The people of Östergötland appear to have converted to Christianity around AD 1000. This was just about the time when, as I mentioned initially, Olof Eriksson succeeded in getting both the Götar and the Svear to elect him as their king. This was in turn most likely one important reason why the Götavirke rampart was allowed to fall into disrepair. Though Olof's political position may have been precarious, during his 27-year reign he began attempts to stich his united kingdom together, which would have reduced organized hostilities among his subjects. Nevertheless, a man commemorated on a runestone in Söderköping (Ög 177) died in the early 11th century because he was 'cut down'. We do not know by whom. In the 11th century, administrative centres for the nascent kingdom appeared in the form of royal manors named Husaby (Olausson 2000; Rahmqvist 1994, 108; see Chapter 7). This appellation was usually tacked onto manorial farms that had borne quite different names before, and which had sometimes served as regional foci already in preceding centuries. The distribution of Östergötland's eight Husaby manors shows quite plainly where the kings of the nth century had their main points of support: closest to Svealand, one is on Östergötland's northern border, five are on Vikbolandet, and only the remaining two are near the middle of the plains belt. Suggestively, one of these royal manors was sited immediately outside the defunct Götavirke rampart. Thus, summing up, it seems that in the 9th and 10th centuries the kings of Östergötland despaired of defending Vikbolandet. Conversely, in the nth century that area became the main bridgehead in Östergötland of Swedish royalfederal power.
Daler skrev:En annan referens: http://scienceblogs.com/aardvarchaeolog ... ft%202.pdf.
Mead-halls of the Eastern Geats, Martin Rundkvist, 2009
Hittar också en text "Från borg till bunker", verkar akademisk men tyvärr bara i form av en textfil konstigt nog. Men troligtvis lite grann och Götavirke.
https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/d ... TEXT02.txt
The Götavirke and the Stegeborg Barrage
A development toward centralised power is illustrated by the rampart-and-moat of Götavirke, a
3.4 km long strategic structure between Lakes Asplången and Lillsjön in Västra Husby parish
(Nordén 1938:240-255; Stjerna 1999). The rampart's name is a modern invention by analogy to
the Danevirke, the ramparts defending the southern border of Viking Period Denmark against the
Franks. The Götavirke was designed to keep out seaborne invaders entering Östergötland by way
of the long, narrow inlet of Slätbaken and Rivers Storån/Lillån. The inlet was also closed with a
barrage of wooden posts in the seabed at the Stegeborg narrows around the same time (Westerdahl
1986; Högmer 1988; 1989; 1999). There is no archaeological evidence for any Viking Period
fortifications in the Bråviken inlet north of Vikbolandet: all we have here is a place name of
uncertain age on the southern shore indicating a barrage near the inner end of the inlet.
The Götavirke was, according to two combinable radiocarbon dates from inside the rampart,
erected some time in the interval 780–890 cal AD. It must have taken great manpower and resources
to build, maintain and defend. For how long it remained in use is uncertain, but a radiocarbon
date from a stick found in the upper layers of the moat’s fill indicates that the structure
had fallen into disrepair long before 1200. Four early radiocarbon dates from the Stegeborg barrage
are centred in the later 9th century cal AD. (Before the excavations of the late 1990s, there
was some confusion about the Götavirke's date, and it was often discussed in the context of hillforts
and other early-1st Millennium material, e.g. Nordén 1938; Kaliff 1999:122–123; Nielsen 2000b.)
We may assume that the potentate who caused the Götavirke and the barrage to be built was
the most powerful ruler in the history of Östergötland up to his day. No earlier structure or monument
exists that suggests control over comparable labour resources. The Götavirke is located in
such a way as to defend the central part of the plains belt. Its builders did not expect to be able to
defend the easternmost quarter of the plains, the Vikbolandet peninsula (J. Jansson 1997; Kaliff
1999:122-123), and most likely did not have much in the way of a defensive navy. This tells us
something about the size of Late Iron Age political units, though the rampart need not necessarily
mark the eastern limit of its builder's power. Its placement was probably partly due to topography
and strategic considerations: the edge of a ruler's sphere of political influence is not necessarily
located in a defensible position. Yet Vikbolandet did lay open to seaborne attack and may have
been impossible to defend; perhaps it had independent rulers or indeed lay under the permanent
control of a polity in another province. The erection of the Götavirke was a great show of
strength, but also an admission of limitations. The rampart and barrage demonstrate that over
time there was a succession of kings in Östergötland with an area to defend, someone they needed to defend it against, and the means to defend it. But it is also clear that they did not trust
their naval power nor the military might of Vikbolandet's inhabitants to keep invaders out. The
dates of the structures support the historical sources’ suggestion that no king successfully claimed
overlordship (however tenuous) over both Svealand and Götaland until about AD 1000 (Gahrn
[Side note: in the forest of Alsveden, 2 km west of the Götavirke, is a parallel structure extending
2.3 km northward from the vicinity of the Svinsätter hillfort with several interruptions (Raä
V. Husby 125 & 182). It has been discussed (e.g. Nordén 1937b:10, 88-89; 1938:242-243) as a
possible earlier version of the Götavirke or a coeval second line of defence. The Alsveden wall is
undated and looks in part like a collapsed field wall of the ubiquitous type, in part more like a
hillfort rampart, being up to 5 m wide. Jesper Jansson (1997) considers the Alsveden wall to be
rather useless as a defensive structure. Much of it is too weakly built to deter anyone but the livestock,
and over long stretches it runs below sheer cliff faces where there is little need for fortifications.
