Skäftekärr Iron Age Village
Löttorp (Kalmar county), SWEDEN
Öland, the second largest island of Sweden, is located in a strategic position in the Baltic Sea, between the mainland and Gotland island, about 400 km south of Stockholm. The island, known in earlier times as “Oelandia”, is separated from the Swedish mainland by the Kalmar Strait and connected to it by the 6 km long Öland Bridge, which was opened in 1972 and is one of the longest in Europe.
Öland was an important site during the Iron Age, due to its strategic location, although archaeological excavations show the island was settled much earlier, around 8000 BC, as witnessed by evidence dating from the Palaeolithic and confirming the presence of hunter-gatherers on the island. In the early Stone Age, settlers from the Swedish mainland migrated to Öland across the Kalmar Strait thanks to an ice bridge. Spread across Öland are to be found burial grounds from the Iron and Viking Age, including stone ships, as well as 19 identified Iron Age ringforts.
Northern Öland boasts a quite fascinating natural environment and an impressive cultural heritage, which are well represented by the Böda Ecopark (one of Sweden’s most popular recreation areas with a rich and varied forest landscape combined with sand dunes), and an almost intact Iron Age landscape, featuring some of Europe’s best-preserved house remains from the period. Altogether, there are 145 of them in Böda parish, mostly lying in the territory of the Böda Ecopark. Besides, several archaeological digs have also unearthed the ruins of stone walls and, often, grave fields on the village outskirts.
In the area of Skäftekärr, in Böda parish, near Löttorp, archaeologists disovered a small Iron Age village with a grave field, that has been inhabited between 500 and 1050 AD. The walls of the houses and stables were made of stones, while the rest of the constructions was made of timber. Excavations were conducted by the University of Uppsala together with Skäftekärr Ekonomisk Förening. Soon the decision was taken to reconstruct one of the larger longhouses, mainly for pedagogic purposes.
Skäftekärr Iron Age village is now a place to visit where nature, culture and history interact, and adults and children can take part in emotional historic journeys. In the restored Iron Age landscape, visitors can see how the ancient Ölanders lived. A longhouse has been reconstructed here as it could have looked some 1,500 years ago with fields, meadowland, stone walls and sacrificial bog. During the Summer season the Skäftekärr Iron Age village opens to the tourist providing several craft demonstrations and living history displays. There are also a small exhibition centre and a shop/cafe.
Info & Contact
Skäftekärr Iron Age Village
Address: Kullenvägen 80, 380 74 Löttorp, Kalmar county, Öland island, Sweden
Tel.: +46 48522111
Skäftekärr Ekonomisk Förening
Address: Löttorpsvägen 57, 387 72 Löttorp, Kalmar county, Öland island, Sweden
Tel.: +46 070 6341950
Öland Tourist Office
Address: Trollhättevägen 4, 386 80 Mörbylånga, Öland island, Sweden
Tel.: +46 485 89000
Image: Skäftekärr Iron Age Village unless otherwise credited
Text sources: Skäftekärr Iron Age Village, Öland Tourist Office, Böda Ecopark, Wikipedia
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