Migration Period

History of Sweden between 400 AD - 539 AD

The Migration Period was in general a period of intensified human migration in Europe from about 400 to 800 AD. The changes in material culture marking the start of the Migration Period appear to coincide with the arrival of the Huns on the continental stage. A brief tumultuous phase ensued during which Western Rome collapsed and Eastern Rome held the barbarians at bay only through enormous peace payments. As a consequence, the Scandinavian elite of the time was inundated with gold. It was used to produce some very fine goldsmith work including filigree collars and bracteate pendants. The memory of this Golden Age reverberates through all the main early Germanic poetry cycles, including Beowulf and the Niebelungenlied.

Another feature of the Migration Period that had far-reaching consequences was the development of the first Scandinavian animal art. Inspired by provincial Roman chip-carved belt mounts decorated with lions and dolphins along the edges, Scandinavian artisans of the Migration Period developed first the Nydam Style, and then the highly abstract and sophisticated Style I from c. 450 onward.

The Migration Period was long believed to have been a time of crisis and devastation in Scandinavia. In recent decades, however, scholarship has gravitated to the view that the period was in fact one of prosperity and glorious elite culture, but that it ended with a severe crisis, possibly having to do with the AD 535-536 atmospheric dust event and the concomitant famine.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 400 AD and 539 AD in Sweden

Askeberga Stone Circle

Askeberga stone circle is 55m long and 18m wide. It was probably made in the late Iron Ages. The ship has no stones in both ends, which makes it unusual formed.
Founded: 500 - 1000 AD | Location: Tidan, Sweden

Ale's Stones

Ale's Stones (Ales stenar) is a megalithic monument which consists of a stone ship 67 meters long formed by 59 large boulders of sandstone, weighing up to 1.8 tonnes each. According to Scanian folklore, a legendary king called King Ale lies buried there. The carbon-14 dating system for organic remains has provided seven results at the site. One indicates that the material is around 5,500 years old whereas the remaining s ...
Founded: 500-1000 AD | Location: Ystad, Sweden

Sandby Borg

Sandby borg is a ringfort, one of at least 15 on the island of Öland. It sits about 2 kilometers southeast of Södra Sandby village in Sandby parish. From 2010 the fort has been subject of excavation that has revealed that it was the site of a 5th Century AD massacre. The fort included 53 buildings, consisting of small, one-family houses in the middle and stables and storehouses closer to the walls. Sandby Borg is onl ...
Founded: c. 480 AD | Location: Sandby, Sweden

Gråborg Castle

Gråborg is the largest ancient castle in Öland. It was built probably in the 6th century and enlarged through Middle Ages. According old tax reports dating back to the year 1450, Gråborg was owned by Vadstena abbey and functioned as a some kind of trade center. It was used for defence against Danish even in 1677. According to legend Gråborg was strongly associated with king Burislev Sverkersson who ...
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Färjestaden, Öland, Sweden

The Royal Mounds

The Royal mounds (Kungshögarna) is the name for the three large barrows which are located in Gamla (Old) Uppsala. According to ancient mythology and folklore, it would be the three gods Thor, Odin and Freyr lying in Kungshögarna. In the 19th and 20th centuries, they were speculated to hold the remains of three kings of the legendary House of Ynglings and where thus known by the names Aun's Mound, Adil's Mound an ...
Founded: 400-500 AD | Location: Gamla Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden

Runsa Hill Fort

Runsa was a prehistoric hill fortification, strategically situated on a 30 meter high rock promontory in Lake Mälaren. The ancient fort covers an area of 200 x 100 meters. The site was excavated first in 1902 with the participation of Crown Prince Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden. It was later investigated by archaeologists in 1992. Below the ruins is a stone ship burial area with some 30 graves. The burial ground is made up o ...
Founded: 400-500 AD | Location: Upplands Väsby, Sweden

Eketorp Fort

Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval ...
Founded: 400 AD | Location: Degerhamn, Öland, Sweden

Blomsholm Stone Ship

Blomsholm stone ship is one of the oldest in Sweden, more than 40 metres long with 49 stones. The bow and stern are about 4 metres high and dates from the early Scandinavian Iron Age (c. 400 - 600 AD). The size and prominent position of the grave shows that an important person must be buried here. There are also several other large megaliths in the area; Another stone circle and menhirs (Neolithic age) stand in the wood n ...
Founded: 400 - 600 AD | Location: Blomsholm, Sweden

Järsberg Runestone

The Järsberg Runestone is a stone of reddish granite which is believed to have been part of a stone circle monument. The upper part of the runestone is damaged and this was already the case when the stone was found. In Värmland, there are only four runestones of which two are from the Viking Age (in Old Norse) and the two others are from the Age of Migrations (in the older Proto-Norse). The Järsberg Runes ...
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Kristinehamn, Sweden

