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 only 42 meters from the shore line to a level spot about 2.5 meters above sea level on a low sand dike, low enough that at high tide the sea almost reaches the base of the fort's walls. The highest points of the wall are in the northeast at 3.1 meters above ground level, and in the southeast at 1.5 meters above ground level.

The fort is of oval shape. The length of the main axis is c.95 meters and the traverse is some 65 meters. The wall is about 4 meters thick, with the thickest part of the wall towards the northeast and the thinnest part towards the southeast.

Two entrances pierce the walls, one in the north and one in the southeast. The fort had its own well. West of the fort there is a structure that consists of several parallel rows of grey stone blocks.

Archaeologists from the museum of Kalmar County, Sweden, and Lund University started excavating the site in 2010, alerted by signs of exploratory digging by looters. There is a limited digging season and so far only a little of the fort and its dwellings have been excavated. Even so, there have been remarkable finds. Material finds consist of gilded silver and bronze buckles, and caches of beads and jewelry. What is more unusual is that ten skeletons have also been found, all in positions that suggest that the individuals involved were taken by surprise, killed, and left where they fell. Furthermore, it appears that the fort was not put to the torch but simply left with its dead strewn about, unburied.

The fact that there were children who were also killed leads Dr. Helena Victor of Kalmar Museum to speculate that these were indeed murders, rather than raiders. She does, however, also admit that they make assumptions sometimes based on evidence at the current dig site.

Archeologists have found a Roman gold solidus from the reign of Valentinian III (419-450 A.D.), that helps date the site. The archeologists excavating the site believe that the presence of the solidus is consistent with the fort's inhabitants being erstwhile mercenaries in the Roman army.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Address

Sandby, Sweden
See all sites in Sandby

Details

Founded: c. 480 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Sweden
Historical period: Migration Period (Sweden)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

L E (7 months ago)
A very quiet sea shore by the archaeological sites of an old Viking burial ground, free parking and camping
Pelewai EveisReal (7 months ago)
While the castle remains themselves were very cool, my favorite by far were the fossils on the shoreline. Take a few moments to walk along the sandstone and look for fossils!
Patrik Wivstad (10 months ago)
Old ruin with circle wall. Not so much to see really but if your at site and have access to the webpage (QR code at site) you have some videos which is nice to watch while at site!
Oscar Holtner (10 months ago)
Its a ruin, The backstory is interesting but its no activity at sandby borg
Anders Björäng (3 years ago)
Another historical site on Öland. Remnants of Castle from around 400 AD.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.