The edition of Swedish radio’s “Veteskapsradion Historia” from 29th Sept 20202 describes the latest findings from excavations at Ströja, a market and big man’s hall from the “vendeltiden” (600 – 800 CE), the era of Swedish iron age prior to the age of the Vikings. The site at Ströja is at the head of a long bay giving access to the Baltic sea and lies at a node between different routes westwards into the land and from north to south. One fortunate aspect is that it now lies in an agricultural area and is thus open for detailed investigation. It is thought that farmers and merchants from the surrounding countryside gathered at the market at certain times during the year. The existence of the market has been confirmed by the number of finds, including glass beakers, coin clippings, weights, parts of weapons, jewels, and equestrian equipment. These include sceatta coins which have primarily been found in Frisia, Denmark and England. Probably the foreign merchants were required to stop at Ströja to carry out their exchange with locals. The goods on offer could have been furs and similar organic materials, but all traces have been lost.

Archaeologists have discovered a large hall, 40m by 9 m wide, probably a place for meetings and feasts held by the “big man” and his family who controlled the market. In the hall were found a number of gold images (“guldgubbar”), similar to those found in other places in Sweden, demonstrating a common culture across the area. Interestingly, there are no defensive works at the market, but the “big man” probably had soldiers who kept order. This was an area of considerable value to local potentates, the site of the half-legendary battle of Bråvalla.

Acknowledgements to Tobia Svanelid, Björn Hjulström, Marta Lindeberg

You can see pictures of the dig at
but the text is in Swedish.

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