Steigen - A Cultivated Landscape With Old Traditions
10.000 years ago most of the country was covered by glaciers. Only along the
coast there was a narrow strip of uncovered land.
At Ersvika, on the fram called Lund today, the only
settlement site in Steigen from this period (9~8000 BC) has been discovered.
Most of the tools found here are made of flint.
biggest area of habitation from the Neolithic Age on the island of Engeløya is
found at the Bøsanden beach. The finds consist of axes, arrow- and
spearheads, knives, fishing sinkers and crush stones.
are very few finds from this period in Northern Norway. But nevertheless there
seems to have been some contact with the Southern Scandinavian Bronze Age
the centuries before and after the birth of Christ the new iron technology was
gradually adopted, making new fishing/hunting and agricultural techniques
From this age we find a lot of burial places, house
and boathouse sites, and accumulated layers in the earth from the settlement of
many different generations at the same place.
This booklet will guide you through the Iron Age
landscape of Engeløya. - The most striking difference between our age and this
period of settlement is that they buried
their dead on the farms where
they had lived all their lives, whereas we
bury our dead in the cemetery near the church. Their
dead were still a part of the life on the farm - marking a sort of
continuity which seems to have been of great importance to the Iron Age people.
Rock Covered with Cup Marks at Sandvågmoen
Sandvåggmoen, in the middle of some pasture land near the hillside, there is a
big rock covered with a lot of smooth and regular potholes looking like bowls.
These potholes are no doubt manmade, and are probably connected with other rock
carvings from the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. They have possibly been filled
with blood and used for ritualistic purposes, and have thus played an important
part in the religious life of that time.
Burial Mounds at Gjerdet
in the middle of the meadow at Ojerdet there are four round mounds and one
oblong mound - the shape of a ship. No archaeological excavations of these
mounds have been made, but a lot of finds in the area tell us that they were
made during the Iron Age. They are probably part of a larger field of burial
Tall Stone Monument Called ”Lang steinen”
field of graves from the Iron Age is found on the isthmus between Laskestad and
Steigen. The mounds are not so large as those at Gjerdet. But a remarkable
monument - the roughly carved ”Langsteinen"”, about 20 feet from top
to bottom, the tallest stone of this kind in Northern Norway - gives extra
importance to the area.
The Old Church at Steigen
oldest part of the church, the stone walls of what is the choir of today's
church, was built sometime between 1200 and 1300 AD. Archaeological
excavations under the old church have uncovered a Christian cemetery dating back
to about 1000 AD, probably the oldest of its kind in Northern Norway.
The Farm Mound of the Steigen Settlement and the
layers of accumulated remains from generations of habitation throughout the
centuries are piled on top of each other on the site of the Steigen settlement.
According to tradition the Old Court of Appeals was situated here.
Sigar Mound has not been excavated. Perhaps the old Thing
was held at this place. The name of the mound connects it with the old story
or ballad about Hagbard and Signe.
The Burial Mound at Hagbardholmen
to the above mentioned story Hagbard was hanged at Hagbardholmen, a small island
not far away from the church. Several of the graves here have been excavated,
and many rich finds have been made. The burial mounds are from the period
The Camps/Settlements at Bø and Vollmoen
build up a smaller kingdom led by a king or a chieftain takes time. It must be
built on generations of stable settlement and access to important resources
within a certain area, and it also needs well established contacts with the
presuppositions were present at Engeløya, and here we find two separate
settlements of a type usually connected with local kingdoms, one at Bø and one
settlement consists of two rows of site around an oval yard or ”tun” (cf.
the English word town) -there must have been 16 houses altogether. The finds
(knives, awls, nails - made of iron) are dated to 500-600 and 900 AD.
main road around Engeløya today goes straight through this settlement. The
settlement corresponds in shape to the one at Vollmoen, but there must have been
fewer buildings, and of a lesser size. The dating is around 4-500 AD.
these settlements were small villages or military camps has been discussed among
leading archaeologists, but no definite conclusion has yet been reached.
The Boathouse Site Below Steigberget
Steigberget between the two settlements you find the site of two old boathouses.