Priceless Stone Rings, with a touch of magic

They have been a part of the landscape for thousands of years and will perhaps last many years to come. Depending on if we know how to value them.

I shot the picture above when my son and I visited the Hunn fields here in Fredrikstad — located in the southeastern part of Norway. It was April. Spring. Wakening of life, and there was we wandering between light and shadows. Listening to bird twitter. Looking at these ancient monuments. Reading the signs and learning more about our ancestors …

Okay, I must confess. In case my wife should see this. The young beauty with the harp was long gone. She was a Seeress (Volve), and she could predict the future. Normally they were far older, by the way. But they were highly respected wanderers. Well paid too.

Yes, they needed her services. These stone circles are barriers between life and death — a graveyard used from 1000 BC to 900 AD.

For example, a healthy child was born at Hunn settlement, but the mother did not survive the birth. Joy and sorrow are mixed. They had a lot of preparations to do before life could get back to normal.

Cremation was the norm in the Pre-Roman Iron Age. Tradition governed what clothes the deceased wore, how the pyre was constructed, and who ignited it. After cremation, they placed the bones and charcoal in a hole in the burial ground. The grave might be marked with a stone slab, small stones in a pattern, or as here with circles of standing stones.

Hunn fields. Photo: Tom Thowsen 2021

All these stone circles remain of an uneven number of stones. Odd numbers are considered magical.

Hunn fields. Photo: Tom Thowsen 2021

As an avid history lover, who like to create art in all kinds of forms, spanning from sculptures to articles and novels, I am truly fortunate. Here in the lower Glomma delta, where people have flourished since the Stone age, there is such an inspirational treasure trove.

To mention a few: Borg Viking town, Tune Runestone, three Viking ships — Tune ship, Rostad ship and Valle ship. Several hillforts and stone circles, and much more.

View over Fredrikstad and Sarpsborg. Google Earth

Some days later, I received some good news. A few kilometres from where I live, at a small village in the sloop of Ringstadåsen, the archaeologists found new stone circles. Hurrah, hurrah! This was amazing. Ringstadåsen means Ring place hill.

My son and I went over to look at them but only found a construction site for private homes with a stunning view over the river valley.

Not low prices, of course.

Ringstadåsen. Photo: Tom Thowsen 2021

The next day we came back, equipped with a map showing the exact location, but was struck with surprise. They were gone!

Well, not completely. They have pulled them aside.

Originally three stone circles with diameters around seven meters.

What a disgrace, I said to myself. Now they have erased their own history. There is a school located a few hundred meters away. These children have lost something special.  

I posted this case on an archaeological forum where I said that I am concerned about the situation in Norway, where agricultural soil and historical places get destroyed at an alarming tempo every year. In fact, only three % of our landmass is suitable for growing grain, and we depend on the import of food. Otherwise, there probably will be famine.

However, in this case one of the archaeologists who had conducted an excavation of the site, confirmed that they had demolished the stone circles. But the landowner had thought about a possible reconstruction, he said.

In the meanwhile, I better talk with the beautiful Seeress with the harp …

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Tom Thowsen

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