Tour in Denmark and Sweden, June/July 2004

   

 

Contents

Introduction (Raw historical scale of Scandinavia)

Denmark

Lolland

1. Kong Svends Høj
2. Ravnsby (Ravnsborg)

Møn

3. Busemarkedyssen/Skaglevaddyssen
4. Kong Asgers Høj
5. Klekkende Høj

Sweden

Småland

1. Ubbes grav
2. Grave Field near Skatelöv
3. Inglinge Hög
4. Gullhögarna
5. House Foundation near Mästreda
6. Grave Field in Lenhovda's Folks Park
7. Rock Carving near Oskarshamn

Öland

1. Mysinge Hög
2. Rune stone in Runsten (Lerkaka)
3. Ancient Fortress near Ismantorp
4. Noaks ark (Noah's ark)
5. Karlevistenen (Karlevi's stone)

 

Gotland

1. Gannarve Ship Setting
2. Maze in Fröjel Church's yard
3. Vallhagar
4. Picture Stone and Rune Stone in the Hablingbo Church
5. Uggarderojr (the Tumuli of Uggarde)
6. Lejsturojr (The Tumulus of Lejstu)
7. Gålrum Grave Field
8. Gnisvärd
9. Galgberget Maze
10. Ancient Fortress of Fole Granar
11. Bro Sacrifice Well
12. Bro Shrews of Stone (Bro Stainkälingar)
13. Torsburgen
14. Norlanda Fornstuga (small open-air museum for local history in reconstructed Norse houses)
15. Tjelvar's Grave
16. Lilla Bjärs
17. Hjulkorsgraven
 

 

Introduction

Raw Historical Scale of Scandinavia

Post glacial Era
(Palaeolithic Age)
Early Stone Age
(Mesolithic Age)
Late Stone Age
(Neolithic Age)
Bronze Age Iron Age Vikings' era
13000 - 9000 BC 9000 - 4000 BC 4000 - 1800 BC 1800 - 500 BC 500 BC - 750 AD 750 - 1050 AD
Tundra to small forests. The land is covered by forests.   Temperatures warm up to levels similar to today’s Mediterranean climate. The climate becomes approx. the same as nowadays.  
    Hunebeds The Tumulus Culture from Central Europe is adopted.    
The first invaders arrive around 13000 BC.
Hunting nomads.
Hunters and fishers live in seasonal dwellings. Small groups live in permanent dwellings.
The people begin to cultivate the land and have domestic animals.
Commerce of amber and flints.
Metal is imported from southern countries. People gather in villages.
The commerce with other countries is intensified.
Iron is used for tools and weapons.
The contacts between North and South become very intensive.

The vikings practice intensive trade, raiding and colonisation.

Ahrensburg Culture
Bromme Culture
Hamburg Culture
Maglemose Culture
Kongemose Culture
Ertebølle Culture
Hensbacka Culture
Sandarna Culture
Lihult Culture
Kvarts-Skiffer Culture
Trichterbecherkultur (TRB,"Funnel Beakers Culture") Tumulus Culture    
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(Sources: Wikipedia (in Swedish), www.visitmoen.com/tysk/Resources/Gravhoj%20-D.pdf (in German), Home at First)

Note: If not indicated under "For More Information", my sources for the information provided below are mostly the information boards on-site.

 

Denmark

Isle of Lolland

Situation of the Sites

I copied this map from MapBlast!.

 

The Monuments

Kong Svends Høj (King Svend's Mound), Svindsbjerg


The big megaliths used to ornament the front and the rear side 
of the King Svend's Mound witness the intention for a monumental 
aspect.

Side entry of the tomb.

Period of Erection: Around 5200 BC

Found in the Monument: The excavations around 1780 found the grave empty. Only a jaw bone was found in 1875. Pottery fragments has been found outside the monument at both sides of the entry.

General Information: This mound is one of the biggest in Denmark. It has been used after its completion as a ritual and sacrifice site.

