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Sweden's First Restoration of an Ancient Monument - the burial ground Hemlanden on Birka

Mattias Schönbeck

Cite this as: Schönbeck, M. 2023 Sweden's First Restoration of an Ancient Monument - the burial ground Hemlanden on Birka, Internet Archaeology 62.


Hemlanden in the 1940s. A day at work for Birka's sheep
Hemlanden in the 1940s. A day at work for Birka's sheep

In Sweden, there is a centuries-old tradition of making visible and providing data about a selection of the country's ancient remains through land management and information at these sites. This work has been carried out in different ways, but the purpose has always been to protect, make visible and to inform the public about our cultural heritage. Today this is routine, but at the beginning of the 20th century there were major tensions regarding how cultural heritage should be cared for.

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  • Keywords: Sweden, Viking age sites, land management, agricultural use, biological cultural heritage
  • Accepted: 14 November 2022. Published: 23 March 2023
  • Funding: The publication of this article is funded by the European Archaeological Council.
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Corresponding author: Mattias Schönbeck
National Heritage Board, Sweden

Full text

Figure 1: The island of Björkö, located in Lake Mälaren (Image credit: Lantmäteriet CC0)

Figure 2: A hillshade (elevation model) over the north part of Björkö (Source: the digital Antiquities Register 'Fornsök'

Figure 3: Illustration by Evald Hansen based on the original plan of chamber grave BJ 581 by excavator Hjalmar Stolpe, published in 1889 (Image credit: Stolpe, 1889)

Figure 4: A part of the map of Björkö from 1747 (Image credit: Lantmäteriet, akt A1-4:1 Storskifte 1747, CC0)

Figure 5: Hemlanden 1912, overgrowth (Image credit: Gustaf Hallström. CC0)

Figure 6: Hemlanden 1931. Before the restoration of the Hemlanden (Image credit: Karl Joel Österberg, DigitaltMuseum, CC BY-NC)

Figure 7: Hemlanden 1939. The restoration of Hemlanden almost complete. (Image credit: Mis Lagergren. CCO)

Figure 8: Hemlanden in the 1940s. A day at work for Birka's sheep (Image credit: Carl Gustaf Rosenberg. CC0)

Figure 9: Hemlanden 1946 (Image credit: Nils Lagergren. CC0)

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