A Room with a View: Archaeological Geophysical Prospection and Excavations at Sandby ringfort, Öland, Sweden
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
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.
Ringfort, Öland, geophysical survey, ground-penetrating radar, magnetometry
Research subject Archaeological Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79236OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-79236DiVA: diva2:548437