Along the three-kilo­met­re stretch of road through the vil­lage of Kar­le­by are 11 pas­sage gra­ves – monu­men­tal family gra­ves built during the ear­ly sto­ne age, around 3500–3100 BCE.

Following an almost straight line paral­lel to the road you will see seve­ral pas­sage gra­ves, inclu­ding the lar­gest in Kar­le­by and in Swe­den: Ragn­valds Kul­le. This has a cham­ber length of 17 metres. The name comes from a legend that king Ragn­vald Knap­höv­de on his inau­gu­ral tour of Swe­den in the 1130s rode into Väs­ter­göt­land wit­hout first having taken hosta­ges as a precau­tion. He was mur­de­red near Kar­le­by and this later led to the popu­lar beli­ef that he may have been buri­ed in the lar­gest tomb in the parish. Ragn­valds Kul­le has never been exca­va­ted. Approx­i­ma­tely 80 metres south of Ragnvald’s tomb is Klö­va­går­den pas­sage gra­ve. On the other side is Logård pas­sage gra­ve (Logårds kulle).

The Fal­byg­den pas­sage gra­ves are uni­que in nort­hern Euro­pe – they are some of the best-pre­ser­ved remains from the ear­ly sto­ne age, lar­gely thanks to the lime-rich bed­rock. Around 270 pas­sage gra­ves still exist in the regi­on today. They make up three-quar­ters of all known gra­ves of this type in Swe­den. Fal­byg­den was one of many other com­mu­ni­ti­es in Euro­pe that built mega­lit­hic gra­ves, but this was a strong and inde­pen­dent regi­on which left imprints on the lands­cape that can still be seen 5000 years later.

Hit­ta Hit