Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Sweden

Backa Rock Carvings

Backa rock carvings date back to the Bronze Age (1000-500 BC). There are sixteen separate carvings depicting humans and ships. The most famous carving depicts a 1,5m long man with a spear.
Founded: 1000 - 500 BC | Location: Lysekil, Sweden

Sparlösa Runestone

The Sparlösa Runestone, listed as Vg 119 in the Rundata catalog, is the second most famous Swedish runestone after the Rök Runestone. It was discovered in 1669 in the southern wall of the church of Sparlösa. Before their historical value was understood, many runestones were used as construction material for roads, walls, and bridges. Following a fire at the church in 1684, the runestone was split in rebuild ...
Founded: c. 800 AD | Location: Sparlösa, 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

Skegriedösen Dolmen

Skegriedösen is a well-preserved stone chamber tomb surrounded by seventeen stones. The dolmen is set to be around 4500-5000 years old.
Founded: 3000 - 2500 BC | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Vaksala Runestone

The Vaksala Runestone is one of the approximately forty runestones made by the runemaster Öpir, who signed this inscription and was active in the late 11th and early 12th century in Uppland. This runestone style is characterized by slim and stylized animals that are interwoven into tight patterns. The animal heads are typically seen in profile with slender almond-shaped eyes and upwardly curled appendages on the nose ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Fjäle Fields

Fjäle fields have long history. The Fjäle farm was established c. 100 AD, and remains of two large iron age houses are still visible on the site. After 7th century AD the large iron age houses were replaced with smaller ones not far away from the old houses. During the 12th century a smaller farm was separated from the main farm, and set up in the northern end of the peoperty. The farms were burnt down during 14th centu ...
Founded: 100 AD | Location: Katthammarsvik, 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 on ...
Founded: c. 480 AD | Location: Sandby, Sweden

Karlevi Runestone

The Karlevi Runestone, designated as Öl 1 by Rundata, is commonly dated to the late 10th century. It is one of the most notable and prominent runestones and constitutes the oldest record of a stanza of skaldic verse. The runic inscription on the Karlevi Runestone is partly in prose, partly in verse. It is the only example of a complete scaldic stanza preserved on a runestone and is composed in the "lordly meter" the dr ...
Founded: ca. 950-1000 AD | Location: Mörbylånga, Öland, 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

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

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

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

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

Gärde Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs on the river of Gärdesån in Gärde were made approximately 7 000 years ago. The carvings consist primely of moose and belong to the oldest petroglyphs in Sweden.
Founded: 7000 - 2000 BC | Location: Offerdal, 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

Tolarp Dolmen

Tolarp dolmen (passage grave) dates from the Stone Age (2300-1800 BC). In 1926 Folke Hansen found amber jewels, cheramics and other artefacts from the grave.
Founded: 2300-1800 BC | Location: Halmstad, Sweden

Möckleryd Rock Carvings

There are 140 rock carvings in Möckleryd and it is the largest rock art site in Blekinge dating probably from the Bronze Age. There are mainly boats, horses, people and elks described in carvings.
Founded: 1700-550 BC | Location: Torhamn, 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

Stensätter Hill Fort

Stensättersborgen or Borgberget is a one of the best preserved ancient hill fortifications in Norrland. The 190m high hill has had a 135m long, 4m wide and 2,5m high stone wall. It has not been excavated yet.
Founded: | Location: Bollstabruk, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.