'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.'
Lewis Carroll: The Walrus and the Carpenter

26 april 2005

Tune, Østfold

In archaeological respects, Tune herred (Østfold, SE Norway) is probably best known for the Tune ship burial. The Tune ship was, however, discovered at the Haugen farm in the neighbouring Rolvsøy herred, which until 1910 was part of Tune. But still, Tune has a rich archaeological heritage.

In the Neolithic period, Østfold in general, and Tune in particular, are rich in finds of South Scandinavian types; unlike most other parts of Norway (1, 2, 3). Most of the Early TRB-finds (flint axes, stone adzes) in the area are from wet areas on the outskirts of the central Ra moraine. The STR-finds are concentrated on the Ra moraine. E. Johansen long ago suggested that farm-like settlements existed on the Ra moraine area in this period (4).

E. Østmo points to a further concentration of settlement sites in the Tune area in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age (1). These settlements are mainly located on sandy moraine soils, and Østmo interprets them as basic farming sites. The settlement sites as well as the material culture in the Tune area correspond closely to the ones found in South Scandinavia.

A couple of late Bronze Age sites in Tune have played an important part in the discussion about the establishment of the farm as a unit of production in E Norway (5, 6). At the Opstad farm in Tune, a Late Bronze Age house was excavated in the mid-1970s (5). Another settlement site with post holes, cooking pits etc. was discovered in 1969-71 at Grålum and probably dates to the same period, but this site unfortunately remains unpublished (7).

There are two big prehistoric cemeteries in Tune, as well as a number of smaller ones. The main cemeteries at Opstad and at Tune – Grålum have been in use from the Early Bronze Age to (and including) the Viking Age (6. 8, 9). The latter cemetery is heavily damaged by later activity, but was at one point the largest prehistoric burial ground in Østfold (4). Both cemeteries consist of a myriad of barrows, stone settings, stone pavings, and singular raised stones.

In the Roman period, the continental import finds in Østfold are concentrated in the Tune area (10). High-status drinking equipment made of bronze or glass have been found in several graves at Tune – Grålum (11). To the Roman period high-status artefacts from the Tune – Grålum cemetery belongs a now lost silver cup, allegedly similar to the one from Hoby in Lolland, Denmark (12). From the Late Roman and Migration periods are richly equipped burials from both cemeteries, especially Mound 34 at Opstad, with Roman-influenced belt furnishings (13).

A small number of Merovingian period grave finds stand out, as well; the earliest being a male cremation burial dating to c. 600, and which is one of a total of only three E Norwegian graves where a horse has been put on the funeral pyre (8, 14). As in Østfold as a whole, the Viking Age burials in Tune are few; however, some of the known burials from the area are very rich (see Stichwort Rolvsøy).

So far, we know little about the most likely substantial settlement(s) connected to the Iron Age cemeteries. A settlement site was, however, excavated in 1990 at Tingvoll. A house which was C14-dated to the late Migration period seems to have been of a rather special type. The building was only 17 m long, but with a width og 7-8 m was rather wide (15). Both the length/width ratio and some of the constructive features of this building is similar to a number of South Scandinavian buildings, like Dejbjerg, Dankirke, the smallest of the hall buildings at Gudme, plus the minor buildings that have been found close to the halls at Lejre and Tissø in Zealand. These buildings have been interpreted partly as halls, partly as cult buildings. In the vicinity of the Tingvoll house was found extensive traces of smithing activities (slags, clay bellows-nozzles etc). Detector finds of lead bars etc. from neighbouring areas indicate that substantial productive sites are to be expected in Tune (8). It has been suggested that the area around Tune church was the core of a Late Iron Age central place complex comprising not only Tune herred, but the neigbouring districts, as well (8, 16, 17).

