Tag Archives: grave field

A visit to Högom

The other day I visited one of the better known ancient monuments in Västernorrlands county; the Högom grave field in Sundsvall. When most hear about big mounds they think of Uppsala Mounds or other big mounds in the lake Mälaren region or further south in Sweden, but there are also several big mounds in the north.

Today there are 10 mounds at the grave field, but there are have been more, at least 7 have been excavated or been dug away over the years. The mounds that are visible are between 5-40 meter in diameter. Five of the visible mounds are excavated and rebuilt, three big mounds and 2 smaller. Excavtions have made in 1949-50, 1954, 1956, 1960 and 1984. The finds are rich, some of the graves are chamber graves, and they are dated to 400-500 AD. Among the finds are east and west land bronze pots, weapons, wine glasses, parts of horse equipment etc. etc.

Finds of an older settlement has been found underneath and in between the graves, among them post holes from at least one long house.

The grave field, the house foundations and the findings in Högom is outstanding. They tell a tale of a centre of power not unlike those found at Uppsala or Bertnem in Norway.

On the grave field is also a rune stone, it’s not on it’s original place, it has been moved several times and the original placement is unfortunatly been lost. This one of only 18 runic inscriptions in Medelpad. This has the signum M 11 and is dated to the Viking Age/Middle Age.

The inscription is:

kunuþr auk þurkairþ| |þaun -itu raisa st(a)(i)(n) aftiR þurstain sun sin in aun auk auntr bruþr hons

Gunnviðr and Þorgerðr, they had the stone raised in memory of Þorsteinn, their son. And Aun and Eyndr were his brothers.

A fantastic place, come and visit it 🙂

Magnus Reuterdahl

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Pictures from Öland

During weekends past I’ve taking the car for a few tours around Öland. Here are few pictures on a few of the great cultural heritage sites just waiting for visits.

Borgholm castle ruin, just south of Borgholm.

 At the southern tip of the island is the lighthouse Långe Jan (Tall Jan)

  

This grave field (raa 24:1) is situated in Segerstad parish its, it’s rich in combinations of different grave forms, mounds of different size and shape, stones that mark graves etc. These grave fields are normallt dated to the Iron Age though some individual graves might be older.

 

Rune stone Öland 18 (Öl 18). The inscription translated to English reads Ingjaldr and Nefr and Sveinn, they raised (the stone) in memory of Hróðmarr, their father.

 

Ancient fort Triberga. There is an ongoing discussion how these forts has been used, as a refuge in trouble times or something else. Most of them were build during the Iron Age though has also been used during the middle ages. In some there are remains of houses and in some burials have been found.

 

Finally a wind mill, a common site on the island. I’ll be back with more in coming posts.

Magnus Reuterdahl


I’ll be digging in Stockholm

Got unemployed last week but things are all ready brighter as I’ll start working on a new project on Wednesday next week for Sweden’s oldest private archaeology company Arkeologikonsult, in the business since 1988.

I’ll be working on an excavation, in Stockholm, on a gravefield dated to the late Viking Age/early Middle Ages the coming three or four weeks.

It will be great as I’ll work with Johan Klange, whom I’ve been working on the Yangshaoproject, and with osteologist/archaeologist Leif Johnsson, whom I worked with in Kronoberg and with Arkeologicentrum, among others.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Two books from yesteryears

I bought a couple of books today. The first is about the Swedish author Gustav Hedenvind-Eriksson (1880-1967) by Örjan Lindberger. I hadn’t a clue who he was but I was attracted by the rune stone on the book cover.

I flipped through the pages and found another picture that caught my eye, a picture of a Viking age sword handle and scanned the closet pages – concerning an archaeological excavation he participated in under dr Knut Kjellmark (1866-1944) of Viking Age graves at Röstahammar, Jämtland. As the price was 5 sek (ca 0,75 US $ or 0,60 €) there really wasn’t much to talk about.

As I got back I googled Hedenvind-Eriksson and found that there is a Hedenvind society (Hedenvind-sällskapet) that had lots information on him and his life.

