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The Big Five: Mapping the subsurface of Iron Age forts on the Island of Öland, Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Archaeological Research Laboratory.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6747-5404
2015 (English)In: Archaeologia Polona: Special theme: Archaeological Prospection / [ed] Aleksandra Rzeszotarska-Nowakiewicz, 2015, Vol. 53, 521-525 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The island of Öland in the Baltic Sea is home to several large ring-forts dated to about AD 200–700 (Fig. 1). Eighteen ring-forts are known from historical maps and records, but only 15 have been preserved. Only one of these forts, Eketorp, was subject to large-scale archaeological investigations and the fort was completely excavated in 1964–74 (Borg et al. 1976). During the excavations some 53 stone house foundations were discovered inside the fort (Fig. 2) and surveys and archaeological testing have confirmed the existence of similar foundations in at least ten other forts on the island (Fallgren 2008). Since Eketorp is the only completely excavated ring-fort, it is seen as a model for all the other Ölandic forts, despite the fact that the other forts may have held different functions. Several ring-forts are also too large for traditional archaeological excavations and as a consequence little is known about them. Many forts, at least since the beginning of the 17th century (e.g., Tegnér 2008: 44), were subject to intensive agricultural activity, which may have had a detrimental effect on the preservation of archaeological remains.“The Big Five” is a project funded by the Swedish research council and the Royal Academy of Letters History and Antiquities to use geophysical prospection methods in the investigation of five of these ring-forts: Gråborg, Vedby borg, Bårby borg, Löts borg and Svarteberga borg. The purpose of the surveys is to nuance the picture of the Ölandic forts by providing new information regarding any preserved remains buried in the forts. An underlying purpose is also to evaluate the deleterious impact of earlier agricultural activity.The forts will be surveyed using the moto-rised ground-penetrating radar (GPR) system MIRA (MALÅ imaging radar array). This sys-tem can be used to survey large areas at high speed and collect high-resolution data without affecting the buried remains below ground and has been tested successfully in Sweden before (e.g., Trinks et al. 2010; Trinks and Biwall 2011; Trinks et al. 2013). The GPR measurements will be complemented by magnetometer sur-veys in selected areas and also include mobile mapping system (MMS) documentation using the GeoTracker at Gråborg and Vedby borg (see Viberg and Larson: 396-399 in this vol-ume). The geophysical results would advance our understanding of these forts by providing information regarding their spatial layout and by identifying different activity areas. This information can be used for 3D reconstructions and provide archaeologists with detailed maps of the subsurface, which can enable future tar-geted excavations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 53, 521-525 p.
Series
Archaeologia Polona, ISSN 0066-5924 ; 53
Keyword [en]
ring-fort, Iron Age, Öland, Sweden, ground-penetrating radar, MIRA, magnetometer
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-121122OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-121122DiVA: diva2:856483
Conference
11th International Conference on Archaeological Prospection, Warsaw, Poland, September 15-19, 2015
Projects
The Big Five
Funder
Swedish Research CouncilThe Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities (KVHAA)
Available from: 2015-09-24 Created: 2015-09-24 Last updated: 2017-06-13Bibliographically approved

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