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A Room with a View: Archaeological Geophysical Prospection and Excavations at Sandby ringfort, Öland, Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Archaeological Research Laboratory.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Archaeological Research Laboratory.
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Archaeological investigations and clear aerial photographs have identified the presence of house foundations within several ring forts on the island of Öland, situated east of the Swedish mainland. One of them, Sandbyborg, was selected for further investigations by means of a ground-penetrating radar (GRP) and magnetometry survey. The purpose of the geophysical survey was to establish the fort’s spatial layout, to identify any internal constructions within the houses and to investigate whether the fort had multiple building phases. Targeted archaeological excavations was subsequently carried out to verify the validity of the geophysical results and to recover datable material that would enable the understanding of how Sandbyborg was chronologically related to the other ringforts of the island. This information could then be used to better understand the function of Sandbyborg. The results of the geophysical survey clearly show the presence of 36 or 37 stone foundations for houses situated radially aroundthe wall of the fort as well as 16 or 17 similar house foundations in a central building group. The geophysical results also provided information on the possible location of hearths, kilns and pits within the fort and also confirm the location of a third gate situated in the north-western part of the fort. The spatial layout and inner size of Sandbyborg is very similar to one of the other Migration Period ring forts on Öland, Eketorp II. However, there is no evidence of multiple building phases in the data from Sandbyborg. The subsequent excavations showed a very good correlation with the geophysical data. Datable finds, a 14C date from a human metatarsal found in one of the trenches and the lack of geophysical evidence of multiple building phases indicate that the ringfort was used for a limited period of time during thelate fourth century AD. Given the available evidence it is suggested that Sandbyborg primarily was used for military purposes or as a place of refuge intimes of unrest as its location in the outfields, far from arable lands, contradicts an interpretation of Sandbyborg as a fortified village, but as the evidence about the ringforts on Öland is restricted a continued use of geophysical prospection and excavations within the other forts is suggested as a means of obtaining a deeper understanding of the purpose and context of these highly interesting structures.

Keyword [en]
Ringfort, Öland, geophysical survey, ground-penetrating radar, magnetometry
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79236OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-79236DiVA: diva2:548437
Available from: 2012-08-30 Created: 2012-08-30 Last updated: 2012-09-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Remnant echoes of the past: Archaeological geophysical prospection in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Remnant echoes of the past: Archaeological geophysical prospection in Sweden
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis has been to investigate the benefits, pitfalls and possibilities of using geophysical methods in archaeological projects. This is exemplified by surveys carried out at archaeological sites in different geographical and chronological contexts. The thesis also aims at investigating the cause for the under-use of the methods in Swedish archaeology by looking at previously conducted surveys. The methods used during these surveys have been Ground-penetrating radar (GPR), magnetometer, slingram and a kappameter. The surveys in the mountain tundra region of Lapland show that magnetic susceptibility surveys is a valuable aid in discovering heaps of fire-cracked stones and when combined with magnetometry, also hearths. GPR and magnetometer surveys within the Migration Period ringfort Sandbyborg provided the spatial layout of the fort and indicated, along with results from recent excavations and metal detections, many similarities with the ringfort Eketorp II. The non-magnetic character of the sedimentary bedrock on Öland and Gotland is suitable for magnetometer surveys and the method is also highly appropriate for the detection of the remains of high-temperature crafts. GPR surveys at St. Mary’s Dominican convent in Sigtuna produced the spatial layout of the central cloister area. The investigations also show that the geology, pedology, land use and the character of commonly occurring prehistoric remains in Sweden, in certain circumstances and in certain areas, have restricted the possibility of successfully carrying out geophysical surveys. Care must therefore be taken to choose the right instrument for the survey and to tailor the sampling density of each geophysical survey, according to the character and size of the expected archaeological remains, in order to maximize their information return. To increase the use of geophysical methods in Sweden the educational opportunities, both for surveyors and professional archaeologists, need to improve.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, 2012. 116 p.
Series
Theses and papers in scientific archaeology, ISSN 1400-7835 ; 13
Keyword
Archaeological prospection, geophysical survey, Sweden, Ground-penetrating radar, magnetometry, Slingram, magnetic susceptibility, Neolithic, Migration period, Viking Age, Middle Ages, Öland, Gotland, Sigtuna, Lapland
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79239 (URN)978-91-7447-549-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-10-12, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 C, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2012-09-20 Created: 2012-08-30 Last updated: 2012-09-26Bibliographically approved

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