Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Evje, Norway -- stones and mounds

Galtelandssteinen or Evjesteinen
While we were visiting Evje og Hornnes, Norway last summer one of the places Alf took us was the old Nickel Works down by the Otra River near Fennefoss.  The standing stones shown in the photo above caught our eyes and we stopped to walk around and read the placards explaining about the site.  The stones are replicas of the original stones that were moved to the University of Oslo.  The original central stone dates from about 1016 and was on the Galteland farm for approximately 700 years.  It was surrounded by eight smaller stones.  It is called the Galteland stone (Galtelandssteinen) or the Evje Stone (Evjesteinen).  

Runes on the large standing stone

The runes are most likely some of the oldest ever found from around the time Christianity came to Norway (1000 AD).  The inscription faced the southeast.  A rough translation:  “Arnstein erected this stone in memory of Bjør his son who lost his life when Canute was defeated in battle in England.  There is only one God.”  Canute the Great set out from Agder in 1016.

Another large stone with the date 1872 stands just outside the ring of stones. 

As we continued walking down toward the river we noticed something else interesting.  Looking back up the hill we realized that the hill was a mound or part of a mound similar to the Conus Mound in the Mound Cemetery, Marietta Ohio.  

Map on the information placard showing the positions of the old mounds

There was a map or diagram on a placard showing the placement of 45 mounds dating from the Roman Iron Age (0-300/400 AD).  The one we had walked down and around is known as the King’s Mound.  It was the largest mound and is the only mound still easy to see.   Most of the other mounds were destroyed or obscured by the industrial activity at the Evje Nickel Smelter.  The King’s Mound, 30 meters in diameter (98 feet) and 2.5 meters high (8 feet), is probably the oldest with the smaller mounds placed later around it and eastward.  The majority of the mounds were round with just six as oblongs instead of circles.  The King’s Mound had a small depression around it just like the moat surrounding the Conus Mound in Marietta.  Results of excavations show that both men and women were buried here.  Some ceramics were found in the graves also.    Today law protects the remaining mounds.  Below are some pictures showing the King's Mound and surroundings.

The last picture shows Fennefoss the rapids in the river near the mounds.

It would be interesting to learn if any of the Norwegian cousins know more about the standing stones or the mounds.

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