Kungahällaprojektet - en bakgrundsteckning

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Kungahälla was the southernmost town in medieval Norway. The site, now in Sweden, is about 2 kmwest of today's Kungälv. Kungahälla occupies a significant place in the oldest written sources, the Norse sagas, where we have a glimpse of the important role that the town played in early medieval Norwegian society. Opinions have been divided as to how far back this
role can he taken, but there is no certain written information before the first half of the twelfth century. The written sources nevertheless tell us that
royal influence over the town was considerable.

Kungahälla is first mentioned as one of six civitates in Norway in 1130, by the English historian Ordericus Vitalis. Kungahalla was the site of the first monastery to be founded in Bohuslan, Kastellekioster, an Augustinian house in all probability founded in the 1160s under the auspices of Archbishop Eystein. In the latter half of the thirteenth century a Franciscan friary was also built, mentioned for the first time in 1272. An important structure is the fortress on Ragnhildsholmen in Nordre Älv, completed by 1257

At the end of the nineteenth century, Wilhelm Berg investigated the ruins of the RagnhiIdsholmen fortress and a few years later the Augustinian friary,
as well as parts of the town. A small-scale investigation of the Augustinian friary also took place in 1942. In the 1950s there were excavations of the
Franciscan friary, when parts of a churchyard withthe remains of a surrounding wall were documented. In addition, parts of yet another churchyard with its wall remains were investigated in 1958. There was no concerted picture of the archaeological history of the place until publication no. 29 of the Medieval Town Project.

During the 1980s the possibility of conducting new archaeological investigations within the area ofthe old town arose once again. After trial digs in 1985, a programme was drawn up for a project, the main aim of which was
to determine the character of Kungahälla in the period up to the thineenth-century expansion. It is reasonable to regard the investigations of
Kungahälla as part of the broad range of urban investigations geared to the Early Middle Ages in Scandinavia. What makes the Kungahälla Project
particularly interesting is, of course, the geographical location of the town, along with the problems associated with the concept of urbanization that the
archaeological findings have clearly demonstrated.There are several circumstances in the early development which, in our opinion, make it very interesting to formulate a more ambiguous concept of urbanization than scholars have previously workedwith. Ordericus mentions a civitas in the mid-1130s, but what did it look like, and what functions did it have? Was it a town in whatever sense we mean by the concept of town? Or is it the case
that urbanization can stand for a much broader process, or be a narrow part of a much broader process for which we should use some other term?

In the book we present the results of the investigations, also including a couple of more analytical sections (chapters 9 and 10) which sum up the findings and try to put them in a broader context, while also providing a point of departure for continued discussion.
Titel på värdpublikationKungahälla. Problem och forskning kring stadens äldsta historia. Skrifter utgivna av Bohusläns museum och Bohusläns hembygdsförbund nr 70, Lund Studies in Medieval Archaeology nr 28
RedaktörerCarlsson Kristina, Andersson Hans, Vretemark Maria
FörlagBohusläns museums förlag
ISBN (tryckt)91-7686-137-6, 0280-4174, 91-22-01931-6, ISSN 0283-6874, 91-7686-137-6, 91-22-01931-6
StatusPublished - 2002


ISSN (tryckt)0283-6874
ISSN (elektroniskt)0280-4174

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Arkeologi


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