A fun thing about historical archaeology, the archaeological study of areas and periods with abundant indigenous written documentation, is when the archaeology challenges the written record.
According to the patchily preserved historical sources, Landsjö hamlet was a seat of the high nobility in about 1280 but then became tenant farms no later than 1340. This means that the castle on Landsjö islet was probably in good defensible shape and inhabited in 1280 but not after 1340.
During last week’s excavations we found a previously unknown strong wall delimiting the castle’s high inner bailey, and a likewise strong and previously unknown south-east corner tower or building for this bailey. In one of the floor layers of this plaster-facaded structure, Ola Lindgren found a coin of the strålkransbrakteat type. Within an hour and thanks to portable internet, numismatist Frédéric Elfver told us that this coin was struck for King Magnus Eriksson in Stockholm between 1354 and 1363 – decades after the castle would seem to have been abandoned judging from the written record.
The coin says only that people visited the castle about 1360, not what they did there or what kind of shape the defences were in at the time. But Christian Lovén has suggested a scenario. At the time, Landsjö was owned by Bengt Philippusson of the Wolf family, who was on Albrekt of Mecklenburg’s side in the civil war against King Magnus. Maybe Bengt made the castle islet available to Albrekt’s troops?
I’ve also written about Landsjö in Swedish for the County Museum’s blog.