2011 ended with a bang – a storm named Dagmar hit Sweden with force, together with the storm Cato.
An uprooted tree on an Iron Age settlement, Medelpad 2011
Between 2005-2007 I worked with the effects on ancient monuments and remains after two other storms; Gudrun (2005) & Per(2006). Gudrun herself was responsible for damages on at least 75 million cubic meters of forest. In Kronoberg county in the southern parts of Sweden more than 900 ancient remains or monuments were damaged in some part, in 180 cases the damages was thought to be serious enough to do efforts to do some kind of archaeological restoration.
Dagmar weren’t quite so vicious as Gudrun but managed to damage ca 4,5 million cubic meters of forest, most in Medelpad in Västernorrland county and in Hälsingland. Currently I work at the Administrative board of Västernorrland county so me and a couple of others went on a small excursion around the city Sundsvall to see how and if the storm had affected the ancient remains. We visited about 10 places, some we knew were damaged, some due to their location. Seven of these were affected in some way or another, mainly by uprooted trees and trees laying upon the remains. This was a flash-back of the Gudrun days.
An uprooted tree between two houses of cultural historic value, Medelpad 2011
Info sign among storm felled trees, on Iron Age Settlement, Medelpad 2011
Uprooted trees on an Iron Age grave field, Medelpad 2011
Four uprooted trees on arow on an Iron Age grave field, Medelpad 2011
How much damage has been inflicted is difficult to estimate at this stage, both concerning the specific places we visited and how many in the County that has been affected. Before such estimations can be done the storm felled trees must first be removed and a survey be done.
The snow makes it more diffcult to see the monuments, here an Iron Age mound that made it through the storm without damages.
Let’s hope the damages aren’t all that severe, as in this last case.
Where in Sweden are we - see the red ring
When we’re out on archaeological surveys for ancient monuments and historic remains we sometimes encounters remnants that do not quite meet the criteria, the criteria being permanently abandoned. Such remnants can be abandoned farms and houses still standing and in some cases provided for, at least enough to not fall apart. Sometimes it lies on the border, the two houses, shown below, does not have many years left before they can be registered as historic remains in form of house foundations. Even if they are on the ropes, they still hold a kind of desolate beauty, they are still vital enough to tell tales of their late owners, in and around them are evidence of how their lives.
House number one, from a distance it seems quite ok, but when you get closer you see that it has began to fall apart.
The entrance is more or less overtaken by plants.
You can see the inner construction of the roof through an opening in the wall.
Inside, the ceiling is about to collapse…
…in a corner a bed with the madras is left…
…and on the wall, a picture of a young woman has been left…
…on a nail a couple of old pants have been hung, to dry?
The second house just 20 meters away is closer to a collapse, the roof has fallen in and the walls are well on their way to give up.
These abandoned buildings will be tomorrow’s historic remains in soon future. They are situated just outside of our working area so who knows we might come back in a year or two and find that they have fallen down and register them.