My Notes: The interior comprise only one long room. The wall and the ceiling are made out of large megaliths. The gaps are filled with sandstones. The monument has a very peculiar rectangle shape with monumental and ornamenal megaliths at each extremity.

Since King Svend is a viking (who lived around 1000 AD), the mound has actually not been erected for him. Only the legend has made his tomb out of this monument. Because of the pottery fragments found outside the monument, one can think that the monument was in use though the period of the Trichterbecherkultur ("funnelbeaker-culture", abbreviated "TRB"). The people of the TRB invaded the North of Europe and lived there in the 3rd millenium BC and had an ancestors cult. They used to put beakers filled with food and drinks as a sacrifice outside their monuments. The mound has thus problably not been used for a single person, but as a collective tomb.

For More Information: Ravnsborg Lokalhistoriske Forening (in Danish, contains an overview of the monument), Danske fortidsminder (in Danish)

About the TRB: Wikipedia (in German)

Jean-Pierre Cohen: Cultes et rituels mégalithiques - Les sociétés néolitiques de l'Europe du nord. Collection Terres mégalithiques. 2003, Editions La maison des roches, France. ISBN: 2-912691-18-4

 

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Ravnsby

Period of Erection: Approx. 1331 AD

My Notes: This is a little stronghold that was erected and used during the Middle Age. It stands directly toward the see. The base of the walls are still to be seen at the top of the little hill.

For More Information: Burg Ravnsborg / Ravnsby - Dänemark (general information in German, with a map of the site)

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Isle of Møn

Situation of the Sites

I copied this map from MapBlast!.

 

Busemarkedyssen/Skaglevaddyssen

Period of Erection: ??? (probably around 5000 BC)

My Notes: This fine monument stands in the middle of a field and is not accessible by the public. It looks very similar to Kong Svends Høj  in its construction. No information was given on the site.

For More Information: www.visitmoen.com/tysk/Resources/Gravhoj%20-D.pdf (in German)

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Kong Asgers Høj (King Asger's Mound)

   

Period of Erection: Around 2500 BC.

My Notes: The monument consists in a long corridor leading to the chamber. As for King Svends Høj, the monument has not been erected for one person only but has been used as a collective burrial.

Found in the Monument: Clay-vessels and an axe.

For More Information: Welcome to Insula Moenia (in English)

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Klekkende Høj

   

Period of Erection: Around 3200 BC.

My Notes: The monument is divided in two parts. The two corridors are parallel and have a separate entry. The corridors do not communicate.

Found in the Monument: Human bones, weapons of flint, ornamented clay-vessels and pearls of amber.

For More Information: Welcome to Insula Moenia (in English)

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Sweden

Sweden is very rich in archeaological monuments. Not all them are shown on the maps and you will find lots of them by chance along the roads or on your ramble path, if you pay enough attention. Just follow the signs bearing an '' or the word 'Fornminne'. Not all of them are amazingly striking, but you will sometimes have nice surprises.

 

Småland

I copied this map from MapBlast!.

 

Ubbes grav (Ubbe's grave)

   

Period of Erection: 500-1050 AD

My Notes: This lovely little ship setting is a part of a bigger grave field comprising more than 63 graves. Different kinds of monument are to be found in this grave field: 4 cairns (of the Bronze Age), 27 erected stones, 27 stone settings, 5 mounds and this ship setting (of the Iron Age). The grave ist oriented South to North.

To the history of the Monument: According to the legend, an person named Ubbe is buried there.

The grave field is place in a region which used to be at that time an economically well-established region, on a communication route. From there, it was possible to reach the ocean departing from the Äsnen lake, which lies approx. 1 km from the grave field, over the Helga river to the Helga lake.

We will see more of those ship settings of different shapes and sizes as well as other ship representations on this page. Due to the geographic aspects of Scandinavian countries, ships became there very soon the most important transport and commerce mean and a ship was an essential part of the life of the people. Just like the Celtic swords, Scandinavian ships were believed to be provided with magical aspects. Viking chiefs were incinerated with their ships. Deads were believed to be taken away by the gods on a ship to the Kingdom of Death.