Tune church (Romanesque stone church, demolished in 1860) was erected in the middle of the Tune – Grålum cemetery in the Early Medieval period. Viking period grave finds have been discovered at the church yard on several occasions. The antiquarian L. D. Klüwer, who documented a part of the Tune – Grålum cemetery during a visit in 1823, noted a big mound just below the West tower of the church (18, 19). This mound was noted by N. Nicolaysen, as well, but it has never been excavated (19). It might, as in the case of Hørning, have been a case of ’christianizing’ a heathen ancestor by incorporating his or her barrow in the Christian structure (20). Today, it is no longer visible. The Tune runic stone was found at the chuchyard as early as 1627. At that time, it was part of the stone fence encircling the church yard (8). According to a drawing from 1627, the Tune stone seems to have been placed in a low cairn or stone paving (8). It is, however, uncertain whether this was the original site of the stone.

(1) E. Østmo, Etableringen av jordbrukskultur i Østfold i steinalderen, Universitetets Oldsaksamlings skrifter, Ny rekke, nr. 10, Oslo, 1998. (2) E. Østmo, Da jordbruket kom til Norge. Funn fra TN A-fasen i Østfold. Universitetets Oldsaksamlings skrifter, Ny rekke, nr. 21, Oslo, 1998, 83-108. (3) E. A. Pedersen, De eldste tider, Østfolds historie, vol. 1, Sarpsborg, 2003, 10-277. (4) E. Johansen, Før byen ble by, Sarpsborg før 1839, Sarpsborg, 1976, 13-115. (5) T. Løken, Nye funn fra gammelt gravfelt. Kan gård og gravplass gå tilbake til eldre bronsealder? Viking XLI, 1977, 133-165. (6) T. Lølken, Bofaste bonder eller jordbrukere på flyttefot? Hus og bosetning i bronsealderen på Opstad i Tune, Østfold, vurdert på bakgrunn av de siste 20 års bosetningsforskning, Universitetets Oldsaksamlings skrifter, Ny rekke, nr. 21, Oslo, 1998, 173-195. (7) D. Monrad-Krohn, Utgravningsrapport. Grålum-Store Tune, Østfold, 1969-71, unpublished excavation report, Oslo museum. (8) F. A. Stylegar, Folk og guder i yngre jernalder, Østfolds historie, vol. 1, Sarpsborg, 2003, 299-333. (9) E. Johansen, Ny datering av branngraver under flat mark. Gravskikken som kilde til sosial historie, Universitetets Oldsaksamling årbok 1951-1953, Oslo, 178-236. (10) B. Hougen, Trekk av østnorsk romertid, Universitetets Oldsaksamlings skrifter, II, 1929, Oslo. (11) W. Slomann, En ny romersk bronsekjel fra Østfold, Universitetets Oldsaksamlings årbok 1958-59, 13-44. (12) E. Johansen, Gullgubber og kæller med stokk, Wiwar (Sarpsborg) I, 1978, 5-6. (13) B. Magnus, Krosshaugfunnet, Stavanger Museums skrifter, vol. 9, Stavanger. (14) E. Skjelsvik, Et merovingertids rembeslag fra Opstadmoen u. Opstad nordre, Tune s. og p., Østfold, Universitetets Olsaksamling årbok 1954-1955, 56-57, Oslo. (15) H. C. Andersen, Tingvollheimen, Tune, Østfold, Unpublished excavation report, Oldsaksamlingen, Oslo. (16) F. A. Stylegar, Maktens kulturlandskap – bidrag til den yngre jernalders kosmografi. Eksemplet Tune i Østfold, Universitetets Oldsaksamlings Skrifter, Ny rekke, nr. 21, 1998, 197-210. (17) A. Steinnes, Alvheim, Hist. tidsskr. (Oslo) 35, 1951, 353-404. (18) F. A. Stylegar, Grav, gård og gods i vikingtid, Østfolds historie, vol. 1, Sarpsborg, 2003, 336-377. (19) N. Nicolaysen, Norske Fornlevninger, Kristiania, 1862-1866. F. A. Stylegar, Da Wodurid tok kristendommen, Kirke og kultur (Oslo) 101:6, 1996, 541-549.

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