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The Blomsholm stone ship - Strømstad, Sweden

2017-10-08
The Blomsholm Stone Ship, stone circle, Stromstad, Sweden. Strømstad, Sverige.

For almost 2,000 years, the Blomsholm Ship has 'sailed' across the meadows. It covers also a pre-historic grave: does it symbolise the buried person's last journey?

Photo. The Blomsholm Stone Ship, Stromstad, Sweden. Strømstad, Sverige. For almost 2,000 years, the Blomsholm Ship has 'sailed' across the meadows. Stone circle shaped as a ship. © Travel Explorations.

I explored, or shall I say boarded, the remains of the ancient Blomsholm stone ship on Saturday 23rd September 2017. On the ship I travelled back far away back in time. The ship is one of the oldest in Sweden. The bow and stern are about 4 metres high and dates from the early Scandinavian Iron Age (c. 400 - 600 AD).

The amazing stone circle is located in a beautiful cultivated landscape. Across the green field, I could observe it from a long distance. It was first when I looked at it from a spesific angel, I could see the shape of a ship.

The stone structure reaches over 40 metres long and is constructed with 49 stones. As I could understand the size and prominent position of the grave at the site shows that an important person must be buried here. As is typical for stone ships, it has a large stone, often a runic stone, at each end, and a number of smaller stones making up the ship shape in between. Stone ships were often used to burn important, deceased people, and there are traces of a grave inside the Blomsholm Stone Ship.

Blomsholm is one of Bohuslän's finest cultural heritage landscapes, with lots of remains from the Stone Age until medieval times. Blomsholm has ancient remains of national interest. Around Blomsholm Country House is an area with ancient remains, which is of national interest. For this reason, it may be the most exciting pre-historic site in Bohuslän. There are also several other large megaliths in the area. Another stone circle and menhirs (Neolithic age) stand in the wood near the viking-ship shaped stone circle.

The stone ship or ship setting was an early burial custom in Scandinavia, Northern Germany and the Baltic states. The grave or cremation burial was surrounded by slabs or stones in the shape of a ship. The ships vary in size and were erected from c. 1000 BC to 1000 AD. tone ship were an early burial custom, characteristically Scandinavian but also found in Northern Germany and the Baltic states. The grave or cremation burial was surrounded by tightly or loosely fit slabs or stones in the outline of a ship. They are often found in grave fields, but are sometimes far from any other archaeological remains.

Sweden has plenty of stone ships waiting for more explorations and adventures, especially on the Gotland Island. It reminds of an amazing past.

Stein Morten Lund, 23rd September 2017

Additional information
Blomsholm stone ship Stromstad Tourist Information - Strømstad turistinformasjon.

General information about stone ship building in the past:
According to Wikipedia stone ship were an early burial custom. Ship settings are of varying sizes, some of monumental proportions. The largest known is the mostly destroyed Jelling stone ship in Denmark, which was at least 170 m (560 ft) long. In Sweden, the size varies from 67 m (220 ft) (Ale's Stones) to only a few metres. The orientation also varies. Inside, they can be cobbled or filled with stones, or have raised stones in the positions of masts. The illusion of being ships has often been reinforced by larger stones at the ends. Some have an oblique stern. Scattered examples are found in Northern Germany and along the coast of the Baltic States. Excavations have shown that they are usually from the latter part of the Nordic Bronze Age, c. 1000 BC – 500 BC (e.g. Gotland) or from the Germanic Iron Age, the Vendel Period and the Viking Age (e.g. Blekinge and Scania).

The Catharina Forest, Catharinaskogen:
The area is a wooded stream valley with a walking trail, in what used to be called the ”French Park”. Old trees and a rich bird fauna. On a small hill is a grave field with stone circles. There are around 40 graves from the Iron Age. The largest of the stone circles has a diameter of 36 metres and consists of 10 stones – 7-9 stones is the most common. Gröne Hög is six mounds of varying size, dating back to the Migration Period, around 400-550 AD. The biggest mound is 6.5 metres high and around 40 metres in diameter. Source: Stromstad Sweden Tourist Information Blomsholm.

Rock Carvings, Bohuslän, Massleberg, Strømstad in Sweden:
In Bohuslän you will find the world’s biggest concentration of rock carvings, incredibly beautiful and full of life. Warriors, ships, wagons, oxen and circles are common motifs for the carvings, which have been dated to the time before the Bronze Age, 1800 - 500 BC. You’ll find different types of rock carvings in many places around the Strömstad area.
In Massleberg-Jörlov, north of Skee church, you’ll find exciting images of ship builders and acrobats (images of acrobats are common on rock carvings in Bohuslän).


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