Landsjö castle is on a high islet in the lake next to the modern manor house. Nobody ever goes there. The ruins are covered by vegetation and they’re in bad shape: only along the western side of the islet do they rise even a metre above the rubble and accumulated forest mulch. Visible is a 59-metre N-S stretch of perimeter wall with a preserved corner at either end, and a shorter W-E stretch of perimeter wall from the south-western corner. Along the inside of the visible wall are vague suggestions of two buildings including a corner tower and a cellar. The high walled northern part of the islet is divided from the southern part by a transversal dry moat. South of the moat on the lower part of the islet is a great pile of rubble. Before this week nobody knew what was under the rubble anywhere on the castle islet. Now we have borrowed a rowboat from Kimstad Parish Historical Society, opened four trenches in the ruins and started to get some answers.
Trench A seeks the north-east corner of the perimeter wall. I placed it here to investigate mortar and dressed stone pushed to the surface by a young oak. Katarina and Erik have found much brick and other rubble in the trench but no surviving masonry yet. Oddly, in addition to the recent animal bones commonly found in the topsoil, there are quite a lot of cremated bones here, species unknown, and a piece of vitrified brick. The topography suggests that the rubble we see may have fallen from masonry on a higher rock outcrop to the west of the trench.
In trench B, Andreas and Pikne are seeking the eastern stretch of the perimeter wall. Much brick rubble, animal bones and limestone slabs, a material we never encountered at Stensjö. We may have the wall in the trench but we do not know yet.
Trench C investigates a W-E terrace forming the south edge of the high level northern part of the bailey. Ethan and Ola immediately came upon a thick and well-preserved W-E wall, apparently dividing a high inner bailey from a low outer one. And protruding from this wall north into the inner bailey, another equally thick wall planned and built in the same construction phase, and with façade plaster still adhering to its western face. Much wall plaster was also found in the surrounding rubble. We seem to be dealing with a major building built as part of the dividing wall and with a plastered façade. Ola is screening the two square metres of culture layer accessible inside the building and our trench, and has found abundant bones including well-preserved fish bones.
Ethan and I opened trench D on Wednesday afternoon and we haven’t gone beneath the abundant topsoil yet. The trench is placed to investigate why the visible W-E stretch of perimeter wall ends right there. Is this a gate? The slope inside the wall is so steep that we have trouble climbing it. Having cleared the vegetation and mulch from the outer face of the W-E wall, I discovered something that might offer another explanation for how people entered the castle. Part of what looked like the exposed core of the W-E wall is in fact the core of a 2.2 metre wall or other structure extending south from it into the dry moat. Are we dealing with a drawbridge across the moat? Does the great rubble pile south of the moat represent a gate house that you had to pass through in order to cross the drawbridge and enter the castle’s outer bailey? Landsjö castle is looking as a stronger and stronger fortification every day.
E on the plan marks the pit left by a fallen tree at the western end of the dry moat. If time permits we will remove and examine the disturbed rubble in the tree pit as a sort of instant test pit, a trick commonly used in Stone Age fieldwork.