 208

 Ög 208

Vige erected this stone after Ofeg, his father.

Ög 209

Ög 209

Toste erected stone after Toke and Oruste, his nephews.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Urminne nr 7 2008

A new issue of Urminne (7/2008) is available, Urminne is a periodical concerning prehistoric and medieval issues in the Swedish provinces Småland, Öland and Östergötland. All articles are written in Swedish and it is possible to order it from Jonkoping County museum.


In this issue me and colleague; Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay, have an article; Tre oväntade fynd från Ottenby Kungsgård, Öland (Three unexpected finds at Ottenby Kungsgård).

Abstract: This paper presents three somewhat unexpected finds made in connection to the excavation in 2004 of a Pitted Ware site (Neolithic) at Ottenby Royal Manor on the southernmost part of Öland, Sweden. The first find to be treated here was identified during the excavation, and consists of an Early Medieval glass bead of Hungarian origin, of a type not previously documented from the Scandinavian area. The other two finds were identified during the osteological analysis; in the material from the 2004 excavation a Gannet (Morus bassanus, formerly known as Sula bassana) was identified, being the first of this species from a prehistoric context on Öland and the forth find from the large islands in the Baltic Sea altogether. Secondly whilst analysing bones from the 1991 excavation at the site a previously unidentified human bone was identified.

Magnus Reuterdahl

The other articles are (sorry I haven’t translated ´em);

– Jörgen Gustafsson: “Paradis i inland”
– Magnus Reuterdahl & Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay: “Tre oväntade fynd från Ottenby Kungsgård, Öland”
– Michael Dahlin: “Låt gravarna berätta! Några nygamla bronsåldersgravar i södra Tjust”
– Alexandra Nylén & Åsa Jönsson: “Gripeberg. En fornborg i Smålands inland”
– Christina Helander: “Att tända den livsgnista som släckts. En tolkning av två stensättningar i Bäckseda”
– Erika Räf: “Varifrån kom järnet? Om framställning av blästjärn i Östergötland under förhistorien”
– Mikael Nordström: “Död mans dörr och järnåldersdösens gåta”
– Anna Kloo Andersson: “Hälsa och ohälsa under medeltid och efterreformatorisk tid i södra Vätterbygden. Med utgångspunkt från skeletten i Barnarps kyrka”
– Rickard Wennerberg: “Skogens svarta guld. Undersökning av kolframställningsplatser i Nifsarp utanför Eksjö”
– Leif Häggström: Om viljan att kommunicera resultat. En analys av olika aktörers publiceringsfrekvens från en småländsk horisont”

Three medieval churches, two rune stones and a mound.

I haven’t been lazy I just haven’t had access to the internet the last few days. I arrived in Luleå late Sunday night after a 10 hour drive and has since been working on an excavation, more on that later on. Consequently I will publish three post today of which this is the first.

Saturday I spent in Linköping with my fiancée, we took a drive in the countryside to watch some churches and rune stones, and we scored gold.

Our first stop was Ledberg church, the church is built during the 19th century on the place where the medieval one once stood. So the church itself isn’t all that interesting but ca 100 meter south of the church is a great mound called Ledbergs kulle (hill). The mound is the biggest one in Östergötland and it is probably built during the Iron Age (ca 800-1050 AD) but might be as old as from the 6th century AD.

As you can see the top is a bit flat, as one climbs the mound one can see a small fördjupning at the top and of course the great view.

At the information sign I learned that there was a rune stone by the church at the cemetery. I have to say that the lack of information signs showing where there are rune stones in Östergötland are really crappy. At several stones there is nothing that gives it away, here it is mentioned on a information sign regarding another monument, and this rune stone, Ög 181, is a real gem with carvings (images) from the Old Norse mythology.

The runic inscription on the front is as follows; (b)isi : sati : st(n) : þ(a)s(i) : iftiR : þurkut : u—–þ- : faþu(r)

Translated into English; Bisi placed this stone in memory of Þorgautr … his father.


