Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Iron Age Grave Field

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In the neighbourhood outside town where my parents lived (and before them my paternal grandparents and great-grandparents and who knows how many generations before them), there have been people living since the Iron Age (~ 500 BC – 1000 AD).  There are old grave fields to prove it. (Actually not very far from this place there is a neolithic cist tomb as well, which means going back yet another thousand years at least, to about 1500-1800 BC.)

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In the summer the grass grows high in this meadow beside the road, which means that when passing it (especially by car) one does not notice anything special about it. I seldom walk past this one myself, as I usually get off the bus one or two stops further on; but yesterday when going out to our house to check on things, I got off a couple of stops early for a walk. Passing the field I noticed that the grass had just been cut; which made the stones stand out more than they usually do – even if some of the “bumps” weren’t stones but little stacks of hay!

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The three raised stones.

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Part of one of the stone circles (just now confusingly mixed with little haystacks of the same size).

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The big raised stones have been “restored” with iron cramps.

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(I wonder if this one had a “top” to it once?)

Our World Tuesday Graphic

16 comments:

  1. I am glad you decided to walk here! What do the tiny haystacks mean? Had there been rocks there and they broke? How can they keep them there without blowing away? The rocks are really interesting, all different, and I guess the original ones! I guess the families chose or hunted for their own rock...

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    1. The haystacks only mean they recently cut the grass! :)

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  2. these are amazing, glad you stopped to snap a few photos for us. i like that upright stone.. a beautiful spot for a cemetery..even one from the iron age..

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    1. I had almost forgotten about this site; there is another stone circle only a few hundred meters away which I think I must have posted about before. Could not find it yesterday, but today it hit me that it could have been on my other blog. It was... Here it is - posted Midsummer 2011

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  3. What an enjoyable post.
    I love your 'new' header - it's super. (I haven't been for a while so I'm not sure how new it is.)

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    1. Thanks John. The header photo was taken the same day, that stone bridge is close to where I got off the bus. And very close to another iron age stone circle which I posted about a couple of years ago on my other blog (see my reply to Sandra above)

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  4. We have several Celtic burial mounds in the area, but no raised stones or stone circles. Interestingly (but not surprisingly), the old Germanic tribes used to call their law courts/parliament gatherings "thing", too. Our languages really do have a lot in common.

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    1. I was just watching a documentary about the Celtic culture the other night, Meike, and they pointed out that similarities in culture between Sweden and the resten of western Europe go back very far. For example there have been some old grave finds here in Sweden of ancient jewellry and images reminding very much of the Celtic culture, for example neckrings (torcs).

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  5. Great site, love visiting stone circles etc, never thought of Sweden in this context, how silly of me.

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    1. Janet, I read in a book on local history yesterday that there may have been people living in this area of Sweden as far back as 10000 years ago. Back then this area would have been the northernmost habitable area of Europe as the ice sheet from the last glacial period was receding. There are plenty of stone/bronze/iron age burial sites in Sweden. (A lot more than have been turned into tourist attractions.) And also runic stones and rock carvings.

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  6. It does look to me very much as though the last stone used to be larger. At present it looks like a very uncomfortable chair or throne (which I'm sure it was not).

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    1. Yes, I can well imagine that at some later point in history, some stones (or parts of stones) from sites like this may have been taken away and used for other purposes. Either not being recognized as part of an ancient memorial at all; or even destroyed on purpose as reminders of old pagan customs when the area was christianized.

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  7. I forgot to say that I, too, like your new header.

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  8. I love history and grave sites like this one! Gorgeous shots too...

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  9. This was a fascinating post...I will be doing some more research since historical facts and places always capture my attention and imagination.
    Interesting to see how they have tried to preserve the stones with the metal cramps.

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