Tag Archives: Jönköpings läns museum

War time archaeology in Jönköping

Jönköping County museum has started a blog (in Swedish), that seems promising. There are several interesting projects that are on the go in Jönköping at the moment. One is the search for a battle field site at Dumme mosse. A battle held in 1567 where as many as 2000 man battled it out, for the Swedes it was a futile battle, an army of farmers against the Danish professionals. The mission for the swedes were to delay the Danes enough to evacuate and burn Jönköping city and Jönköping castle. Archaeologists in Jonkoping now believes they identified the site – and this year they are going out to further establish this… read more about on the blog (Google translate or nicetranslator.com should do the the trick).

Another exiting project concerns Jonkoping castle. It was situated just south of lake Vettern, on the north west shore of lake Munksjön. At the site was originally a Franciscan monastery built in the late 13th century. In 1544 king Gustav Vasa decided that a castle should be build on the site, an used the monastery as a base. Jonkoping was burned down in 1567 and in 1612 both times during warfare with the Danes. During the early 17th century the castle was rebuilt and modernized but when Jonkoping no longer was a border city toward Denmark the functionality of the castle vanished. When it once again burnt down in 1737 it never was restored. During the 19th century the city needed to expand and so part for part the castle was demolished and in 1871 the last parts were gone… or so we all thought.

In 2010 archaeologists at the museum did a georadar survey of the area and found that lots of remains still were “standing” under ground. Later this year parts of the castle will be excavated and opened for the public eye.

The Danes did not always win as this picture is proof of – the battle at Friderichsödde painted by Erik Dahlberg (1625-1702) 1657. The battle at Friedrichsödde (aka Fredriks udde and today Fridericĭa) took place in the autumn of 1657. General Wrangel led the Swedish attack and won the battle. I can’t say I know much about it – the picture though shows a castle that is not unlike what Jonkoping castle might have looked like in the mid 17th century. Though the city itself was not that well protected.

I look forward to the excavtions and will follow the results!

Magnus Reuterdahl

A few words on prehistoric and historic wine imports, etc.

Detta inlägg finns på svenska på min vinblogg Aqua Vitae (This post is a translation from Swedish that was originally posted at my wine blog Aqua Vitae)

The Stockholm wine puller guilds emblem

A few weeks ago I wrote about the discovery of a unique wine bottle, found on the sea bed of the Stockholm archipelago in the 1940s and was rediscovered in Vin- och Sprithistoriska museet (the Wine and Spirits Historical Museum) collections a couple weeks ago, read more here. Since then, I been reading up a little on Scandinavian wine imports in prehistoric and historic times, read about vindragarna (the wine pullers) and their guild here (in Swedish), and got hold of some information that I present below. This is but a few scattered notes.

An interesting detail that the Groot Constantia bottle tells us is that wine was imported by the bottle. I have previously thought wine to be primarily imported in barrels or the like and then bottled in this country before sale. There are several examples of this, for example in the archaeological record from the neighbourhoods Apeln and Diplomaten in the city Jönköping – where archaeologist found several shards from bottles and bottle seals made in the Björkenäs glass works on Värmdö (1736-1786), outside of Stockholm. Björknäs glass works made bottles for wine and spirits among other things. The excavation was made by Jönköping County museum a few years ago.

Groot Constanz wine bottle

Via the Wine and Spirits Historical Museum in Stockholm I got an article by Karen Hjort describing the family Schulin’s wine cellar during the 1700s. The article is based on documents from Frederiksdal castle archives in Denmark. The oldest list is from 1744 and  about 50 years older than the bottle found in the Stockholm archipelago. It runs through until 1808. Records show which wines you might expect to find in a bourgeois family in Scandinavia at this time, but also from which countries they imported wine. Johan Sigismund Schulin (1694-1750) had worked in the Executive Board of generalpostamtet (the Post) in Denmark, he was secretary of the German Kancelli etc and finished his career as a contemporary equivalent of foreign minister.

In the first note 504 bottles are quoted: 9 ½ bottles of unfamiliar wine, three samples (a bit unsure of what is meant by sample but it’s not bottles) of Madeira, three samples of Mosel and Rhinsk wine, one Rhone wine, one Burgundy wine and ½ bottle of cherry wine, 83 bottles of English beer and 6 ½ bottle juice. In addition to this there are three oksehoveder (a measure) and 2 ahn and an one anchor rhinsk wine, translated this should be about 700 liters of red wine and 340 liters of Rhine wine. On the list is also mentioned usquebak which is synonymous with whiskey. Among the types of wine are notes of red wines, Pontac, Hermitage, Burgundier, Riinsk wine, French wine, Muscatvin, Samosvin, Mathers, Cote Roti, Constanze, Capvine, Hvid Capvin, Ungarsk wine, Syracuservin, Florentiervin, Peter Semeng etc.

