“Falun above trough Falun under” – reconstructing the early mining town Falun in central Sweden for the first time through mapping archaeology and environmental studies

Document identifier: oai:dalea.du.se:2645
Keyword: Falun, Geoarcheology, Copper mine, Environmental archaeology, Archaeology, Falun ovan från Falun under - den tidigaste kultur- och miljöhistorien i Faluns omgivningar
Publication year: 2007
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communitiesSDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructureSDG 3 Good health and wellbeing
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by OSDG.ai


A new project is initiated in the town Falun, in central Sweden, with the purpose to reconstruct the development of the site into a town from prehistoric time until post medieval time. Falun is situated in the larger region in south central Sweden called Bergslagen, which is the largest concentration of mines and mining activities in Sweden. The town Falun is situated at the oldest copper mine in Sweden. The mining activities started for over thousand years ago and ended as late as 1992. In the 17th century, the copper mine in Falun produced 2/3 of the copper used in the world. Today Falun with its mine and surroundings is a UNESCO World heritage. The Falun area as well as the whole Bergslagen region was strongly affected of the large mining activities, for example using large parts of the forest for charcoal production or by the industrial discharge which already Carl von Linneus noted during a visit in Falun in the 18th century. This large impact on the environment has made marks in the sediment and there have been several projects initiated and carried through to interpret and understand this impact and change of the environment and landscape from prehistorically time to the present. But rather little interest has been focusing on the changing settlements and town development. Even though the town Falun was growing to an important place in Sweden, it is in a marginal region and quite little is known about the early development of the Falun site from rural settlement to urban town. The town got its letters patent from the Swedish crown as late as 1641, after around 500 years of mining activities. But the settlements in the present Falun region, being one of the most important sites of the developing Swedish state, had early special privileges and also developed to an advanced town like community long before it got its town charter. The purpose of the new project is to look into this development of the town Falun based on archaeology and environmental history. The project uses the “Great Yarmouth Archaeological Map” project as a model. By collecting already known information from archaeological excavations and earlier investigation of sediments in the area and compile these together will hopefully create a more complete picture of the former development and what needs further investigation. The town Falun is situated on large fillings of cinder and together with the copper mines itself and its piles of slag this area is one of the largest contributor of heavy metals to the Baltic Sea. Therefore there is a lot of earlier investigations in the town considering the environment and consequently much information to use together with earlier archaeological investigations to create a picture of the town development.


Magnus Hellqvist

Högskolan Dalarna; Naturgeografi
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