Found in the Monument: Not excavated.

For More Information: ??? [nothing found about this precise monument]

About the Viking Funerals: Fire on the Water: The Myths and History of Viking Funeral (in English)

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Grave Field near Skatelöv

   

Period of Erection: 500-1000 AD

My Notes: The grave field lies along the road from Skatelöv to Torne. One can find the different grave formations like stone settings, one ship setting and raised stones.

Found in the Monument: Urns containing the burnt remainings of the dead have been placed on the ground and covered by earth. A rune stone is to be seen on the field.

For More Information:  ??? [nothing found about this precise monument]

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Inglinge Hög (Inglinge Mound)


Stone Circle at the back side of Inglinge Hög. Notice the further mound on the right side, which has been built as the same period.


Standing stone with a nicely decorated round stone at the top of Inglinge Hög.
Period of Erection: First monument build around 1500 BC; in use until approx. 1000 AD

My Notes: The Inglinge Mound is part of a larger grave field made of different monuments like mounds, standing stones and stone circles. The mounds are mostly ruined, only the Inglinge Hög itself is intact.

To the history of the Monument: The first mound of this grave field was build in the Bronze Age, i.e. around 1500 BC.

A powerful family had the Inglinge Mound build around 500 AD to honour its ancestors.

According to historians, those mounds have been used for several purposes: religious ceremonies, ancestors cult, assemblies ("Thing").

Three of the graves are from the Viking Age.

Found in the Monument: Remainings of funeral pyres.

For More Information: Småland Check-In (Actvities > Ancient Remains > Inglinge Mound) (in English)

About the "Thing": Daily Life in the Viking Period (in English)


A standing stone in the field at the rear side of
Inglinge Höj.

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Gullhögarna (the Gull Mounds)

   

Period of Erection: 500-1500 AD (Iron Age)

My Notes: A set of 17 mounds. Unfortunatly, we could not find the two stone circles (a "judgment ring" and a grave marked with a stone setting) supposed to be situated 100 m further south.

To the history of the Monument: In the Iron Age, the society began to organise in herarchical layers. The land was gouverned by "small kings", whose task was mostly to defend their vassals. Judging by the founds made in the mounds, this grave field was reserved for this warrior elite.

Found in the Monument: Fragments of urns containing the burnt bones of the dead with their goods: horseback riding and warrior equipment (like bridles, sitrrups, spurs, swords, spears, arrowheads, axes), jewels, housework ustensils.

For More Information: ??? [no elucidating document found about this precise monument]

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House Foundation near Mästreda

   

Period of Erection: Viking Period (750-1050 AD)

My Notes: We found this site by chance, as we were actually and in vain looking for the grave field supposed to be situated 550 meters south east from there.

Found in the Monument: Remainings of two hearths situated on the central line of the house floor.

To the History of the Monument: The dimension of the foundation are 6 × 20 m. The saddle roof used to lean directly on the ground. The house has been used for several purposes: dwelling, stable and store.

For More Information: ??? [nothing found about this precise monument]

About viking houses: Viking Houses (in English)

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Grave Field in Lenhovda's Folks Park

Period of Erection: The mounds were erected in the Bronze Age (1800-500 BC) and the other graves during the Iron Age (500 BC-1000 AD).

My Notes: A very beautiful and well-preserved grave field comprising many graves of different shapes: tridents, mounds, stone settings and ship settings.

