Bronze Age

History of Sweden between 1700 BC - 501 BC

Sweden's southern third was part of the stock-keeping and agricultural Nordic Bronze Age Culture's area, most of it being peripheral to the culture's Danish centre. The period began in c. 1700 BC with the start of bronze importation; first from Ireland and then increasingly from central Europe. Copper mining was never tried locally during this period, and Scandinavia has no tin deposits, so all metal had to be imported though it was largely cast into local designs on arrival. Iron production began locally toward the period's end, apparently as a kind of trade secret among bronze casters: iron was almost exclusively used for tools to make bronze objects.

The Nordic Bronze Age was entirely pre-urban, with people living in hamlets and on farmsteads with single-story wooden long-houses. Geological and topographical conditions were similar to those of today, but the climate was milder.

Rich individual burials attest to increased social stratification in the Early Bronze Age. A correlation between the amount of bronze in burials and the health status of the deceased's bones shows that status was inherited. Battle-worn weapons show that the period was warlike. The elite most likely built its position on control of trade. The period's abundant rock carvings largely portray long rowing ships: these images appear to allude both to trade voyages and to mythological concepts. Areas with rich bronze finds and areas with rich rock art occur separately, suggesting that the latter may represent an affordable alternative to the former.

Bronze Age religion as depicted in rock art centres upon the sun, fertility and public ritual. Wetland sacrifices played an important role. The later part of the period after about 1100 BC shows many changes: cremation replaced inhumation in burials, burial investment declined sharply and jewellery replaced weaponry as the main type of sacrificial goods.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 1700 BC and 501 BC in Sweden

Backa Rock Carvings

Backa rock carvings date back to the Bronze Age (1000-500 BC). There are sixteen separate carvings depicting humans and ships. The most famous carving depicts a 1,5m long man with a spear.
Founded: 1000 - 500 BC | Location: Lysekil, Sweden

Anundshög

Anundshög is the largest tumulus in Sweden. It has a diameter of 60 metres and is about 9 metres high. Assessments of the era of the mound vary between the Bronze Age and the late Iron Age. A fireplace under it has been dated by radiocarbon dating to sometime between AD 210 and 540. Some historians have associated the mound with the legendary King Anund, while others regard this as speculative. It is purported also ...
Founded: 1500 BC - 1000 AD | Location: Västerås, Sweden

King's Grave

The King's Grave (Kungagraven i Kivik, Kiviksgraven) is what remains of an unusually grand Nordic Bronze Age double burial c. 1000 BC. In spite of the facts that the site has been used as a quarry, with its stones carried off for other uses, and that it was restored carelessly once it was known to be an ancient burial, these two burials are unique. In both construction and in size — it is a circular site measuring 75 m ...
Founded: c. 1000 BC | Location: Kivik, Sweden

Jättakullen

Jättakullen is the largest cist (stone-built coffin-like box or ossuary used to hold the bodies of the dead) in Sweden. The 14x4 meter grave is dated to the Bronze Age, around 1500 BC. There are some carvings inside the cist.
Founded: 1500 BC | Location: Vårgårda, Sweden

Rickeby Rock Carvings

Rickeby is known of its Bronze Age rock carvings. The area contains about 50 carvings displaying for example humans and animals.
Founded: 1700-500 BC | Location: Enköping, Sweden

Lugnarohögen

Lugnarohögen is a burial mound dating from the late Bronze Ages. The excavation made in 1926-1927 revealed a 8 meter long stone ship in the cairn. Archaeologists also found bones and three small bronze items made in 700-500 BC.
Founded: 700-500 BC | Location: Laholm, Sweden

Stenehed Grave Field

Stenehed is an Iron Age grave field containing about 45 graves, a stone circle, a stone ship, and a row of menhirs. Originally, there were eleven or twelve menhirs at the site; today, there are nine. The tallest one is 3,3m high. They are placed in a row, according to their heights. In 1980, astronomer Curt Roslund suggested that they form an astronomical calendar, similar to Stonehenge in England.
Founded: 600-400 BC | Location: Hällevadsholm, Sweden