Hedenvind was born in the village Gubbhögen in Alanäs parish in the northern parts of Jamtland. He didn’t get much schooling and left his home at the age of 15 to work as a lumberjack, as a rafter, as a navvy, as a sailor etc. In 1903 he got the chance to get back to school, at a folk high school, near Östersund called Birka. At the time archaeologist dr Knut Kjellmark, perhaps best known for his work in Småland (in southern parts Sweden), worked as teacher in History and in 1904 he let Hedenvind be part of the excavation of a Viking Age grave field in Röstahammar, the results are described in Ymer 1905. Hedenvind was inspired of this as an author which can be read in works such as Järnets gåta (the mystery of iron) and Jämtländska sagor (sagas from Jamtland) (1941). Hedenvind first book was published in 1910; Ur en fallen skog (From a felt forest) he was one of the pioneers in Swedish autodidact working class authors and was a big influence on coming authors in the genre. He mixed realism and myths to a writing style of his own where he often describes the situations for navvys and their life, several novels concerns Jamtland and the northern parts of Sweden, about the forests and about forestry.

Some of his better known later works, include a book I actually own and have read Jorms saga (1949), and Jämtändska sagor (1941), Sagofolket som kom bort (the people of the sagas that was lost) (1946) and Gismus jägares saga (the saga of the hunter Gismus) (1959). In these books he takes a starting point in stories he remembered from his childhood, existential questions such as religion and culture.

“To look back at ones own history is like rowing: the direction is forward, but the gaze is directed backwards, and field of view continually extends.” Quote by Hedenvind translated by Magnus Reuterdahl

It’s often said that you should judge a book by its cover, and mostly I agree with that statement, but sometimes the cover gives you just enough to catch your eye which might lead to an interesting adventure or to new knowledge. In this I learned something new and I feel that a walk to library is in order to read up on some of his work.

I’m not sure but it’s possible that some of his works is translated to English, I think I’ve seen Jorm’s saga in English somewhere for example.

For another fiver I got Sten Bergman’s (1895 – 1975) Min far är kannibal from 1959 published in English in 1961 under the title My Father Is A Cannibal.

This book concerns one of his scientific journeys to Papua New Guinea in 1956, where he and his wife were adopted by the Cannibal Chief, Pinim, and his wife, Akintjes, in a dramatic ceremony. In the book he describes the nature and animals he studied such as the tree kangaroos and the forest turkey. During his stay he kept company with the native Papuans which he describes as primitive and still living a Stone Age kind of life and being cannibals. I read parts of this book several years ago and there are things that can be said of the descriptions of the Papuans, though one has to read them in their historic context. If I remember it correctly it was an enthralling read, we’ll see what I think of it today.

Sten Bergman was a Swedish biologist and zoologist and is perhaps best known for his expeditions to Kamtchatka 1920-23, The Kuril Islands 1929-30, Korea 1935-36 and Papua New Guinea 1948-50, 1952-53 och 1956-59. More can be read on the website Sten Bergman Upptäcktsresor i bild (Pictures from expedition), in Swedish but with great photos.

On the website a project regarding Sten Bergman’s travels and research is presented with the aim of making a documentary, a book and an exhibition with his photos. I’ll keep a look out on what’s happening about that and write a few words on the book.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Dolmens Froboke type

This week the field season started with a survey in Bredaryd parish in Halland. As I’ve been sitting in the office for a few months the body is not quite ready for action – every limb feels sore after a few days of hiking in the country side – still it’s great to be outdoors again.

On the way to the survey I passed the grave field Froboke and took a couple of pictures. This grave field is perhaps most known for a fascinating type of burial monuments called Iron Age dolmens, which originally was called Fröböke dolmens after this site. The grave field is located in Bredary parish, Halland, a few miles from Halmstad.

Photo at the south part of the grave filed towards north

Photo from the middle part of the gravfield towards the south part

I’ve written about Iron Age dolmens before, here and here. In short Iron Age dolmens can be found on grave fields in the south west part of Sweden; in the west part of Smaland, in Halland and in the south west part of Vastra Gotaland. They are generally dated to ca 500 B.C. – 400 A.D. and only a few have been excavated. This type of burial monuments was first described in 1876 while the road next to the grave filed was built.

The north part of the grave field

The grave field at Froboke is quite small and consists of seven visible grave monuments; three Iron Age dolmens and four erected stones. The grave field has probably been larger but have been diminished over time due to agriculture and road works in historic and modern times. Two archaeological excavations have been carried out at the grave field in 1914 and 1933 – among the finds is a glass bead, cremated bones and pieces of quartz. The “complete” Iron Age dolmen just next to the road was restored in the end of the 19th century, it’s possible that some kind of excavation was carried out then as well.

The reconstructed Iron Age dolmen

Not all that chatch my eye is of cultural historic interest, like this spider’s web.

Next week I’ll be in Växjo in Kronobergs County doing more archaeological work.

Magnus Reuterdahl


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