Identity, threat and defiance: interpreting the “bulwark”, a 12th century lake building on Gotland, Sweden
Journal of Maritime Archaeology, 1, (2), . (doi:10.1007/s11457-006-9008-9).
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“Bulverket” in Gotland has been one of Sweden’s longest standing archaeological mysteries since its purpose was first pondered by Oscar Montelius in 1868. For some, the enormous timber construction in the middle of the lake at Tingstäde was obviously military, but other suggestions spanned the entire social spectrum: a market place, a religious centre, a crusader barracks, a pirate base or even a prison. Whatever its function and meanings, the enterprise demanded a prodigious investment of labour and must represent someone or some group with considerable power and motivation. Yet soon after its construction it seems to have played out its role and been abandoned. The reasons are of course implicated in the fascinating structure itself but they also have to be sought in the wider context of contemporary Gotlandic society.
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