Tjelvar's Grave

Tjelvar’s Grave is one of the best preserved stone ship settings in Gotland. According the legend Tjelvar, the first man lived in Gotland, is buried there. Archaeologists have dated the grave to made in the late Bronze Ages, 1100-500 BC. Tjelvar’s grave is 18 metres long and 5 metres wide. The height of the gunwale stones diminishes towards the centre of the ship, which has also been filled with stones ...
Founded: 1100-500 BC | Location: Slite, Sweden

Getterön Burial Ground

There are five big tumuli (burial mounds) in Getterön. The graves date probably from the Bronze Age (1500 - 500 BC).
Founded: 1500 - 500 BC | Location: Varberg, Sweden

Gnisvärd Ship Settings

Therea are three ancient ship-formed graves in Gnisvärd. All of them are set in line, as if out sailing together. The largest one is 45 metres long and 7 metres wide. That makes it the biggest ship setting on Gotland. Graves were made in the Bronze Ages, 1700-500 BC.
Founded: 1700-500 BC | Location: Gnisvärd, Sweden

Hagbard's Gallow

Hagbard's Gallow consists of two pair of menhirs, large upright standing stones. The monument was probably constructed during the bronze age. The stone has engravings, some discovered in the 18th Century and some in modern times. The name is related to the legend of Hagbard and Signy, as well as several other nearby remains.
Founded: 1700-500 BC | Location: Falkenberg, Sweden

Gannarve Ship Grave

The Gannarve grave is outlined by large standing stones, forming the shape of a ship. It has been built at the end of the Bronze Age, about 1100 – 500 B.C. The grave is 29 metres long and 5 metres wide. It is only one of about 350 boat-shaped graves on the island. In most cases, only one burial has been uncovered in each grave. When these people were buried, it was a custom to cremate the dead on a pyre. After crema ...
Founded: 1100-500 BC | Location: Gotland, Sweden

Möckleryd Rock Carvings

There are 140 rock carvings in Möckleryd and it is the largest rock art site in Blekinge dating probably from the Bronze Age. There are mainly boats, horses, people and elks described in carvings.
Founded: 1700-550 BC | Location: Torhamn, Sweden

Gålrum Burial Ground

Gålrum is an ancient burial ground including 122 ancient monuments. There are 5 large stone cairns, 110 round stone settings and 8 ship settings. The site was in use for 1500 years and reflects the differing burial styles over that long period of time with the earliest dating back to the Bronze Age around 1500 BC. The cairns vary in size from 10 metres to 25 metres in diameter and mostly have perimeter stones aroun ...
Founded: 1500 BC - 100 AD | Location: Gålrum, Sweden

Gettlinge Stone Ship Burial Ground

Gettlinge is a village in the southwest portion of the island of Öland It is known for its impressive Viking stone ship burial ground. Gettlinge is situated on the western fringe of the Stora Alvaret, a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO. The principal evidence of life in the Gettlinge area from 1000 BC to 1000 AD is derived from the gravefields themselves. The Gettlinge burial ground is situated near the coas ...
Founded: 1000 BC-1000 AD | Location: Morbylånga, Sweden

Uggårda Cairns

Uggårda is the largest Bronze Age burial ground in Gotland, founded around 1500-1000 BC. The biggest cairn is 7,5 meters high and 40 meters wide. There are also several smaller cairns on the site.
Founded: 1500-1000 BC | Location: Hemse, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Castle de Haar

Castle de Haar is the largest and most fairytale-like castle in the Netherlands. The current buildings, all built upon the original castle, date from 1892 and are the work of Dutch architect P.J.H. Cuypers, in a Neo-Gothic restoration project funded by the Rothschild family.

