History of Sweden between 4000 BC - 1701 BC
Farming and animal husbandry, along with monumental burial, polished flint axes and decorated pottery, arrived from the Continent with the Funnel-beaker Culture in c. 4000 BC. Whether this happened by diffusion of knowledge or by mass migration or both is controversial. In a century or two, all of Denmark and the southern third of Sweden became neolithised and much of the area became dotted with megalithic tombs. The people of the country's northern two thirds retained an essentially Mesolithic lifestyle into the 1st Millennium BC. Coastal south-eastern Sweden, likewise, reverted from neolithisation to a hunting and fishing economy after only a few centuries, with the Pitted Ware Culture.
In c. 2800 BC the Funnel Beaker Culture gave way to the Battle Axe Culture, a regional version of the middle-European Corded Ware phenomenon. Again, diffusion of knowledge or mass migration is disputed. The Battle Axe and Pitted Ware people then coexisted as distinct archaeological entities until c. 2400 BC, when they merged into a fairly homogeneous Late Neolithic culture. This culture produced the finest flintwork in Scandinavian Prehistory and the last megalithic tombs.
Situated in the basement of Metropol Parasol, Antiquarium is a modern, well-presented archaeological museum with sections of ruins visible through glass partitions, and underfoot along walkways.
These Roman and Moorish remains, dating from the first century BC to the 12th century AD, were discovered when the area was being excavated to build a car park in 2003. It was decided to incorporate them into the new Metropol Parasol development, with huge mushroom-shaped shades covering a market, restaurants and concert space.
There are 11 areas of remains: seven houses with mosaic floors, columns and wells; fish salting vats; and various streets. The best is Casa de la Columna (5th century AD), a large house with pillared patio featuring marble pedestals, surrounded by a wonderful mosaic floor – look out for the laurel wreath (used by emperors to symbolise military victory and glory) and diadem (similar meaning, used by athletes), both popular designs in the latter part of the Roman Empire. You can make out where the triclinium (dining room) was, and its smaller, second patio, the Patio de Oceano.
The symbol of the Antiquarium, the kissing birds, can be seen at the centre of a large mosaic which has been reconstructed on the wall of the museum. The other major mosaic is of Medusa, the god with hair of snakes, laid out on the floor. Look out for the elaborate drinking vessel at the corners of the mosaic floor of Casa de Baco (Bacchus’ house, god of wine).