New film about the excavations at Motala ström in Sweden: "This place has never been empty..."

The Swedish National Heritage Board and BringitoLife are producing a documentary about the archaeological excavations at Motala ström.

Since the discovery in 1999, of a large settlement site from Early Stone Age (ca 6 000 – 4 000 BC) close to the river Motala ström, the Swedish National Heritage Board has conducted archaeological excavations, in two stages, north and south of the river. The project will close during 2013.

The Swedish National Heritage Board now presents a film on YouTube in order to further promote the story of the archaeological research concerning the Stone Age complex at Motala ström and with the aim to reach new audiences. The film will be subtitled in English. The film is 18 minutes long and produced in association with the production company BringitoLife. The film crew has followed the archaeologists during two field seasons.

Skulls on stakes and a “Stone Age dildo”
Among other artifacts the site provides a rich and multifaceted material of bone and antler, which is very rare for this type of Stone Age excavations. This is due to the exceptionally good conditions for preservation. Artifacts found in anaerobic, cool and moist contexts appear to be manufactured yesterday and not to have been deposited in layers of gyttja for 7 000 or 8 000 years.

The excavations at Motala ström have rendered great attention, nationally as well as internationally, in the realm of scientific research and in media. Partly in connection with the discovery of eleven human crania in a wetland located 100 meters north of the stream, excavated by Stiftelsen Kulturmiljövård. Two of the skulls had wooden stakes inserted into the cranium. And also in connection with the phallic artifact, a tool made of antler and used in flint knapping, which was incorrectly described as a “Stone Age dildo”.

The structure of the excavated area and the multifaceted artifacts in combination with the projects inter disciplinary constitution, wherein together with archaeology also osteology and paleoecology is included, creates widening scopes of interpretation of how the site was used, and also broadens our perception of Early Stone Age society.

View the documentary "This place has never been empty..." (“Här har aldrig varit tomt…”) on the archaeological YouTube-channel of the Swedish National Heritage Board:

Facts about the excavations at Motala ström

Since the discovery of the Early Stone Age settlement in 1999, the Swedish National Heritage Board has conducted archaeological excavations north and south of the river in two stages, between 2000 – 2003 and 2009 – 2013 respectively. Stiftelsen Kulturmiljövård also investigates part of the archaeological complex. The archaeological excavations are part of the Swedish Transport Administration project “BanaVäg Motala – Mjölby” The 2012 archaeological field work is in progress until August and the project will be finished during 2013.

Göran Gruber, archaeologist, phone: +46 104-80 8148
Maria Jansson, press officer, phone: +46 708-83 8027

The Swedish National Heritage Board is the agency of the Swedish government responsible in matters of historical environment and cultural heritage.





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