Kivik, Kungagraven (The King's Grave)

The King's Grave near Kivik (Kungagraven, Kiviksgraven) in the southeastern portion of the Swedish province of Skåne (55°41′N 14°14′E) is what remains of an unusually grand Nordic Bronze Age double burial c. 1000 BC. It is located about 320 metres (1,050 ft) from the shore of the eastern coast of Scania in southernmost Sweden.

History of Sweden - Early History

After the last Ice Age, when the ice cap melted and receded further up northwards;nomadic Stone Age hunter-gatherers (from Serbia, Germanic regions and other southern regions) ventured into what is now Sweden. They soon built settlements, growing crops, making crafts, hunting fish and farming animals during about 3000BC to 1800BC.

There are increasing sites being discovered of dwelling places and graves verified by archaeologists from during this period of time. Polished flint axes and decorated pottery are some well-known objects that were made and utilised in this period of time.

 

From 1800BC to 500BC the climate improved and the Bronze Age thrived, producing long existing rock carvings. The carvings include depictions of warfare, agriculture, long rowing ships, domesticated animals and wild animals of seals, elk, reindeer and bears. Kiviksgraven in Österlen, is one known huge burial ground from that period of time. It was also during this time that people lived in small villages and in farmsteads, with bronze being imported from Ireland and later from central Europe..

After 500BC the Iron Age developed with the growth of man-made agricultural tools and furnaces. Also at this time the runic alphabet was formed by southern elite Scandanavians in about the 2nd century, suspected as having been derived from Germanic regions.

In 535AD-536AD there was an atmospheric dust event and it caused great famine.

As time passed and reached the 7th century AD;the Svea people of the Mälaren valley, which is west of Stockholm, began to rule. Their kingdom was known as 'Svea Rike', or Sverige and it was the basis of this country’s name of Sweden.

Image of Antique Viking Ship Model

Antique Viking Ship Model.

VIKINGS

The Viking period was from AD 790 to AD 1100, as then Scandinavia was formerly Christianised in AD 1100 and the following period of time is known as being a time of early Christians. During the Viking Era there were chiefdoms and kingdoms with rulers. Voyages across the seas were easier than journeys through Europe’s inland forests and in due time, Viking raids were being done to other countries, and since they were war expeditions the Vikings developed a war-like reputation. The Vikings had peaceful trade and contact with the Eastern regions such as Russia (as there defence was strong and they were affluent). However much plundering was done to countries in western Europe.

An original Swedish Viking vessel and the only one is in Göteborg's Stadsmuseum. Many raids were done on monasteries and they reached as far as America. Some Vikings did not do raids but set up trade and began settling in foreign countries. The word Viking stems from ‘vik’ which means bay or cove.

Cremation of the dead and the deceased’s possessions was a ritual of the Vikings. They then buried the remains under a mound. Impressive stone ship settings (large stones placed around a burial ground in the shape of a ship) were constructed in Sweden.

There are various locations in Sweden where treasuries have been found, collected and hoarded away, dated back from this era by the Vikings. Although there were many kings in Sweden, each one ruled over different sections. Eric the Victorious, is the first acknowledged (as there is a consensus) king of Sweden who lived in the years of about 970–994. Then after that there was King Olof Skötkonung (during the years of the late 960s – circa 1020) who was the first Christian king of Sweden.