Unfortunately, I could not find any documentation about those intrigating tridents in this context.
Tridents are in different cultures a symbol for the female aspect. Maybe those tridents can be put in relationship with the Celtic triskell, a symbol for trinity (life cycle, vital renewing:  birth, preservation, destruction) and sun (which is a feminine noun in Celtic and Germanic languages). According to Sabine Heinz (see reference below), the number 3 stands for the sun in the Celtic culture. Those tridents might be then an indication for a cult to the Great Mother Goddess or, at least of a sun cult. The sun is linked to the concept of life but also of death, because of the destructive aspect of heat and fire.
On the other hand, a trident is a symbol that is very commonly found in peoples who live near large bodies of water. It is a symbol of mastering over water. It is used very often as an emblem in baltic countries through to Ukrainia, where they also stand as a trinity symbol. The Ukrainian trident is knowned to have been imported from Russia, shaped out of the "Pagan trident" and added with a cross which has been removed later on. The actual shape of the original trident might then have been the one we see on the photo above. As we know that the Vikings used the route from Baltic countries throught to the Oriental world to practice their commerce and founded the Russian state, the trident as a symbol might thus have been introduced by the Scandinavian in those countries.

Found in the Monument: Only one of the ship settings has been excavated. The archeologists found incinerated bones, remainings of iron objects and glas pearls.

To the History of the Monument: The grave field used to comprise more than 300 graves. Half of them have disappeared due to the construction of residences around the field.

The grave field is a indication that Iron Age dwellings must have been in the proximity, and, actually, traces of a farm have been found north of the grave field.

For More Information: ??? [nothing found about this precise monument]

About the sun symbolism in Celts:

Heinz, Sabine: Symbole der Kelten. Schimer Verlag, Darmstadt, November 1997. ISBN: 3930944332, see article "Die Zahlen drei und vier - Sonne"

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Rock Carving near Oskarshamn

   

Period of Erection: Bronze Age (1800-500 BC)

My Notes: The carvings are quite wiped off, but you can recognise on the photo three ships (the third and less visible one is a smaller one and is to be seen at the top, on the right side of the picture) and foot soles in the right lower corner and under the right side of the lower ship. A cup is to be seen at the upper left side of the picture.

To the History and Meaning of the Monument: As we have seen with Ubbe's Grave, ships took an important share in the life of the Scandinavian and was thus believed to be provided with magical aspects. No wonder that we found it in many grave fields an now here, in a cultual place. Ships and foot soles are very common symbols used on rock carvings, which you will find in many places in Sweden. The foot soles are commonly interpreted as being the path to life after death. Ships transport the death to the Kingdom of Death.

These carvings are situated near a marshy region. Since we know that Germanic and Scandinavian people used marshes and rivers to perform sacrifices (many swords or knifes have been found thrown in marshes as a gift to the gods), one can suppose that this site was used as a sacrifice place. The digged cup could then have been use as receptacle for blood or sacrified beveries.

For More Information: ??? [nothing found about this precise monument]

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Öland

I copied this map from msn.encarta.

 

Mysinge Hög (Mysinge Mound)

   

Period of Erection: Bronze Age (1800-500 BC); The surrounding grave field have been in use from the late Stone Age through to the Iron Age (3000 BC-750 AD)

My Notes: The Mysinge Mound is the largest and best preserved monument of a grave field. The grave field used to comprise a very large variety of monuments: mounds, stone settings, raised stones, tumuli, tridents, and the remainings of a judgement ring. The Mysinge Mound and the "Gynge mound", which lies a bit farer to the North, are the two biggest monuments of this grave field.

Found in the Monument: The Mysinge mound has not been excavated, georadar investigation could only indicate the presence of a cairn under the soil. Two surrounding graves (no. 84 and 85) from the late Stone Age were excavated. Found in grave 85: 30-40 arranged skeletons of men, women and children, on lying on the side in the foetus position, fragments of pottery baring typical TRB patterns, flint axes, dagger and arrow points, flint fragments, bone needles, bone tubes, an amulet made out of human bone.

For More Information: Vällkommen upptäck Öland (in Swedish), Megalitgravar och flatmarksgravar på Öland under mellandneolitikum (in Swedish)

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Rune stone in Runsten (Lerkaka)

Period of Erection: Viking Era (around 1000 AD)

Found in the Monument: I found only a translation into Swedish of the text engraved on the stone, here is my approximate translation into English: Olaf the Ancient and the Sax raised this stone for Unn, his father, Geirvi had this memorial built for her spouse. Olof avenged Rike Unn near Miomu. Unn used to own here half a village.