The runic inscription on the front is as follows; : sin : uk : þu : kuna : baþi : þmk:iii:sss:ttt:iii:l(l)l

Translated into English; And Gunna, both. Thistle, mistletoe, casket. The last part has been interpreted as a spell or curse.

The pictures have been interpreted as images from the story of Ragnarök. On the backside is an image of Fenrisulven, the brother of Midgårdsormen, biting Odin in his foot.

At this sign I would expect an information sign with a bit more information than is available today, there information is very basic and only in Swedish, this one deserves more.

After this visit we went on to Björkeberg church, a very pretty church with a lovely small absid.

A thought that ran trough my head was that the small kor and the absid have the size of a stave church and that this possibly was the first Romanesque church and that the ship was built later on. At this point another negative comment; I miss information signs about the medieval churches in Östergötland like the ones in for example Kronobergs County.


At the doorstep of one to the small door to the sacristy an old grave stone has been reused a gotten a new function. The church was not open for visitors so we couldn’t see the inside.

The next and last stop was another gem; Kaga church and it was open for visitors. The oldest parts of Kaga church are from the 12th century, this includes the tower and the main building. The south entrance room was added in the 17th century and the sacristy in the 18th century.

A walled in rune stone, Ög 103, can be found in one of the outer walls. There’s no road pointer for this one either. Another rune stone has been found here but is now placed in the public library at Linköping.

The runic inscription on the front is as follows; tufi : raisti : stain : þinsi * iftiR : liþbufa * faþur * sin *

Translated into English; Tófi raised this stone in memory of Lið-Bófi, his father.

Well inside the church we was amazed by the beautiful paintings and relics. The southern entrance door is from the 12th century and one of the oldest in Östergötland.

A lion holding a man in his mouth, it has probably been part of the original south gate.

The paintings visible in the church are from the 15th century. There are also paintings from the 12th century but these can only be seen from the church vind. That’ll be for another time.


In conclusion a great day with great stops, in Östergötland county is lots and lots to see for those who are interested but the lack road pointers probably makes many miss them and the lack of good information signs at the sites is a loss for those who happens to stop at them.

Magnus Reuterdahl

The rune stones at Skärkind old church; Ög 171 and Ög 172

In the beginning of this week I once again found myself in Östergötland County, this time on a road trip. One of the places I visited was Skärkind, a small place along the Kings road (Eriksgatan). The kings road was really more of a route that a newly elected or proclaimed king had to take to be accepted as king through the realms during the early middle ages. In the 12th century the first church (at least the first church built by stone) at Skärskind was built. This church was replaced by a new one in the early 19th century. The old church was then demolished except for the choir that was rebuilt and is used as chapel at the cemetery.


The reason for this visit was not the chapel, though there are some medieval effects preserved within but the two rune stones; Ög 171 and Ög 172 that have been erected outside the chapel.


Ög 171 is interesting as it belongs to the oldest group of rune stones, dated to the 5th or the 6th century.

The inscription is made with the old futhork and is transliterated into skiþaleubaz which has been interpreted as a man’s name: Skinþa-Leubaz or Skinn-Ljuv. Skinn means Skin might be connected to skin (fur) trade and an addition to his surname Ljuv. Skinn might also be connected to farm/village some kilometres northwest of the church named Skinnstad. The rune stone was found during the demolishment of the old church in the 19th century so we have no way of knowing where it’s original placement has been.


Ög 172 was also found as the church was demolished but this one is from the Viking Age or the early Middle Ages. On this stone the younger futhork or the Viking Age futhork has been used. The young futhork is dated from ca 800 AD and used forth. The inscription is transliterated into: kutr : uk : fastulfR : uk : burn : uk : rustin : þiR : ristu : stin : þina : i-tR : stibi : faþur : sin * kuþan which in turn becomes Gautr ok Fastulfr ok Bjôrn ok Hróðsteinn þeir reistu stein þenna e[p]tir Stybbi, fôður sinn góðan or in English; Gautr and Fastulfr and Bjôrn and Hróðsteinn, they raised this stone in memory of Stybbir, their good father.