All in all, the Alsveden wall appears to have more to do with animal husbandry than with
Structure Context Sample ID Date BP Calibrated date
Götavirke Charcoal inside rampart Ua-15396 1210±50
720-890 cal AD
Götavirke Charcoal inside rampart Ua-15395 1175±55
790-960 cal AD
Götavirke Pinewood stick near top
of moat fill
Ua-15658 915±55 BP 1040-1180 cal AD
Barrage '86. Ste 43 St-10670 1110±75
780-1020 cal AD
Barrage '86. Ste 40 St-10671 1100±75
780-1020 cal AD
Barrage '86. Ste 41 St-10672 1145±75
780-990 cal AD
Barrage '86. Ste 42 St-10673 1190±75
720-960 cal AD
Barrage '97. Ste 100 GrN-23668 1220±15
720-880 cal AD (2 s)
Barrage '97. Ste 101 GrN-23669 905±15 BP 1040-1190 cal AD (2 s)
Jarl Haakon's Attack on Götaland
There are no good written sources for military events in 9th or 10th century Östergötland. But
there is one coeval piece of poetry that furnishes a glimpse of what sort of threats the Götavirke
was built to stave off. Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla preserves fragments of the poem Vellekla,
"Dearth of Gold", by Icelander Einarr Helgason (dated late 10th century). It is a panegyric to Jarl
Haakon Sigurdsson of Trøndelag (c. 935-995).
"The foe of the fleeing
Went to offer on the meadow
And got answer that day
All would go well in fight.
Then the battle guider
Saw the stark ravens.
The chief of the temple would
Take the life of the Gauts.
A sword thing now the jarl held
Where (before him) no man
With shield on his arm
Had been able to harry.
No man from the sea
Had on so long a way borne
The golden shield: through
All Gautland he went."
Heimskringla , trans. Monsen & Smith 1932:134
Flótta gekk til fréttar
fellinjörðr á velli,
draugr gat dolga Ságu
dagráð Heðins váða,
ok haldboði hildar
hrægamma sá ramma;
Týr vildi sá týna
teinlautar fjör Gauta.
Háði jarl, þars áðan
engi mannr, und ranni
hyrjar þing, at herja,
hjörlautar, kom, Sörla.
Bara maðr lyngs in lengra
(alt vann gramr of gengit
Gautland) frá sæ randir.
Einarr says only that Haakon and his men attacked Götaland and penetrated far inland. The 13th
century historical works Heimskringla and Fagrskinna each offer a similar context for the poem,
both probably being based on the lost Saga of the Jarls of Hlaðir. Being late and depending on a
single lost work, they are not good sources for the events in question. What they say, at any rate,
is that in the 960s Jarl Haakon received summons to muster an army and help King Harold
Bluetooth defend the Danevirke ramparts in southern Jutland against the forces of Emperor Otto
II. When Haakon arrived, Harold had already come to terms with Otto and accepted Christianity.
Haakon did likewise, but then almost immediately renounced the new faith and sailed east into
the Baltic on a raiding expedition along the coast of present-day Sweden. Reaching Östergötland,
he defeated a local Jarl Ottar, left his ships and marched his army through Götaland home to Norway,
plundering along the way.
To my mind, Haakon's overland trek to Norway smacks strongly of the legendary, particularly
as Snorri has him burning his fleet before beginning the long march home. (F-X. Dillman, however,
apparently lends the episode credence in a 2008 paper.) Indeed, looking only at the fragments
of Vellekla, we find that Einarr does not specify what part of Götaland Haakon attacked
and does not say that he walked home to Norway from there. Haakon may in fact have entered
Västergötland by way of the Göta river valley, in which case the poem is irrelevant to the present
discussion. Be that as it may; the Götavirke was not thrown together in a hurry because any one
Viking leader was on his way up the coast. Like the Danevirke, it was a well-organised response
to a long-term problem. Expeditions like Haakon's were probably not uncommon in the Baltic
though the historical sources are poor.
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