Stones Into the Universe of Eternity
The stone ring field streches to the clouds. Against the sky all year round they stand as silent soldiers - prepared to defend the ancient chieftain's mortal remains. An aura of awe characterizes the monuments at Hunn.
We encounter the sign "Oldtidsveien" two times driving along the E6 highway through Østfold. The sign is marked with the Public Roads Administration's special landmark symbol. The symbol refers to the country's largest collections of prehistoric cultural heritages: stone settings, burial fields, hollow road tracks, petroglyph fields, stone fortresses etc. "Oldtidsveien" runs along Higway 110 between Fredrikstad and Skjerberg in Sarpsborg municipality.me of the Earth's greatest landscapes are threatened by increased road construction, oil and gas exploration, and mining. We aim to protect these areas from inappropriate development, but we cannot achieve our goals alone. Find out how you can help.
All photography provided by Dahl Media / Hvalerbilder
The stone ring field at Hunn
The stone ring field at Hunn is perceived by many as the most spectacular cultural monument along Oldtidsveien. A number of tombs from pre-Roman Iron Age consist of rings of large boulders, and some smaller tombs and mounds, also from the early Iron Age, are scattered over a large area and create a unique atmosphere in this beautiful clearing ing the forest.
The stone ring field at Hunn consists of an elongated and lush hillside with the country's largest and most interesting collections of stone rings. Here are nine large rings with standing stones altogether. In addidition, there are several mounds and circular stone settings in the ground. The number of stones in each ring is 12, 13 or 15. The largest ring is furthest down the slope, while four mound throne at the top.
The locals call the place "The Ting Place" or simply "The Parliament". Another term for the circular stone settings is "Judge Rings" or "Ting Stones". The stones in these rings are usually odd in number, where 13 or 15 stones are most common. The names come from the realitively general understanding that the stone settings were used as places for ting (community council) or execution.
At, or on, each stone a judge would sit. Because of the odd number of stones a judgement could never be a "draw". Whoever was to be punished was supposedly placed in the middle of the ring, while the judges sat on each stone about. Archaeological excavations have weakened this theory somewhat since it has been proven that it most certainly is a graveyard. Whether the place, in addition to being a graveyard, also functioned as a pagan rite place, should not be disregarded. The scholars are still arguing about it.
In 1950-51, several of the rings and mounds were investigated. Near the center of some of the rings a stone packing or slab of rock were uncovered. Besides a little charcoal and burnt bones no discoveries were made. This indicates that these are cremations, and that the deceased have received sizeable crafted burial mounds instead of equipment or gifts placed in their graves.
The sites probably originate from pre-Roman Iron Age (500 BC - The Birth of Christ). Carbon tests (C14 dating) of charcoal found in a similar stone ring at Midtfeltet at Hunn, showed that it was probably constructed before or during the period 520 - 280 BC. At the end of the 1970's a small petroglyph field from the Bronze Age was revealed in the woods just east of the stone ring field. The field consists of a few simple ship symbols, a few small human figures and some bowl hollows.
The location of the burial ground
The longitudinal direction of the Hunn stone ring field is exactly north - south on the compass needle. Whether this is random is not known (a similar field with stone setting at Istrehågen in Vestfold is also facing north - south lengthwise). The burial fields of the Iron Age should be seen from a long distance and was often placed close to roads, waterways or the ocean. The location of the burial field gave a clear signal to strangers that they were approaching a wealthy farm with a strong family.
You will find many places near Fredrikstad and Hvaler with amazing stories from our Bronze Age ancestors. Østfold is the Norwegian county with the most petroglyphs, and Skjebergsletta outside Fredrikstad is the area with the most in Østfold. In this rich cultural landscape at the bottom of Skjervegkilen are over 100 engravings on islets and sloping mountain rocks.
Looking at the rocks, islands, islets and reefs around us, they seem eternally unchangeable and incorruptible. As they are colored red by the setting sun, or when sea foam detaches itself from the grey-blue waves and washes over the cliffs, we think that this is how it always will be. Our presence is but a glimpse in geological history...