I found this translation table on the measurement oksehoved from 1647 for wine (obviously different dimensions for different products) = 1 ½ Amme = 6 anchor = 240 potter = about 232.5 litres.

A quick glance at these facts shows that there are wines from several regions and countries – many of which still today are among the major regions. Wines from South Africa – the Constanza is there as well – that’s the winery that produced the wine in the bottle found outside of Stockholm. It is mentioned that there is both red and white Contstanz. The white sweet wine was the more famous. In the second half of the 1700s, the Constanz wine, and then the white sweet in particular, became hugely popular among the European aristocracy and was so until the 1880s when wine production in South Africa was hit by phylloxera.

Later on in the documents one can find several other interesting comments such as wines from more other regions, such as Margaux and Médoc, and names of wine merchants, such as Toyon. In total 2799 bottles made its way through the cellar between 1744-1808.

Let’s goback some years in time to the Swedish Middle Ages (1050-1523 AD). In Hans Hildebrands book Sverige Medletiden (Sweden the Middle Ages) it is stated the following on beer and wine; Beer plays the biggest role and can be called the national drink of the time, but wine is also mentioned. The first mention is regarding the funeral of Birger Persson in 1328 AD when three kinds of wine were served; white wine, Rhine wine and red wine from La Rochelle. During the 1500s there are references to wines from Klarethe (Claret, Clairet = Bordeaux), Malmarsey (possibly Italy and wines from grapes Malvasia), from Romani in Spain, Odersberg in Schleisen and from Thorn in Germany. The Wine imports in 1539 were nearly 50 000 litres – compared to Systembolaget’s (the Swedish Monopoloy) sales of wine in 2010 that amounted to 182 471 261 liters (Link in Swedish). In the encyclopedia Medeltidens ABC (the ABC of the Middle Ages), it is said that wine was imported by the aristocracy and the church, the majority of the wine came from Germany. From this book you can also get an idea of the price of wine at 14th century in Sweden. The wine from La Rochelle that were served at the funeral in 1328 costed 12 mark penningar per barrel (ca 150 litres), while the Rhine wine costed about 8 mark penningar per barrel. Compare this with the salary of a craftsman at the time which was about 45 mark penningar/year + food and drink or a farm labourer who earned about one mark penningar money for the summer and half a mark penningar during the winter months at the time. Wine was a luxury product and not for the common man.

The wines are usually shipped in heavy wooden barrels, which made long-distance wine trade in principle only possible through waterways. The long journeys often made the delicate wine go bad. Because of this it was often seasoned with ginger, cloves and or nutmeg. Another popular combination was Klaret and Rhine wine seasoned with sugar, honey, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves. Then the wine was trickled from the spices, King Gustav Vasa’s (1496-1560 AD) court had it’s own brewer for this, Kilian Vintappare. Another type of spiced wine was Lutendank, a spiced wine mixed with milk (I’m pretty sure I don’t want to taste that!).

There are written sources and archaeological materials that indicate that wine was imported to Scandinavia before the Middle ages. During the Viking Age one can guess that the Vikings came in contact with wine during their journeys to Greece, France and Spain etc, but also through the travels through today’s Russia to the Black Sea and back. When Sweden became Christian during the late Viking Age and the early Middle Ages the wine import became institutionalized as the Church needed wine for communion.

The history of wine begins, however, long before this – the oldest traces have been dated to about 6000 BC. It is believed that the oldest wines were red and the white wines were added later. An early exampel of white wine is that found in amphoraes in Tutankhamen (death cirka1339 BC) tomb. As wine became a commodity it had to be transported and sealed. In antiquity they were transported in amphorae, which were sealed with pitch or resin. Sometimes they were provided with a layer of olive oil on top of the wine’s surface, as in the German example below. They also stirred down different spices and sulfur in order to extend the life of the wine. During the Roman Empire they began to store and transport the wine in barrels (wooden barrels) besides the traditional way of amphorae.