Bårby Borg

Bårby Borg was an ancient hill fortification. It was built in two periods, first in the age of migrations and later in the Middle Ages. Bårby Borg is the only hill fort in Öland where a natural steep scarp was used as part of the fortification. The other sides were protected by stone wall. The diameter was approximately 150 meters. Archaeologists have found a gold coin from the ruins made in Byzantine E ...
Founded: 400 AD | Location: Mörbylånga, Sweden

Björketorp Runestone

The Björketorp Runestone is part of a grave field which includes menhirs, both solitary and formingstone circles. It is one of the world's tallest runestones measuring 4.2 metres in height, and it forms an imposing sight together with two high uninscribed menhirs. The runes were made in the 6th or the 7th century and in Proto-Norse. It is found on two sides.
Founded: 500-700 AD | Location: Ronneby, Sweden

Fornborg

Fornborg is an ancient hill fortification built probably between 400-600 AD. There is a 310m long, well-preserved stone wall which is up to 2 meters high. The fort had five entrances and there are fragments of a house inside the wall.
Founded: 400-600 AD | Location: Pålsboda, Sweden

Gene Fornby

Gene Fornby is a reconstructed Iron Age settlement. The earliest traces of human activity found in the area date back to the Nordic Bronze Age, but the settlement itself dated back to the Roman Iron Age, from around the years 400-600 AD. The settlement was located just by the waterline of that time, but due to the post-glacial rebound in the area, the waterline is now about 500 meters away from the settlement. Historical ...
Founded: 400-600 AD | Location: Domsjö, Sweden

Dunshammar

The two pit furnaces at Dunshammar, two kilometres south of Ängelsberg, constitute the oldest link in the 1,500 years during which iron has been produced in the region. The furnaces have been well preserved and the site is one of only a few where Iron-Age pit furnaces can be seen in their natural setting. Several other pit furnaces existed in the bays on the eastern shore of lake Åmänningen during the Iron ...
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Fagersta, Sweden

Broborg Castle

Broborg is one of Uppland's most magnificent ancient strongholds, strategically placed on a ridge along the former seaway, the "highway" of its day, that led Vikings to Old Uppsala and the Baltic Sea. The castle was built on a high hill, about 40 m above sea level. The castle was used between 6th and 11th centuries. The castle had an outer and inner wall. The outer wall protected the longest sides to the south and east.T ...
Founded: 500-1000 AD | Location: Knivsta, Sweden

Granhogen

Granhogen is one of the largest prehistorical mounds in Bohuslän region. The 30m wide and 3,3m high mound has been dated to Iron Ages, c. 500 AD.
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Uddevalla, Sweden

Rödsten

Rödsten (The Red Stone) is one of the most significant ancient monuments in Sweden. The fallos-style setting contains three stones painted with red, white and black. Rödsten dates probably from the 6th century and it has probably been erected to protect surrounding farms from the fire and depletion. The first record of Rödsten date from 1360. According the legend the stone have to be painted every year an ...
Founded: 6th century | Location: Åtvidaberg, Sweden

Halvardsborg

Halvardsborg was an ancient stronghold in Arboga. It was built probably between 400-550 AD. It consisted of 520m long and even 3m high stone wall. There are some remains of the wall today.
Founded: 400-550 AD | Location: Arboga, Sweden

King Skute's mound

King Skute's mound, dating from the Late Iron Age, 500-1100 AD, is the largest of a total of six mounds. The site consists of raised stones and intriguing so-called hollows. According to tradition, King Skute was the founder of the village of Skuttunge.
Founded: 500-1100 AD | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Högom Grave Field

Högom is a grave field dating from the Iron Age (c. 500 AD). The area 315x190m and consists of 10 mounds. Four of them have diameter of 40m and they are 4-5m high. On the southern side is also an Viking Age runestone, so-called Högomstenen. The cross in stone refers to early Christian influence in the area.
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Högom, Sweden

Gåseborg Hill Fort

Gåseborg was an magnificient ancient hill fort built in the Iron Age, about 1500 years ago. It was built of stone without any masonry. According the archaeological excavations the fort has been also a temporary residence. For example remains of golden artefacts have been found from the site.
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Viksjö, Sweden

Torshögen

Torshögen is one of the largest mounds in Närke. The 15m wide and 3m high mound was probably built in the late Iron Ages (400 - 1050 AD). According a local legend it is a grave of King Tor or Torer.
Founded: 400-1050 AD | Location: Kumla, Sweden

Runnevål Burial Ground

There are 95 mounds Runnevål dating from the Roman Iron Age (400-500 AD).
Founded: 400-500 AD | Location: Kil, Sweden

