Stone Age dwellings at Forsavan

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In Forsavan there is a tongue of land that has served as an assembly point for the same people since ancient times. So even in the Stone Age.

”About 30 kilometres north of Tärnaby village in Lapland, in the heart of the mountains, the King picked out a fishing place for himself in the 1920s. This place lies at Forsavan on the Tärnaån river. Off the tongue of land where the royal fishing cottage now stands is an excellent spot for angling, and elk pass by on their migrations. Sami people come up the Tärnaån river on their way to fish in lake Tärnasjön, and this tongue of land has served as an assembly point since ancient times. But the King was not the first to establish himself at this location: there were people here already in the Stone Age. This was discovered early in the 1960s when some quartz fragments were found which had been worked by people far back in time. When the King heard about this his interest was aroused at once, and on his initiative excavations were put in hand in 1967 under the direction of docent Hans Christiansson. The project became the first major systematic Stone Age excavation ever carried out so far north in the high-mountain region. The excavations, which went on for five summers, produced a surprising result.
The first summer of the excavations yielded a hearth, and next to it there lay no fewer than 22 000 chippings from arrowhead manufacturing in quartzite. They lay heaped to one side of the hearth. This had been a hunter’s manufactory for making hunting weapons. There were also arrowheads which had broken during manufacture and been discarded. On the other side of the hearth were a mere hundred or so potsherds. This was probably the womenfolk’s place although no organic material was found to substantiate this.
Further excavation disclosed that this was the location of a hut of exactly the same design as the “modern” turf tent huts built in the twentieth century at the King’s fishing venue. The remains of this hut can be regarded as the oldest tent hut we know of. It is thought to be about 3 000 years old, being in use, in other words, during what was the Bronze Age in southern Sweden. The entire design, with the men’s workplace on one side of the hearth and the women’s on the other, is the same as is found in the Sami culture today. Also uncovered close by the remains of the hut is a stone ring carefully positioned adjacent to a large boulder jutting out of the ground.
This arrangement should probably be interpreted as a place of sacrifice, but whether it dates to the same period as the hut is impossible to determine. It is known that in ancient times the Samis had similar places of sacrifice. At the royal site (Kungaudden), which has still not been fully excavated, the remains of many other huts have also been discovered, but these have been disturbed long ago, so that only fragments are left. But the 400 or so square metres dug up so far have yielded hundreds of finds consisting of scrapers, broken arrowheads and materials for arrowheads. Unfortunately all bone and other organic material has been destroyed. A Sami settlement?
Very likely the prehistoric man of Kungaudden belonged to the same cultural milieu as the early Sami. Their finely crafted arrowheads have been encountered in northern Finland, Russia, northern Sweden and Norway. They probably did not herd reindeer but lived by hunting elk and fishing. Are they the same people who scratched fish-like pictures on a green-shimmering boulder discovered by the King himself some years ago by the Tärnaån river, a few kilometres north of Kungaudden? We do not know, but it is possible. At all events Kungaudden stands out as one of our most important places for studying the prehistory of northern Sweden. It is significant that it was the King of Sweden himself who inspired this study and devoted his personal interest throughout to following the progress of the excavation work and lending it his patronage.”
National exhibitions 1973

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