Ancient sites in 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

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

Himmelstalund Rock Carvings

Himmelstalund is a large park famous for having one of Sweden's biggest collection of petroglyphs with more than 1660 pictures. Some of the depicted boats having a similar shape as the Hjortspring boat. Oldest features have been dated to the transition between the Late ­Neolithic and the Early Bronze Age (1920­1740 BC).
Founded: 1900 BC | Location: Norrköping, Sweden

Helgö

The island of Helgö is probably best known for a major archaeological area. The old trading town on Helgö began to emerge around the year 200 AD, 500 years before the well-known Birka. The first archaeological excavaton in 1954 found not only remains of the early settlement, but also a workshop area that became of international interest. Among the finds were a small Buddha statuette from North India and a christening s ...
Founded: 200 AD | Location: Ekerö, 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

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

Vätteryd

The Vätteryd grave field, also known as Vätterydshed, dates from the Iron Age. The grave field consists of 183 menhirs, 15 stone ships - the largest 25 m long and 8 m wide - and 2 circles. Many of the stone ships are so damaged that all that remains are parts smaller than half the original size. In the beginning of the 19th century, Vätteryd, with about 600 menhirs, was considered the largest grave field i ...
Founded: 550-900 AD | Location: Tjörnarp, Sweden

Järrestad Rock Carvings

There are over 1200 rock carvings near the road from Järrestad to Gladsax. Carvings date from the late Stone Age and Bronze Age and depicts animals, ships, footprints and humans. There are also three mounds from the late Bronze Age.
Founded: 2000 - 1700 BC | Location: Simrishamn, 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

Glösa Rock Carvings

The rock carvings in Glösa were described as early as 1685. The carvings are estimated to be 6200 – 5500 years old. Some 60 figures – all depicting elks – were carved into the rocks surrounding the stream by prehistoric trappers. It is believed that the petroglyphs of Glösa could be 3000-4000 years older than the oldest known rock carvings in southern Sweden, which were made by farmers during t ...
Founded: 6200 - 5500 BC | Location: Krokom, 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

Greby Grave Field

The Greby grave field is an Iron Age grave field in western Sweden. With its over 180 graves, it is the largest site of this kind in Bohuslän. According to legends, Greby is the resting place of the Scottish warriors who once pillaged Tanum. However, in June 1873, Swedish archaeologist Oscar Montelius examined eleven of the graves and did not find any weapons, only glass pearls, bone combs and other everyday objects, som ...
Founded: 1 - 400 AD | Location: Tanum, 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

Aspa Runestones

There are four runestones located at Aspa, which is about six kilometers north of Runtuna, where a road has passed a creek since prehistoric times. One of the stones is the oldest surviving native Scandinavian source that mentions the kingdom of Sweden beside the runestones DR 344 and DR 216. Another stone Sö 137 is raised in memory of a Viking who had spent time in the west.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Nyköping, 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

Trelleborgen Viking Fortress

Trelleborg is a collective name for six Viking Age circular forts, located in Denmark and the southern part of modern Sweden. Five of them have been dated to the reign of the Harold Bluetooth of Denmark (died 986). The city of Trelleborg has been named after one of these fortresses. Today Trelleborgen is part of a Viking Age fortress complex, which has been reconstructed. There is a Viking musem with souvenir shop ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Trelleborg, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Ananuri Castle

Ananuri was a castle and seat of the eristavis (Dukes) of Aragvi, a feudal dynasty which ruled the area from the 13th century. The castle was the scene of numerous battles. The current ensemble dates from the 16th and 17th centuries.

In 1739, Ananuri was attacked by forces from a rival duchy, commanded by Shanshe of Ksani and was set on fire. The Aragvi clan was massacred. However, four years later, the local peasants revolted against rule by the Shamshe, killing the usurpers and inviting King Teimuraz II to rule directly over them. However, in 1746, King Teimuraz was forced to suppress another peasant uprising, with the help of King Erekle II of Kakheti. The fortress remained in use until the beginning of the 19th century. In 2007, the complex has been on the tentative list for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage Site program.

Architecture

The fortifications consist of two castles joined by a crenellated curtain wall. The upper fortification with a large square tower, known as Sheupovari, is well preserved and is the location of the last defense of the Aragvi against the Shamshe. The lower fortification, with a round tower, is mostly in ruins.

Within the complex, amongst other buildings, are two churches. The older Church of the Virgin, which abuts a tall square tower, has the graves of some of the Dukes of Aragvi. It dates from the first half of the 17th century, and was built of brick. The interior is no longer decorated, but of interest is a stone baldaquin erected by the widow of the Duke Edishera, who died in 1674.

The larger Church of the Mother of God (Ghvtismshobeli), built in 1689 for the son of Duke Bardzem. It is a central dome style structure with richly decorated façades, including a carved north entrance and a carved grapevine crosson the south façade. It also contains the remains of a number of frescoes, most of which were destroyed by the fire in the 18th century.