For More Information: ??? [nothing found about this precise monument]

About runes: Runstenar / Rune Stones (in Swedish and English)

 

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Ancient Fortress near Ismantorp

   

Period of Erection: 300 AD

My Notes: The round fortification wall surround remaining of walls in which the structure of a town can be recognized very clearly. The structure of the former buildings and of the streets as well as the gates of the fortification has remained very well preserved.

To the History and Meaning of the Monument: Inspite of the great interest shown by acheologists and historians, the fortress has remained an enigma. The town was inhabited for only a very short period of time (300-500 AD). Considering the thin fortification wall and the nine gates, the fortress is difficult to defend, thus the defensive aspect had not been the main function of the site. The town might have been a protected commercial center, but historian have compared it also with large Slavic castles that have the same construction and were both protective fortress and religious sanctuaries.

Found in the Monument: A number of ancient items were uncovered, such as an arrowhead and an iron clasp. 

For More Information: Riksantikvarieämbetet (in English an Swedish), Catshamans essäer om forntiden (in Swedish)

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Noaks ark (Noah's ark)


Noah's Arch
Period of Erection: Around 1000 BC (Bronze Age), the same date marked the begining of the use of the remaining grave field. The grave field has been used untill the Iron Age.

My Notes: This lovely ship setting has a round stone approx. in its middle and transversal stone lines drawing the benches of the ship. It is the most striking piece of a large grave field containing graves of different shapes: most are round, but there also square and triangular stone settings. The field has also a number of standing stones.

Found in the Monument: 25 graves have been investigated. The bodies have been incinerated with their belongings. Few objects were found, like swords, lance points of iron and scabbard mountings yielded by two square graves.

For More Information: ??? [nothing found about this precise monument]

       
A round stone setting decorated with a round stone in its middle an two stone alignments in the northern part of the grave field.

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Karlevistenen (Karlevi's stone)

   

Period of Erection: Viking Era (around 1000 AD)

My Notes: This beautifully shaped and well-preserved rune stone stands in the middle of a field and has been elevated for a Danish chieftain named Sibbe.

To the history of the Monument: The stone stands in its original place. A drawing of the 16th century shows the stone surrounded by two mounds that have been destructed by the cultivation of the field.

The text on one side is written in verses. Here is an approximate translation in English, since I found only a translation into Swedish: Concealed in this mound lies the one, many knew this, who has realized the greatest exploit, the "fighting worker of Trud" (= army leader, Trud is a goddess). No "ship-Vidur" (= captain, Vidur is one of the names of Odin) more resolute, warlike, shall prevail on the huge "land of the Sea King" (= the sea) all over the country in Denmark.

On the other side, the text ist in prose. Here, again, an approximate translation from the Swedish: This stone has been erected to Sibbe the good one, son of Foldar, but his escort have raised [this monument] on the island.

For More Information: Historiska väldar (in Swedish), all2know (in Swedish), Staffans runsida (in Swedish, with more explanation on who was Sibbe)

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Gotland

I copied this map from msn.encarta.

 

Gannarve Ship Setting

   

Period of Erection: End of the Bronze Age (500 BC)

To the History and Meaning of the Monument: This impressing ship setting is a reconstitution of the original monument. Remaining stones of the front and back side of the ship and the dark-coloured spots in the ground indicating the location of the removed stones allowed its renovation in the early 1960's.

The ship setting is located in a beautiful area, with a magnificient view on the islands of Store Karlsö and Lille Karlsö.

There used to be a second ship setting nearby, but it has disapperead already a long time ago.

In this kind of monument, only one person is burried in most cases. The body is incinerated, then the bones are collected, washed, cushed and placed in a vessel. The vessel is then conciled in a small stone cist inside or at the side of the ship setting. Only few gifts have been found in those ship settings.

For More Information: Gannarve (in Swedish)

 

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 Maze in Fröjel Church's yard

   

Period of Erection: unknown

To the History and Meaning of the Monument: Fröjel used to be a viking harbour and is still under archeological excavation. Numerous findings have been made, but there is no site to visit there, for the moment at least.

