The Alvastra pile dwelling is a wooden platform in the middle of a mire connected to the mainland by a wooden causeway. It is the only pile dwelling in Sweden. The platform is surrounded by a fence or palisade of oak poles or piles driven into the ground. It was built around 3000 B.C. in the Broby spring mire at Alvastra in the parish of Västra Tollstad and the province of Östergötland. The wooden platform was not an everyday dwelling, even though pile dwelling is its archaeological name. On the contrary, it was the scene of large-scale ritual activities, activities that are focused on the meeting of cultures.
The pile dwelling is for several reasons of great archaeological significance:
At this place two archaeological cultures are represented – the Pitted Ware Culture and the Funnel Beaker Culture.
The site is fixed in time. The more than 800 piles represent 42 years, a floating chronology, which has also been attached to calendar year by numerous radiocarbon dates.
Because of the waterlogged conditions in this mire organic material has been preserved in unusually large amounts – tools of bone and antler, wooden objects apart from the piles in the platform and the platform itself, apples, carbonized grain, tinder mushrooms, large numbers of human and animal bones.
The non-organic material excavated from the site consists of potsherds, flint tools and stone tools of various kinds. It is diverse and very rich, making many different kinds of archaeological research possible. Other research is also possible, for example, research into climatic change. Much ongoing genetic research is based on the human bones, but much remains to be done on the other kinds of material.
In 2015 a project was launched to enhance the digital accessibility of this unique site. The project was completed in 2019 and this research portal is the result of it.
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