©Historisches Museum der Pfalz

That wine was transported in antiquity is obvious – there are plenty of amphorae around the Mediterranean as proof of that. The oldest complete wine bottle with contents is in the Historical Museum of Palatinate in Germany. It is a ca 1600 years old Roman wine bottle with dolphin-shaped handles, dating to 325 AD. It was found in a Roman stone sarcophagus during excavations 1867. Amazingly, there were and still is some liquid remaining in it, two thirds is viscous and probably some kind of olive oil poured in for preservative reasons. They have also found traces of honey. Underneath this was residues of wine. The contents were analysed in 1916 by senior inspector Schmidt and Professor Halenke. The result showed that it most likely contained wine together with olive oil. Further analysis was done in1934 and 1937/1938 by Professor Grüß and Professor von Stockmann in Berlin. Their findings were never published and was lost, unfortunately, during World War II. The museum’s former director, Dr. Karl Schulz wrote in the 50’s that during the analysis they found scent of aromatic wine. The taste is unknown – no one has tasted the wine. There are currently no plans for new analysis.

The wine bottle can be seen in the “Weinmuseum” as part of the permanent exhibition at the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer. The image is reproduced with the authorization of the museum.

Link to the Historical museum of the Palatinate (Historisches Museum der Pfalz)

A big thanks goes to the Historisches Museum der Pfalz for information and accessrights to the image.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Hjort, Karen 2003. En fornem vinlaelder. Siden Saxo 2003:01. Danmark

Hildebrand, Hans (1983 nytryck). Sveriges Medeltid, del 2, Städerna.

Medeltidens ABC

Muntliga källor

Claes Pettersson, Jönköpings läns museum

Ludger Tekampe, Historisches Museum der Pfalz

Attack of the silverfishes

Jönköping County museum closes its exhibitions until May 2012 because of a need to sanitize the facilities due to silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) aka fishmoths, carpet sharks or paramites. Silver fish are small, wingless insects who live on a diet of carbohydrates such as starches – not all that great in a museum. Especially not one with plenty of art in their collection – among them a nice collection of local artist John Bauer (1882-1918) – known among other things for his great images of trolls, goblins, princesses and fairies etc.

To prevent future problems better ventilations will be installed to ensure the collections. In the meantime the museum will exhibit elsewhere in the County and so perhaps reach new audiences. As the asying goes; There’s nothing bad that does not bring any good.

Illustration from Walter Stenström’s The boy and the trolls or The Adventure in childrens’ anthology Among pixies and trolls, a collection of childrens’ stories, 1915 ( picture from Wikipedia). In this picture the Trolls watches princess Tuvstarr by Johan Bauer.

Source: Jönköpings läns museum and Local web paper Jnytt.se

Jonkoping County Museum City exhibit 2010

The new city exhibit is quite small but contains a lot of information. It is placed part from the museum in the new city archive wing, the entrance is through the city library.

In short the exhibit can be divided into 7 parts – the road into the city a – almost like a bridge that is illustrated by a reconstruction of the old city road flanked by a large photo of road workers of the first part of the 20th century. This part is made in the passage from the library to the exhibit which is made of glass; this creates a feeling of coming from an open landscape into the murkiness of the city.

A medieval bone flute with a runic inscription “GUD” (God). To the left a part of the reconstructed main road.

Inside of the city a large city map from 1874 meets the eye and in front of that what looks like a well.

The exhibit is created around a round square where four displays and the map gives focus to different parts of a city, city life and the history of the city. The well is not quite a well but a hole to an archaeological context – a window to what was found underground at this place.

While at the map one can stop and think of how the city has evolved since 1874 and what is left of 19th century Jonkoping – in information pamphlets a lot of information on the city’s history is available from the oldest sources, 13th century and fourth, and why different changes have come about – where was the first castle placed? It is mentioned in three documents from 1278; SRS III “obcessum est csatrum Junacopie”, SRS II “castrum Jonacopense” and SRAp “datum in castro Junakøpung” in castro Jonkoping. There are also other sources but none points out the exact place of the now lost castle. Intereseting in is old documents are also to look on the spelling of the city. The name Jonkoping is derived from two parts Jon- probably June as in a small stream called Junebäcken, today almost non-visible if you don’t know where it once run its course (If I remember correctly it is tunnelled today). My thought is that this is of such importance when concerning Jonkoping’s history that if possible it should be opened again. The second word is –koping and roughly means place of commerce.