Mazes are very ancient and widespread symbols. They are found in many civilisations, even on the american continent. They are often linked with fertility or meditation rituals or interpreted in connection with birth, death or the path of life. Some see in it a representation of the solar system. Contrasting to the modern mazes patterns (as they have been concepted since the 18th century), there is only one possible way in and out in the ancient patterns: the path leads slowly to the center of the maze and out again. 

They are numerous mazes in Sweden. They have been used still until recently for spring rituals where young boys have to deliver a princess out of the maze. The one who could reach the center where the princess were standing without displacing the stones had the privilege to dance with her. Mazes used to be called "Trojan castles" (trojaborg) in Sweden, while "labyrinth" is a rather modern denomination for them. This could be an indication for a Greek origin of this tradition.

For More Information:

About the viking harbour of Fröjel: Fröjel Discovery Programme (in English)

About mazes: 

Terra X, 3Sat: Labyrinthe: magische Linien von Menschen, a film of Michael Engler

Aidan Meehan: Maze Patterns. Celtic Design. 1996, Thames and Husdon, London. Printed in Spain. ISBN: 0-500-27747-8

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Vallhagar

Fundaments of a house with its  hearth in its middle.

 


Querns beside a tumulus. Quern are a very common finding in ancient monuments on Gotland. They were used to grind cereals, but it is also assumed that they had a ritual function since they are often found in connexion with graves. These querns were two of the several querns found in the tumulus below.

Period of Occupation: 200 BC – 500 AD 

To the History and Meaning of the Monument: The ancient village of Vallhagar comprised at least 24 houses of 10 to 30 meters in length and organized in courtyards of 3 to 5 houses. 

All the houses had a strong stone fundament and roofs tatched with turf or sawgrass. Stone walls surrounded the houses and separated the cultivated fields and the pastures. 

The village has been abandonned during the 6th century as have most of the Gotland's villages of this period. The exact reasons for the leave is unknown. Researches showed that most of the houses have been burnt down. The Gutsaga, a saga of the 13th century narrating the history of Gotland before its christianisation, mentions a forced abandonment of Gotland, but no more detail is known.

Found in the Monument: 

  • Objects of local and Roman origins
  • Numerous animal bones giving information about the domestic animal kept and the diet of the inhabitants: Sheeps, pony-like horses, chickens, cats, seals, different kinds of wild birds, ...
    The inhabitants rounded out their diet with cultivated cereals and gathering from the surrounding natural resources.

For More Information:

Oversikt Gotland (in Swedish), Geschichte Gotlands (in German), Sevärheter och fornlämnigar (in Swedish), Gutsaga (in English)


The village is surrounded by 3 burial grounds. Here an ruined tumulus.

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Picture Stone and Rune Stone in the Hablingbo Church

The picture stone (in the foreground) and the picture stone behind it.
Notice the maze on the wall of the church tower.

Detail: the rune stone.

Period of Erection: Around 1000 AD

To the History and Meaning of the Monument:  Both stones have been discovered in the vicinity of the church, the rune stone has been found in the churchyard. The text on the rune stone means: "Vatgair and Halgair erected this stone for Hailgi, their  father, who went westwards with the vikings". This rune stone has the shape of a picture stone. The picture stone also bears a runic inscription but I could not find more information about it. We will see more of those picture stones in the following.

For More Information:

Labyrinths in Nordic Churches (in English), Viking Heritage (in English), Gotland vikingaön (in Swedish), Viking Gotland (in Swedish)

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Uggarderojr (the Tumulus of Uggarde)


One of the Tumuli of the Uggarde Area

Period of Erection: Bronze Age (1800 - 500 BC)

To the History and Meaning of the Monument: Uggarde is the biggest of the 1300 bronze age tumuli on Gotland, with a circumference of 45 m and a height of 7 m. The Uggarde tumulus is situated  in a large grave field comprising further imposing tumuli. Under the stone heaps, chambers have been built either with superposed stone walls or as cists made out of large monoliths. The tumuli have been used for extended period and for several persons which were incinerated.