On the west wall of the chapel that does not seem to be of medieval origin at a first glance is a small Romanesque sculpture of two heads.

We visited more churches, rune stones and a castle on the way so there is yet more to come…

Magnus Reuterdahl

Medieval cellars of Linköping.

As promised I’ll show posts some notes on the medieval cellars that I visited while I was working in Linköping. There are several medieval cellars that have been preserved to our days around the city, most of them in the area between the main square and the dome; I got to visit five of them.


As we approached the Dome the sky was darkend by lots and lots of birds.

The first cellar we visited is from the 13th century and situated under a more modern house, from the 18th or 19th century. The V-formed vaults are a nice touch. This cellar has been used as a food cellar at least until the first half the 20th century.

 On our way to the next cellar we made a short stop at the old Main Street, Storgatan, of which a part has been preserved for us to see. It probably is rather close to how the street looked in the 19th century or so. Medieval religious centres are also often early centres for higher education; this is also true for Linköping. A cathedral school in Linköping can be traced back to at least 1266 and is possible the first of its kind in Sweden. For a long time it was situated in this building at the main street.


The Cathedral school

There after we went to Linköpings castle which has one of the oldest cellars possibly from the 12th and the 13th century. On of the oldest parts is the well that is more than 12 meters deep while this roof is from the 15th century.


The Castle


The well

The interior

The 15th century roof

The cellar at Konsistoriehuset is from the 13th or 14th century is clothed in bricks which is unusual.


The cellar at Bishops mansion was restored in 2006 and has two rooms and is probably from the 14th century


The last cellar is the cellar at Domprostgården (Dean’s mansion) a bit smaller and has houseguests in the form of spiders; The European cave spider, Meta Menardi, a long-jawed orb-weaving spider in the Tetragnathidae family.

There is yet more to come from Linköping

Best wishes


Magnus Reuterdahl

At home again, at least for a while.

Though I will miss working at Östergötland County museum, and I hope that I might return for more work, it is always good to be home.

Over the last weeks I’ve been around Linköping and watching some scenic spots. Linköping is one of five medieval towns in the County and has been the centre of the church since at least the 12th century in Östergötland.

Vreta cloister was founded in 1128 (just a few km west of Linköping, see this post) and the oldest parts of the dome is from the 12th century. St Lars (Laurentii) is the other medieval church within the city limits.

St Lars
St Lars

While the medieval church has been destroyed and replaced one can still visit the foundations of the medieval church, it has been excavated and preserved under the floor of the church.

Underneath the floor one can see the walls and plan of the Romanesque church as well as a lot of the fins that have mead during the excavations here.

A grave underneath the medieval church.

Among the interesting finds are two medieval coffins made of tree that has been preserved.


At plain sight is the church tower that in part, the first three floors, is medieval.

If you have the chance to visit the crypt aka the foundations of the medieval church it is a real treat.

The medieval part of the tower goes up just below the tower hatches.

The stairs up to the first floor of the tower.

On the wall one can see the where the old roof of the church has been.

The stairs to the third floor.

At the church and in the cemetery several sepulchral monuments called Eskilstuna kistor (cists) has been found. These cists are normally dated to the 11th century and are often decorated with ornaments that resembles the Viking Age and those found carved on Stave churches (more info here), if there is any inscriptions on them they are normally made with runes. This gives a strong indication that there has been an even older church before the Romanesque one, possibly a stave church.

One of sepulchral monument found in St Lars.

This one is on display on the ground floor in the tower.

There is yet more to come from Linköping

Best wishes

Magnus Reuterdahl

The dig is finished, it’s been dug!

Then this excavation is over all that’s left is a few days of working with the finds, in my case produce a small osteologic comment on the bones found. There is a kind of sadness when one the last phases of a dig, as you excavate you kind of get familiar with landscape that you create. In this case the two houses and the cellar and you kind of desiccate it to a level where you where everything’s at. And at the final days when you bring in an excavator and deep digs it all to be sure that there are no older structures underneath, the reality that one has lived in for a few weeks or so disappears.

