Alvastra in Östergötland
How does the Alvastra pile dwelling compare with the other Neolithic sites in the surrounding region?
Apart from studying the pile dwelling in detail, Hans Browall has also attempted to put it in its Stone Age context by making a study of Stone Age remains in the SW of the province of Östergötland, comprising 17 parishes around Lake Tåkern (Browall 1986:137 ff; fig 64 and 65). The table below is based on Hans Browall’s text and the references he gives there. Hans Browall has also written a series of unpublished reports on the sites with SHM accession numbers between 33027 and 36758. These reports are available in ATA and the finds belong to the collections of the Swedish History Museum. A book by Hans Browall on these sites is to be published (2020) by the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities.
|Parish||Ancient monument number||Type of monument||Date||SHM accession number||Reference / Comment|
|Västra Tollstad||12:1||Burial||MN||16025, 33762||Janzon 2009; Fornander 2011|
|Ödeshög||6||Settlement||12229, 15634||Åby Fyrbondegård, wetland site with ground flint artefacts|
|Västra Tollstad||67||Settlement||MN||33027||1 undecorated pottery sherd (MN or earlier)|
|Västra Tollstad||77||Settlement||33029||1 ax preform of slatey amphibolite|
|Svanhals||60||Settlement||Ramstad, wetland site with ground flint artefacts, MN boat-axe, simple shafthole axe, flint dagger|
|Kumla||24||Settlement||Browall lists this site in his thesis of 1986 but his series of reports on the Tåkern sites do not include a site from Kumla.|
|Väversunda||77||Settlement||EN||36618||Test excavation, Charlottenberg|
|Källstad||16||Settlement||36616||Test excavation, Lindön in Lake Tåkern|
|Källstad||22||Settlement||No finds collected|
|Strå||32||Settlement||Browall lists these three sites in his thesis of 1986 but his series of reports on the Tåkern sites do not include sites from Strå.|
|Herrestad||12||Settlement||36755||These two sites are not included in Browall’s thesis of 1986 but they figure in the unpublished reports.|
There are many points of comparison here. There are other wetland sites in the immediate neighbourhood of Alvastra pile dwelling. They may be of similar date or later. Was there any relationship between the sites? There is at least one site with an artefact of slatey amphibolite (Västra Tollstad ancient monument 77), a type of rock otherwise only found at the pile dwelling. Does this constitute a connection between the two places? This list also includes sites that predate the pile dwelling, for example Charlottenberg in Väversunda. Does this site bear any relationship to the pile dwelling?
Hans Browall has recently described the large Stone Age assemblage exposed during the excavations of the medieval convent of Alvastra (Västra Tollstad parish, ancient monument 1:1). It contains both Late Neolithic and Mesolithic compontents (Browall 2019:10ff). Fig. 1 in Browall’s publication lists some of this material. Fig. 1 (file will be downloaded shortly) here lists the material as it appears in the database of the Swedish History Museum.
Tom Carlsson has recently presented a picture of Alvastra pile dwelling in its local Stone Age context in his book Perspectives on the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in Östergötland, Eastern Middle Sweden (2014). An extract from this book can be found here.
The following references on this page have no web links:
Browall, H., 1986. Alvastra pålbyggnad. Social och ekonomisk bas. Theses and papers in North-European archaeology 15. Stockholm.
Browall, H., 2019. Alvastra genom tiderna.
Fornander, E., 2011. Consuming and communicating identities. Dietary diversity and interaction in Middle Neolithic Sweden. Theses and papers in scientific archaeology 12. Stockholm.
Janzon, G.O., 2009. The dolmen in Alvastra. Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och antikvitets akademien, Handlingar Antikvariska serien 47. Stockholm.