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

Sweetheart Abbey

Sweetheart Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1275 by Dervorguilla of Galloway in memory of her husband John de Balliol. His embalmed heart, in a casket of ivory and silver, was buried alongside her when she died; the monks at the Abbey then renamed the Abbey in tribute to her. Their son, also John, became king of Scotland but his reign was tragic and short. The depredations suffered by the Abbey in subsequent periods, have caused both the graves to be lost. The abbey, built in deep-red, local sandstone, was founded as a daughter house to Dundrennan Abbey; this Novum Monasterium (New Monastery), became known as the New Abbey.

The immediate abbey precincts extended to 120,000 m2 and sections of the surrounding wall can still be seen today. The Cistercian order, also known as the White Monks because of the white habit, over which they wore a black scapular or apron, built many great abbeys after their establishment around 1100. Like many of their abbeys, the New Abbey's interests lay not only in prayer and contemplation but in the farming and commercial activity of the area, making it the centre of local life. The abbey ruins dominate the skyline today and one can only imagine how it and the monks would have dominated early medieval life as farmers, agriculturalists, horse and cattle breeders. Surrounded by rich and fertile grazing and arable land, they became increasingly expert and systematic in their farming and breeding methods. Like all Cistercian abbeys, they made their mark, not only on the religious life of the district but on the ways of local farmers and influenced agriculture in the surrounding areas.

The village which stands next to the ruins today, is now known as New Abbey. At the other end of the main street is Monksmill, a corn mill. Although the present buildings date from the late eighteenth century, there was an earlier mill built by and for the monks of the abbey which serviced the surrounding farms.