Archaeological Treasures of Bohuslan, Sweden

Europe - Editor - 26 March 2008

Archaeological Treasures of Bohuslan, Sweden

The province of Bohuslan in the most westerly part of Sweden has a wealth of archaeological remains, believed to number more than 20,000, which testify to its long, and sometimes complex, history. Historically Bohuslan has relied on fishing for its income, but in recent years a growing tourist and holiday trade has attracted travelers to the rugged beauty of this strip of Swedish coastline, bringing an alternative source of income to the local people whose descendents have for generations called this area home.

Prior to the 11th century, when proof exists that Bohuslan was in Norway’s hands, the history of the area is somewhat controversial, but goes back to at least the Migration Period of 300–700 AD. During the time that Norway was a self-governing kingdom, the province of Bohuslan prospered and the Bahus castle was one of the kingdom’s vital fortresses. However, when Norway united with Denmark, the province began to experience a decline in wealth as the area was forced to ward off frequent attacks from Swedish forces during border disputes. In 1308 King Hakon V Magnuson of Norway commissioned the construction of the Bohus Fortress to ward off Swedish invasion. Once Bohuslan became Swedish territory in 1658, following the Treaty of Roskilde, the Bohus Fortress no longer served it purpose, and after being used for a time as a prison, it fell into disuse. Although some of the stone of the fortress was used by residents of the town of Kungalv to build houses, most of the fortress, including the large northern tower, is still intact and currently serves as an interesting museum.

Rock carvings can be found throughout Bohuslan and these portray the life of a primarily agricultural society. Carvings of ships, animals, bowls, fertility figures and numerous unidentified circular objects abound, with many of them painted red in the indentations of the carvings. The rock carvings found at Tanum are believed to have been made 2,500 to 3,000 years ago and have been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage program.

As more and more people choose to spend their leisure time away from the frantic pace of the cities, tranquil areas such as Bohuslan are rapidly gaining in popularity. The beautiful coastline of Bohuslan is scattered with countless skerries – small uninhabitable rocky islands or reefs – which have been worn smooth by the elements. The pure air and clean salty water add to the therapeutic appeal of the area - it is easy to understand why people visit the province of Bohuslan in Sweden.


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