In the first display the bourgeois of the 19th and early 20th century is displayed; what was produced in the city, who did people live etc. The next display concerns mass-culture such as sport and pop music. Several bands and artists are displayed via eps (singles), posters and articles. In one of the photos from a concert – the young police man in the middle is possibly my father (red circle) ca 1967-1969 (I got another picture where he is and I’m not quite sure as the police man in this picture looks down and is not quite visible).

In the third and fourth displays Jonkoping is seen through the eyes of archaeologists; graves, finds from different industries and reconstructions of the later Jonkoping castle, built in the mid 16th century around the medieval Franciscan convent (1283-to ca 1540). The castle was destroyed in a fire 1737 and was finally demolished during the 1860’s and 70’s – today one can get glimpses of the castle when and if excavations are carried out.

Now this was it – a nice little exhibition filled with a lot of information for residences as well as tourists, well worth a detour!

Best wishes

Magnus Reuterdahl

Happy Easter ya’ll

For Easter I’m going to Jonkoping to visit my parents, while I’m there I’ll visit the new exhibit at Jonkoping county museum on Jonkoping’s history.

I’m somewhat excited; Jonkoping County Museum (JLM) has done several interesting excavations on remains dating to the 17th and 18th century and will be interesting to see what those excavations have brought to the exhibit. “Downtown” Jonkoping was moved during the 17th century east of the mediaeval centre due to political factors. Jonkoping was probably established as a town during the 12th or 13th century, the oldest papers that name Jonkoping a city is dated to 1284 AD, and will probably be on display as well. Not much of the medieval Jonkoping has survived until today, at least not above ground. During later years a few excavations in the medieval part of the town has been made so there might also be some “new” finds from them. There has been two castles in Jonkoping, the first is mentioned in texts from the 13th and 14th century and the later was build ca 1600 AD. No visible remains of the castle are left, though JLM has opened a few trenches and found parts of walls etc. If I’ve understood it right part of the exhibit concerns the castle.

Once upon a time several Bronze Age cairns was about, most famous is perhaps the  Sagaholm mound, as far as I know all are gone – most since the turn of the 20th century – some were excavated, as the Sagaholm mound and revealed interesting finds; among them several curbstones with carved images, no unlike the Kivik cairn.

In addition to this, I have a bag of books / reports that await me and my local book dealer also has a box or two with interesting new acquisitions. It’s a risk of my being broke before leaving Jonkoping this weekend.

The week after Easter I’ll go to Halland County and an archaeological investigation for a wind farm and then it’s off to Kronoberg County, where two preliminary archaeological investigations are to be performed. The field season is finally ongoing – spring is really here!

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”

Two books on very different subjects

As I wrote I’ve gotten two new books, as far as I know they’re only available in Swedish. The first is written by Jan Agertz and Adel Vestbo-Franzén at Jonkoping County museum and called Visingsös bebyggelse och landskap i äldre lantmäterikartor och 1500-talets handlingar which translates to the Settlements and landscape of the island Visingsö as recorded in older surveying maps and the 16th century public and legal documents.


The island Visingsö is very interesting from archaeological and historical aspects as very little of the infrastructure have changed since the end 16th century. The place names are the same, a lot of the prehistoric and historic landscape has been preserved ’til today.

A nice and interesting publication that I as yet only have gazed through and I think that I have to rethink some previous ideas that I had. I’ll come back to it as I’ve read it more through fully; there are a few question marks that I’ve scribbled in the marginal.

The book is available through the Jonkoping County museum.  

Another book I’ve been waiting on is Perry Johansson’s Sinofilerna – Kinakunskap och politik från Sven Hedin till Jan Myrdal which translates to The Sinofilerna – Knowledge, collecting and politics – from Sven Hedin to Jan Myrdal. As I understand this is a critical study of the Swedish explorers, scientists etc that has worked in China or with Chinese materials during the 20th century. Johan Gunnar Andersson, Bernhard Karlgren, Sven Hedin and Jan Myrdal have gotten a chapter of critique each. I’ve heard both good and bad about this book so I’ll try to read it with open eyes. For me personally the chapter concerning Johan Gunnar Andersson, who among other things identified the Yangshao culture, is perhaps the most interesting. As I’ve scimmed the pages I’ve noticed a few parts where I think that I have a diffrent poisition or perception than the author, but I’ll hold these thoughts to myself for now.


I’ll come back to this book as soon as possible.


Magnus Reuterdahl

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