Found in the Monument: Unincinerated and incinerated human bones scattered among the stones. Near the tumuli, a stone block with hollowed cavities probably used for rituals. 

For More Information:

Uggarderojr (in Swedish)

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Lejsturojr (The Tumulus of Lejstu)

Period of Erection: Early Bronze Age (1800 - 1100 BC)

To the History and Meaning of the Monument:  Lejsturojr is the largest tumulus of a grave field comprising several tumuli, with a circumference of 40 m and a height of 4 m). The photograph shows that two monoliths have been placed in front of the tumulus (the second smaller one can be seen on the right side between the trees). Such monoliths were often placed on the south or south-west side of tumuli, but we do not know their meaning nowadays.

Two Iron Age farms have been found near the grave field.

Found in the Monument:

For More Information:

Kulturstig 1-6 (in Swedish), Lejsturojr (in Swedish)

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Gålrum Grave Field

Period of Use: From the Bronze Age till the Roman time

My notes: Trullhasar is a very large grave field comprising many different kinds of monuments: round stone setting ("jugement rings") ship settings, tumuli and even a viking-age picture stone (700 AD). Nevertheless, the grave field is not the original location of the picture stone. Unfortunatly, the picture is wiped off and not recognizable anymore. 

Most of the ship settings are well preserved or have been restored to their original shapes and their remarkable shapes strike the imagination. The tumuli, on the contrary, have known much damage, many stones have been removed, but the decoration globe is still in place at their tops. The most perserved tumuli are surrounded by a kerb.

Found in the Monument: Typical bronze Age finds in 2 of the ship settings.

For More Information: Översikt Gotland – Grävfältet vid Gålrum (in Swedish)

 


Remainings of a tumulus with the picture stone at the background: The stone 
circle forming the base of the tumulus is still visible.

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Gnisvärd

Period of Erection: ??? The ship setting are located nearby a former Bronze Age grave field.

My Notes: Three imposing ship settings are grouped in one area and stand almost in one line. The biggest of those ship settings is 45 m long and 7 m wide, which makes it the biggest ship setting on Gotland. 

Walking further into the forest, one can find the remainings of a tumulus, the only remaining visible witness of a Late Bronze Age grave field.

For More Information: Packhus Guteinfo (in Swedish)

 

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Galgberget Maze (in the North of Visby)

Period of Erection: Many findings from the Stone Age to the Iron Age have been made in the area around the maze. The maze is estimated to be around 2,000 years old, thus could have been build during the Iron Age. 

To the History and Meaning of the Monument: See information under Fröjel Maze.

For More Information: ??? (nothing found on this monument)

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Ancient Fortress of Fole Granar


The two levels of fortification are recognisable as 2 waves in the ground.

Period of Use: End of the Bronze Age to the Middle Age.

To the History and Meaning of the Monument: This fortress is one of the 100 ancient fortresses on Gotland. It measures 100 m in diameter and was protected by a 3-5 m wide double fortification. The walls used to enclose a farm, of which the fondation are still recognisable. Two further fortresses were situated nearby this one.

 
Fole Granar's fortifications as they used to be during the period of use of the fortress. (Source: Pannel on site.)

For More Information: ??? (Nothing found on this monument)

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Bro Sacrifice Well

Period of Erection: Stone Age

My Notes:  The sacrifice well lies in an area wihich is rich in ancient monuments. A the path leading to the well is still clearly visible, and the little stone bridge (photo beneath; the name of the village, Bro, means "bridge") witnesses that the access to the well must have been frequently used.

Four stones bearing grooves ("slipkåror") lie in the water of beside the well.

About the Grooves: The grooves ("slipkåror") are a not unique phenomenon in the world: this kind of artifacts have been found in several places in the world, but their frequency on the island make a Gotland's "speciality" out of them. 