The oldest historical record of a building at the location of the current castle dates to 1391. In that year, the family De Haar received the castle and the surrounding lands as fiefdom from Hendrik van Woerden. The castle remained in the ownership of the De Haar family until 1440, when the last male heir died childless. The castle then passed to the Van Zuylen family. In 1482, the castle was burned down and the walls were torn down, except for the parts that did not have a military function. These parts probably were incorporated into the castle when it was rebuilt during the early 16th century. The castle is mentioned in an inventory of the possessions of Steven van Zuylen from 1506, and again in a list of fiefdoms in the province Utrecht from 1536. The oldest image of the castle dates to 1554 and shows that the castle had been largely rebuilt by then. After 1641, when Johan van Zuylen van der Haar died childless, the castle seems to have gradually fallen into ruins. The castle escaped from total destruction by the French during the Rampjaar 1672.

In 1801 the last catholic van Zuylen in the Netherlands, the bachelor Anton-Martinus van Zuylen van Nijevelt (1708-1801) bequeathed the property to his cousin Jean-Jacques van Zuylen van Nyevelt (1752-1846) of the catholic branch in the Southern Netherlands. In 1890, De Haar was inherited by Jean-Jacques' grandson Etienne Gustave Frédéric Baron van Zuylen van Nyevelt van de Haar (1860-1934), who married Baroness Hélène de Rothschild. They contracted architect Pierre Cuypers in 1892 to rebuild the ruinous castle, which took 15 years.

In 1887, the inheritor of the castle-ruins, Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt, married Hélène de Rothschild, of theRothschild family. Fully financed by Hélène's family, the Rothschilds, the couple set about rebuilding the castle from its ruins. For the restoration of the castle, the famous architect Pierre Cuypers was hired. He would be working on this project for 20 years (from 1892 to 1912). The castle has 200 rooms and 30 bathrooms, of which only a small number on the ground floor have been opened to be viewed by the public. In the hall, Cuypers has placed a statue with his own image in a corner of the gallery on the first floor.

The castle was equipped by Cuypers with the most modern gadgets, such as electrical lighting with its own generator, and central heating by way of steam. This installation is internationally recognized as an industrial monument. The kitchen was for that period also very modern and still has a large collection of copper pots and pans and an enormous furnace of approximately 6 metres long, which is heated with peat or coals. The tiles in the kitchen are decorated with the coats of arms of the families De Haar and Van Zuylen, which were for this purpose especially baked in Franeker. Cuypers marked out the difference between the old walls and the new bricks, by using a different kind of brick for the new walls. For the interior Cuypers made a lot of use of cast iron.

In the castle one can see many details which reminds one of the family De Rothschild, such as the David stars on the balconies of the knight's hall, the motto of the family on the hearth in the knight's hall (A majoribus et virtute) and the coat of arms of the family right underneath on the hearth in the library.

The interior of the castle is decorated with richly ornamented woodcarving, which reminds one of the interior of a Roman Catholic church. This carving was made in the workshop of Cuypers in Roermond. The place where later also the interiors of many Roman Catholic churches were made, designed by Cuypers. Cuypers even designed the tableware. The interior is also furnished with many works of the Rothschild collections, including beautiful old porcelain from Japan and China, and several old Flemish tapestries and paintings with religious illustrations. A showpiece is a carrier coach of the woman of a Shogun from Japan. There is only one more left in the world, which stands in a museum in Tokyo. Many Japanese tourists come to De Haar to admire exactly this coach, which was donated from the Rothschilds collections.

Surrounding the castle there is a park, designed by Hendrik Copijn, for which Van Zuylen ordered 7000 fully grown trees. Because these could not be transported through the city of Utrecht, Van Zuylen bought a house and tore it down. The park contains many waterworks and a formal garden which reminds one of the French gardens of Versailles. During the Second World War many of the gardens were lost, because the wood was used to light fires, and the soil was used to grow vegetables upon. At this time, the gardens are restored in their old splendor.

For the decoration of the park, the village Haarzuilens, except for the town church, was broken down. The inhabitants were moved to a place a kilometer further up, where a new Haarzuilens arose, where they lived as tenants of the lord of the castle. This new village was also built in a pseudo-medieval style, including a rural village green. The buildings were for the most part designed by Cuypers and his son Joseph Cuypers.