Pre-Roman Iron Age

History of Sweden between 500 BC - 1 BC

The archaeological record for the 5th-3rd centuries BC is rich in rural settlements and remains of agriculture but very poor in artefacts. This is mainly due to extremely austere burial customs where few people received formal burial and those who did got little in the way of grave goods. There is little indication of any social stratification. Bronze importation ceased almost entirely and local iron production started in earnest.

A typical Clearance cairn from Eglinton Country Park in Scotland, The climate took a turn for the worse, forcing farmers to keep cattle indoors over the winters, leading to an annual build-up of manure that could now for the first time be used systematically for soil improvement. Fields were however still largely impermanent, leading to the gradual coalescence of vast systems of sunken fields or clearance cairns where only small parts were tilled at any one time. From the 2nd century BC onward, urn cremation cemeteries and weapon burials with various above-ground stone markers appear, beginning a monumental cemetery record that persists unbroken until the end of the Iron Age. Cemeteries of these roughly 13 centuries are by far the most common type of visible ancient monument in Scandinavia. The reappearance of weapon burial after millennium's hiatus suggests a process of increased social stratification similar to the one at the beginning of the Bronze Age.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 500 BC and 1 BC in Sweden

Smålandsstenar

Smålandstenar (Smoland Stones) is a site of five or six stone circle dating from the early Iron Ages. The area has originally been a burial site. The largest circle is 20m wide and consists of 20 stones.
Founded: 500 - 300 BC | Location: Smålandsstenar, Sweden

Broåsen Burial Ground

Broåsen is one of the largest burial grounds in Halland. It consists of 60 mounds, stone settings and other ancient monuments. Slummesten (also called Kung Götriks sten or King Götrik's Stone) is an impressive standing stone of almost six metres height which is part of Broåsen's burial ground.
Founded: 400 BC - AD 500 | Location: Rolfstorp, Sweden

Grönehög Mound

Grönehög is the biggest ancient mound in Bohuslän region. It has a diameter of 45-50m and it is 6m high. Archaeologists have found buried items from the mound dating from the 6th century AD.
Founded: 500 BC | Location: Strömstad, Sweden

Håvesten

Håvesten is an Iron Age burial ground. It consists of ten burial mounds, six stone circles and and nine big standing stones. According the legend old men, who were not able to work of fight anymore, rushed to death from Ättekullshögen, one of the highest mounds.
Founded: 500 BC - 400 AD | Location: Färgelanda, Sweden

Ivars Kulle

Ivars Kulle (Ivar"s Hill) is a 4m high and 40m wide family grave built probably in the Bronze Age. In 1972 excavation revealed five graves from the mound.
Founded: 1800 - 500 BC | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.