Valsgärde Burial Ground

Valsgärde or Vallsgärde is the ancient centre of the Swedish kings and of the pagan faith in Sweden. The present farm dates from the 16th century. The farm's notability derives from the presence of a burial site from the Swedish Vendel Age. The first ship burial is from the 6th century and the last graves are from the 11th century. The site was found and excavated by archaeologists in the 1920s, and before this ...
Founded: 500-1000 AD | Location: Grillby, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Celje Castle

Celje Castle was once the largest fortification on Slovenian territory. The first fortified building on the site (a Romanesque palace) was built in the first half of the 13th century by the Counts of Heunburg from Carinthia on the stony outcrop on the western side of the ridge where the castle stands. It had five sides, or four plus the southern side, which was a natural defence. The first written records of the castle date back to between 1125 and 1137; it was probably built by Count Gunter. In the western section of the castle, there was a building with several floors. Remains of the walls of this palatium have survived. In the eastern section, there was an enclosed courtyard with large water reservoirs. The eastern wall, which protects the castle from its most exposed side, was around three metres thicker than the rest of the curtain wall. The wall was topped with a parapet and protected walkway. This was typical of Ministerialis castles of the time.

Lords of Sanneck and Counts of Celje

The first castle was probably burned and destroyed in the fighting between the Lords of Sanneck and the Lords of Auffenstein. The gateway was later moved from the northern side by freemen loyal to the Lords of Sanneck. They gave the castle a new curtain wall and reinforced this with a tower on the northern side, which guarded the entrance to the inner ward, sometime before 1300. The new wall reached from a natural cliff in the east to the remains of the earlier wall in the northeast. The entrance was moved to the southern side, where it still is today.

In 1333, the castle came into the possession of the Lords of Sanneck, who from 1341 onward were the Counts of Celje. They set about transforming the fortress into a comfortable living quarter and their official residence. Around 1400, they added a four-storey tower which was later called Frederick’s tower. On the eastern side of the courtyard, there was a tall, three-story residential tower, which is the best preserved section of the castle among the Frederick’s tower. The main residential building, which also had rooms for women, stood however in the western section of the castle. This part of the castle ends at the narrow outer ward and is in a state of disrepair. On the southern side of the palatium, there was a tower, known as Andrew’s tower, after the chapel on the ground floor, which was dedicated to Saint Andrew. In the Middle Ages, the castle walls were impenetrable; an attacker would have had to rely on starving the defenders into submission, but a hidden passageway led from the castle to a nearby granary. The Counts of Celje stopped living in the castle in this period, but they stationed a castellan with an armed entourage here.

During an earthquake in 1348, part of the Romanesque palace and the rock on which it stood were destroyed. The ruined section was rebuilt and relocated towards the bailey. In the 15th century, the outer ward was extended on the eastern side of the ridge as far as the rocky outcrop. Here, the wall connected with a powerful, five-sided tower. In the second half of the 16th century, the castle was once again renovated. The walls in the inner and outer wards were made taller, and the bailey was renovated. The modern sections of the walls feature Renaissance-era balistraria.

Holy Roman Empire

The first imperial caretaker, Krištof pl. Ungnad, was named in 1461. Celje Castle was not only the most important castle in Slovenia, but in the entire eastern Alps. It covered an area of almost 5500 m². Several new techniques were employed in the castle’s architectural development, which were the model for other castles in the region under Celje’s influence.

The castle began to fall into disrepair shortly after losing its strategic importance. During the renovation of the lower castle in 1748, the castle’s tiled roof was removed. When Count Gaisruck bought the castle in 1755, he removed the roof truss as well. The best stones were then re-used in the construction of the Novo Celje Mansion between Petrovče and Žalec. From this time onward, it was no longer possible to live in the castle, and it slowly turned into a complete ruin. The last residents left the site in 1795. In 1803, the farmer Andrej Gorišek bought the castle and began to use the site as a quarry.

19th and 20th centuries

In 1846, the governor of the Styria, Count Wickenburg, bought the ruins and donated them to the Styrian estates. In 1871, interest in the ruins began to take hold and in 1882 the Celje museum society began efforts to restore the castle, which continue to this day. During the time of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the authorities in Maribor left control over the ruins to the local municipality, which made great contributions to the castle"s preservation. During World War II, the ruins were abandoned, but reconstruction efforts continued after the war. In the corners of the Friderikov stolp, cement blocks were used to replace missing stones. A proper parking lot was also created in front of the entrance to the castle. On the northern side, the wall was knocked through to create a new side entrance to meet a new route that had been built there.

21st century

Today Celje castle is a popular tourist attraction and several concerts and other events are held there annually.