Did we find anything older? Perhaps! We found a hearth that might be prehistoric – but we’ll have to wait for the 14c analysis. We also found a well underneath one of the houses; it is ca 3 x 3 meter large. We’ve dug about three meters in depth as well though we didn’t get to the bottom of it, the arm of the excavator wasn’t long enough. The well was filled with old building materials and such and had been so since before the house was built, so it’s older but probably not prehistoric.

The well


To sign of this particular dig I leave you all with a few finds

A horse hoof found within one of the houses!

A bone from a frog, always fun to find small bones as well.

A tool of some sorts, or rather a part of a tool, perhaps a stylus. The material is yet uncertain but it might be made of tortoise shell.

Another tool, made out of antler.

Though the dig is done I’ve still got a few days of work in Linköping and I’ve got plenty of pictures so there will be a few more posts from or about Linköping.

Magnus Reuterdahl

The excavation has been carried out by Östergötlands County museum.

Excavations at Konserthusparken in Linköping; summery week two

From the left; Christer, Hanna, me and Lena
From the left; Christer, Hanna, me and Lena

Another week has passed and on Monday we move on to the final week of excavations at Konserthusparken. This week has been dedicated to the constructions in the northen part of the shaft. We have dug down through the floor of one of the buildings and found several postholes and the delimitation of the structures, in the second “house” we more or less found the delimitations but we still need to dig through the floor.

We’ve found several finds that helps us to date the buildings to the 18th century hence we do believe that they were erected for the purpose of the construction of either the bishops mansion, ca 1730, or in connection with work on the dome in the mid and late 18th century. The finds constitutes of ceramic shards, animal bones, clay pipes and molten iron and glass slag. The iron slag indicates some kind of iron production or refinement though we have not found any further evidence for this except the slag.

My favourite find this week is this part of a bone flute, I’ve found it at the bottom the floor layer and I think it is really cool.

There is one more week of excavation then it seems as I might get a few extra days working with the finds, cleaning, washing, sorting and on top of that make a small osteological review of the findings.

Next week I will attend a walk through of the medieval cellars of Linköping, very exacting and I hope for some great pictures, and I will visit the ruins of the 12th century church St Lars that actually are preserved under the floor of the present St Lars church, how cool isn’t that.

I’ll get back to you with pictures, excavation results and more!

For you who happens to read Swedish this article in the local paper was published on the dig.

The excavation is being carried out by Östergötlands County museum.


Magnus Reuterdahl

A report from Linköping part 4

The sun has returned and makes us break sweat in the heat as the excavation continues. We’re in a bit of a hurry at moment, as often happens on exploration digs, so its full speed ahead. At the moment we’re digging our way through a floor to find the bottom layer and through this we hope to see what the different areas of the structures been used for, by studies of the finds and where they’ve been found.

Here we are four archaeologists working on a line, all four of us doing hard archaeology; Christer, Hanna, me and Lena.

Some recent finds;

A knife from the 16th or 17th century.



A mussel shell

This bone is part of the maxilla belonging to a dog. Most bones we find on this dig belongs to cattle, sheep or goat, pigs and can be categorized as leftovers. On occasion we’ve found bones like this one that doesn’t belong to that group.


A vertebrae from a cod shows that fish has been on the menu as well.

In a big posthole I’ve been excavating for a few days we’ve found the remains of a large post, ca 3 x 3 dm that has been stuck ca a meter down the earth. In the filling we’ve found several stones from older construction such as this.


The posthole is ca 3 meters x 1 meter large and ca one meter deep. We believe that the post has been the main post in this building and that there has been smaller post along the walls that has hold a roof of some sort over the structure. The brown stuff at the bottom is the remains of the post, we’ve secured a large portion of it for possible analysis but it is quite rotten and very frail.

I’ll summarize this week on Saturday. 


Magnus Reuterdahl

The excavation is being carried out by Östergötland County museum.

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