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Sweden    Ljungarum, Barrow of Sagaholm EuroPreArt - European Prehistoric Art

Sweden Image map
Keywords: Bronze Age, Engravings, Barrow, Grave, Rock art, Horses, Ship figures, Human figures, Scenes, Hunting.
Institution: Gotland University College, Visby, Sweden.
Gotland University - Sweden
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Map over the Vänern area, Jönköping marked out (map Li Winter).
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Copyright. No commercial use of EuroPreArt content is allowed. Specific © for pictures and drawings is mentioned in the captions or owned by each Author or Institution.
Disclaim. The EuroPreArt project fully endorses the most recent documentation policies. It must be outlined the absolute forbidding of any disruptive method and the necessity of a total respect for archaeological sites. It is also to be noticed that no substances shall be applied to rock art for recording purposes. Some pictures of the EuroPreArt records are related to past recording techniques and may not fully match these policies. They are an historical documentation. Please refer to local archaeological official authorities for any recording purpose. Please take a look also over EuroPreArt guidelines.
Environment & Surface

Open-air   Shelter   Cave Portable   Megalithic

The barrow of Sagaholm was severely damaged, parts had been cut away, and the engrave slabs have been removed after documentation. The original position was at the edge of wood, 30 m S of farm-house.


Lake Vättern and the city of Jönköping.




18 carved slabs


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Engravings   Paintings   Painted engravings   High or low-relief   Sculpture
The barrow of Sagaholm. Nothing remains of the once so magnificent barrow, written records speak about a diameter of c. 22 m and about 2.5 m high, even when severely damaged. The archaeological investigation showed that the barrow consisted of turf from sandy soil, and the contours from decomposed turf were visible in the sand under the barrow. Along the edge of the barrow there was a stratified mixed layer of earth and stones of varying sizes, 0.05-0.6 m. Under this layer there were 2 rows of kerb-stones. The inner kerb-stones consisted of slabs of sandstone, placed edgeways leaning, turned outside. The slabs were cut and had been dug into the ground, 0.25 - 0.85 m wide and 0.4 - 1 m high. On the outer sides of the slabs rock carvings were depicted. There are 18 remaining slabs with carvings, arranged in a certain way. There are a number of ship figures with totally carved out hulls, some with crew lines placed in pairs on the gunwale. There are a number of animals, the majority depicting stylised horses, and also other kinds of animals, possibly a buck. On slab no 13, a previously not known horse figure was discovered in 1997, during a re-documentation of the slabs (Goldhahn 1999:59). There is also an unusual scene depicted, showing a human figure having sexual intercourse with an animal. This motif is known from Bohuslän (Kallsängen) and also from Valcamonica. Most of the animals seem to be horses. Another scene is showing a human figure equipped with bow and arrow, and an animal of some kind. The motif is quite unusual, but similar scenes are known from Bohuslän, and also Östergötland. The most common technique used is pecking technique, but also carved with a tool made of metal or flint. Some of the slabs have been grinded after the pecking.

Ship figures Animal figures/horses Human figures Cup marks Weapon/bow and arrow/sword Obscure figures


Palaeolithic   Epipalaeolithic - Mesolithic   Neolithic   Copper Age   Bronze Age   Iron Age   Roman   Middle Age   Modern   Unknown
The barrow of Sagaholm belongs to the Early Bronze Age, and have been C-14 dated to c. 1450 BC. The find is of vital importance for the dating of the South Scandinavian rock carvings.


The rock carvings of the Sagaholm barrow have been interpreted in various ways, the find is of vital importance for the dating of the South Scandinavian rock carvings. Special concern has been given to the frequent horse motif at Sagaholm, and it has been argued by some scholars that they and the morphology of this particular barrow can be seen as a metaphor for a new and exotic cosmology that reached Scandinavia during the Early Bronze Age (Goldhahn 1999).

European total bibliography, by EuroPreArt partnersTotal (Europe)
Sweden EuroPreArt general bibliography, by Gotland University College, Visby, Sweden.General (country)
Specific Ljungarum, Barrow of Sagaholm bibliography, by Gotland University College, Visby, Sweden.Specific (site)
Rock Art Studies: A Bibliographic worldwide Database (external link). Compiled by Leigh Marymor. Copyright (C) 2001-2002 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley Bibliographic
Rock Art


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Public   Private   Park   Classified site


The carved slabs are made of sandstone, a quite porous material and subject to weathering.


Good   Quite good   Mediocre   Bad


The decorated slabs of The Barrow of Sagaholm are situated in Jönköpings Läns Museum (JLM), and subject to continuous controls.




Li Winter 2001.


Gotland University College, Visby, Sweden.
         Record n. 771 / 807
No commercial use is allowed. Specific © is mentioned in the captions or owned by each Author or Institution  
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NEW: Alpine rock paintings
enter the Balma dei Cervi Virtual Museum and surf the Virtual Tour: spherical pano-views,
hi-def flat photos and tracings

EuroPreArt, European Prehistoric Art, is a web-based archaeological project funded by the European Union which aims to establish a lasting data-base of European prehistoric art documentation, to launch the base of an European institutional network and to contribute to the awareness of the diversity and richness of European Prehistoric Art.
It is proposed by: Instituto Politécnico de Tomar (IPT, Portugal), CUEBC - European University Centre for Cultural Heritage (Italy - Europe), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (España), Asociación Cultural Colectivo Barbaón (España), Université de Liège (Belgique), Gotland University College (Sverige), University College Dublin (Eire), Cooperativa Archeologica Le Orme dell'Uomo (Italia), Study Centre and Museum of Prehistoric Art of Pinerolo (Italia), The European Centre for Prehistoric Research in the Alto Ribatejo (Portugal), ArqueoJovem - a youth NGO (Portugal).
Instituto Politécnico de Tomar - Portugal CUEBC - European University Centre for Cultural Heritage, Ravello - Italy CSIC - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid - Spain Orme dell'Uomo - Footsteps of Man, Valcamonica - Italy Asociación Cultural Colectivo Barbaón, Extremadura -Spain Liège University - Belgium Gotland University - Sweden University College Dublin - Ireland CeSMAP - Centro Studi e Museo d'Arte Preistorica. Pinerolo, Italy Arqueo Jovem

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