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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 Hans Browall has also written a series of unpublished reports on the sites with  SHM accession numbers between 33027 and 36758.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
Svanhals 16 Burial LN
Svanhals 1 Burial LN  14219
Roglösa 72 Burial LN
Roglösa 39:1 Burial LN
Roglösa 38 Burial LN?
Roglösa 39:2 Burial LN
Roglösa 20 Burial LN?
Roglösa 41 Burial LN?
Roglösa 14 Burial LN?
Väversunda 58 Burial LN?
Väversunda 59 Burial LN?
Ödeshög 23 Burial LN
Västra Tollstad 12:1 Burial MN 16025, 33762 Janzon 2009; Fornander 2011
Västra Tollstad 23 Burial? ?  13928
Ödeshög 6 Settlement 12229, 15634 Åby Fyrbondegård, wetland site with ground flint artefacts
Västra Tollstad 19 Settlement 36754
Västra Tollstad 67 Settlement MN 33027 1 undecorated pottery sherd (MN or earlier)
Västra Tollstad 76 Settlement 33028
Västra Tollstad 77 Settlement 33029 1 ax preform of slatey amphibolite
Västra Tollstad 78 Settlement 33030
Svanhals 60 Settlement Ramstad, wetland site with ground flint artefacts, MN boat-axe, simple shafthole axe, flint dagger
Svanhals 126 Settlement 36752
Svanhals 132 Settlement 36752
Svanhals 145 Settlement 36752
Svanhals 146 Settlement 36752
Svanhals 148 Settlement 36752
Svanhals 149 Settlement 36752
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
Väversunda 22 Settlement 36753
Väversunda 23 Settlement 36753
Väversunda 24 Settlement 36753
Väversunda 25 Settlement 36753
Väversunda 31 Settlement 36753
Väversunda 36 Settlement 36753
Väversunda 39 Settlement 36753
Roglösa 57 Settlement 36758
Roglösa 84 Settlement 36758
Källstad 5 Settlement 36756
Källstad 6 Settlement 36756
Källstad 7 Settlement 36756
Källstad 15 Settlement 36756
Källstad 16 Settlement 36616 Test excavation, Lindön in Lake Tåkern
Källstad 22 Settlement No finds collected
Källstad 23 Settlement 36756
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.
Strå 33 Settlement
Strå 35 Settlement
Hov 45 Settlement 36757
Hov 72 Settlement 36757
Hov 73 Settlement 36757
Hov 74 Settlement 36757
Herrestad 12 Settlement 36755 These two sites are not included in Browall’s thesis of 1986 but they figure in the unpublished reports.
Herrestad 14 Settlement 36755


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.