The stones can bear different numbers of grooves which can be 5 to 10 cm wide and 1 to 10 cm in depth. According to the researchers, the grooves have been shaped with the help of tool fixed on a pendulum. 

Very early, they were thought to have astronomical properties and the researches of Sören Gannholm on 1256 grooves seem to confirm that they are aligned with the rising and setting points of celestial bodies at special dates (slotices and equinoxes), especially the sun and the moon. Therefore, the grooves might have been used as a kind of calender.

For More Information:

No more information found about the well itself.

About the grooves:

StavarNet (in Swedish, with a summary in English)

 

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Bro Shrews of Stone (Bro Stainkällingar)

Period of Erection: Around 700 BC

To the History and Meaning of the Monument:  The two picture stones stand in their original place but the pictures are totally wiped off and not recognisable anymore. Nothing more ist known about their history.

According to the legend, two women were quarrelling on their way to the church. As they could not stop quarrelling, they were turned into stone.

For More Information:

Viking Heritage (in English)

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Torsburgen


The crest of the plateau is up to 7 m in heigth, which offers natural defences, hence the location is an ideal situation for a fortress.

Period of Use: From the Iron Age to the Viking Age

To the History and Meaning of the Monument/My Notes:  Torsburgen is the largest fortress on Gotland, covering approx. 115 hectares. It has been build on a limestone plateau and this situation offers partly natural defences, especially on the west and south sides and an exceptional view on the surrounding land from any point around the fortress. 

Found in the Monument: Archeological funds show that the fortress has suffered at least two fires, probably in connection with assaults. Some remainings of at least five buildings dated from the Iron Age have also been found

For More Information:

Viking Heritage (in Swedish), Torsburgen (in Swedish), Geschichte Gotlands (in German)

 


At the south and east side, the crest is less steep, thus the builidng of a wall have been necessary. The wall is 2 km long with a few gaps showing the location of the former gates to the fortress.

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Norlanda Fornstuga (small open-air museum for local history in reconstructed Norse houses)

To the Museum:  This lovely little museum is a reproduction of a farm of the period around 1700 but you can discover in many corners an interesting collection of objects from the Iron Age to the Viking Age.

   

               

For More Information:

Querns: see information under Vallhagar

Grooves: see information under Bro Sacrifice Well

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Tjelvar's Grave

Period of Erection: 750 BC

To the History and Meaning of the Monument: This beautiful ship setting measures 18 × 5 meters. Tjelvar (Thjálfi) is cited in the Gutsaga as being the first one to have disembarked on Gotland. The ship setting, nevertheles, is a younger monument than the first human invasions of the island which took place around 4000 BC.

Found in the Monument: A cist with incinerated bones and vessel fragments.

For More Information:

About Tjelvar: Wikipedia (in English)

About the monument: Guteinfo (in Swedish)

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Lilla Bjärs

Period of Use: Bronze Age to Viking Area

To the History and Meaning of the Monument: The Lilla Bjärs grave field covers approx.15 hectares and contains around 1000 monuments, most of which being cairns. Several of the cairns are build on the basis of a round pit in the middle, which is then covered by a layer of stones and a stone globe, a limestone slab or a picture stone has been put at the top of the cairn. Similar picture stones can be found at the Stenkyrka church, which probably come from the grave field. One on the grave, Hjulkorsgraven, has been displaced to a place beside the church of Stenkyrka and renovated. The monuments have been plundered, leaving only a few cremated bones and bronze fragments to the archeologists.

For More Information:

Lilla Bjärs (in Swedish)

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Hjulkorsgraven

Period of Erection: 300-400 AD

To the History and Meaning of the Monument:  Hjulkor's grave is a grave that have been displaced from Lilla Bjärs' grave field and renovated after it had been excavated. Small stones have been carefully selected to draw the wheel around the cairn, which is interpreted as a sun wheel.

Found in the Monument: Two limestone cists with cremated bones and bronze fragments.

For More Information:

Hjulkorsgraven (in Swedish)

   

 

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