6th International Conference

Archaeometallurgy in Europe 2024

11–14 June 2024 in Falun, Sweden

AIE 2024


Excursion in the miner-yeomen’s cultural landscape,

Wednesday June 12

Departure time from First Hotel Grand 17.00

In medieval times, a unique man-made landscape was created around the Great Copper Mountain, and a distinctive cultural region called Kopparbergslagen developed. The 1347 charter entitled miner workers and miner-yeomen to establish new settlements in the forests. They were granted tax exemption or tax relief and their homesteads, complete with privileges, could be passed on to their children. As a result an idiosyncratic settlement of a kind unique to Sweden developed. The miner-yeomen’s homesteads were often given names by the first settler, with suffixes like -täkt (forest clearing) or –arvet (inherited land). Today´s innumerable names around the Great Copper Mountain ending in – arv and –täkt are reminders of the medieval process of colonisation.

In the 17th century, there were around 140 copper furnaces in the the cultural landscape surrounding the Great Copper Mountain. Their remains are still visible all over the region. Close to their smelting-houses, many miner-yeomen built their estates and manor houses. Several of those residences are still extant to this day and, with their remarkable buildings, gardens and agrarian landscape, they constitute a distinctive cultural environment. The agrarian landscape was dominated by grazing land: meadows, wooded pastures and so called lindor. An early and unique system of crop rotation was developed in the region, in the 17th and 18th centuries, based on a five-year cycle of different crops. This technique is known as lindbruk. Remaining features of the man-made landscape include medieval barns and house foundations, clearance cairns, stone-walled enclosures and other monuments.

The copper furnaces were water-powered since at least the 13th century onwards, and the earliest known water-powered hoisting gear in Sweden was constructed in 1555 in Blankstöten (one of the open-cast mines). Ponds, canals and dikes were built to convey water to furnaces and the mine. The oldest of those dates from the end of the 14th century and is still to be seen today. Special buildings were constructed above the dam gates, in order to protect the dams and to gain better control of the water flow. These structures still survive on the hills around the Great Copper Mine, most conspicuous among them being Nya Krondiket, constructed in the 1740s and a gigantic enterprise for its time.

The miners-yeomen landscape around lake Varpan is one of the best preserved and Österå-Bergsgården are two large furnace sites from earlier times. Each of these miner-yeomen villages had about ten copper furnaces and more than 25 roasting-houses in the 17th century. Today reminders of the importance of the copper industry, are enormous slag heaps, “furnace chambers”, furnace workers’ homesteads and miner-yeomen’s homesteads, as well as their manor houses. The best-preserved miner-yeomen’s homesteads in this area are at Bäckehagen, Varbo, Bergsgården, Heden, Österå, Hult and Uggelviken.

Hosjö is the first area where copper furnaces are recorded. They were mentioned here already in 1357. Around the lake Hosjö there are several large and interesting miner-yeomen’s homesteads, e.g. Rottneby, Främsbacka, Höjen, Sveden and so on. Sveden was the birthplace of the bishop and author Jesper Swedberg (1653-1735) and his son, the scientist and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg (1688- 1772). The famous botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) was married in the wing of the manor in 1739, as Sveden at that point belonged to his bride’s family. This particular building still exists today. The homesteads are interspersed with a beautiful agrarian landscape and big slag heaps.

Staberg in the Kiva stream Valley is an area with traces of the copper industry and a miner-yeomen community. Staberg has impressive slag heaps and the ruins of cold roasting pens, roasting-houses and furnaces. Nearby is Old Staberg, designated as a heritage site. This is a Baroque miner-yeoman’s homestead with well-preserved buildings from about 1700 with a Baroque Garden, which has been restored and contain gardens plants cultivated in Sweden in the 18th and 19th centuries. Staberg is the birthplace of civil servant and poet Georg Stiernhielm (1598-1672), known as “the Father of Swedish Poetry”.

Pre-registration is required.

Organised by

Jernkontoret logo

Sign up for continuous updates and information: aie2024falun.se@reedmackay.com

Congress secretariat

Reed & Mackay

E-mail: aie2024falun.se@reedmackay.com

Phone: +46 (0)18 18 35 35 (Tuesday-Thursday at 9.00-12.00)