The creation of Sörred Logistics Park was preceded by exciting and interesting work as the ground was investigated by archaeologists from Rio Göteborg.

The groundwork is currently under way for Sörred Logistics Park, our joint project with Platzer Fastigheter at Hisingen. We had a conversation with Thomas Johansson, one of the archaeologists who has just completed the investigation of the area. A breathtaking story, to say the least!

Everything begins in the archaeological process that always precedes the development of a larger area, in other words, before the excavators move in. Thomas tells us that the process itself is divided into three parts; survey, preliminary investigation and final investigation, but the steps that are relevant vary in each case.

The developer first consults with the County Administration before construction work begins. If it is a large area, the County Administration may decide that an archaeological survey should be carried out. Based on this survey, the County Administration decides whether to proceed with a preliminary investigation and, in particularly interesting cases, this will lead to a final investigation. In Sörred in particular, the remains were judged to be so interesting that the process continued to a final investigation. 

“We are investigating and trying to squeeze out as much information as possible before the ancient remains are removed, and the site no longer has legal protection. Construction work can then begin. The whole of Hisingen is full of ancient monuments. It would have been interesting to have been involved in the excavation before Volvo was built, for example, but at that time the laws were quite different,” says Thomas.


During the Stone Age, Hisingen was an archipelago consisting of many small islands. The inland ice still extended as far as Lake Vänern. But the area was good for both hunting and fishing. The inhabitants of the area probably hunted seals, but at that time they also hunted dolphins! Even in later periods such as the Bronze Age and Iron Age, when people began to settle down and cultivate the land, the site was ideal from a nutritional point of view. So, it is not surprising that many remains have been found there.

Before the current survey began, three remains were already known which would now be investigated prior to development – two burial sites from the Iron Age and one settlement that had been used from the later Stone Age to the Iron Age.

Hundratals anläggningar/spår har hittats på platsen, som vittnar om att minst ett stolpbyggt hus har funnits här. Foto: Rio Göteborg

“An irregular arrangement of stones, this is actually quite typical for Gothenburg,” says Thomas Johansson. “In this grave, positioned high up on the crest of a section of rock, we found two hidden graves with burnt bones, some ceramics and a quantity of flint in a crevice. I am lying where the burnt bones were found.” Photo: Rio Göteborg


Thomas tells us that one weekend he decided to bring his family to the forest near the excavations to pick mushrooms.

“As we passed an uprooted tree stump, it caught my eye. You are affected a bit by work, you can’t leave your archaeologist’s eyes at home. A stone age axe was wedged among the roots of the tree stump. My heart was racing!” says Thomas. “Even my children, who regularly get a little tired of their archaeologist father, realized that they were looking at something breathtaking.”

“In fact, what I just experienced could be the most fantastic thing I will ever see as an archaeologist.”

Thomas Johansson
Arkeolog, Rio Göteborg

The new find means that the County Administration considers the site to be a fourth area that should be investigated. This particular site stands out among the previous ancient remains found at Sörred, as it is believed to be several thousand years older than the other remains. It could be between 11,500 and 11,750 years old, in other words from the early Stone Age. What also makes the new site unique is the short time it is believed that people were present on the site, which could be as little as one week. Perhaps they were out hunting but had to stop to make new arrowheads. Flint was used throughout the world during the Stone Age as it is an easily worked material that can be razor sharp, but because it is so soft, tools quickly become blunt.

In addition to the axe, arrowheads and rejects have also been found on the site, i.e. residual products from the production of new tools. The fact that people spent so little time on the site makes it special from a survey point of view, since all the remains come from the same time. In most cases, people often lived in one place for a very long time or perhaps returned to the site several hundred years later, which means that the remains you find can originate from several different periods of time and are often mixed together.


Is it true that the archaeological investigation may at some point put a stop to development? 
“No, it is very rare that happens,” says Thomas, “I probably don’t know more than one example of this in Gothenburg. Generally speaking, ancient monuments that are visible above ground, such as the Ale’s Stones, are easier to protect. At Sörred, all the remains have been found below ground.”

Thomas Johansson at Rio Göteborg, who carried out the survey at Sörred, says that the task of the County Administration in archaeological investigations also includes reporting the findings of the investigation to the general public and researchers through articles, exhibitions and lectures. 
“We do this by giving talks at schools and tours of the excavations. This year we arranged a guided tour by bus from Angered to Sörred on the annual Archaeology Day. 

Archaeology Day is a national themed day for anyone who wants to discover Sweden’s cultural history and learn more about the working practices of archaeology and its exciting discoveries. The day has been arranged for more than thirty years.”

A fire pit found on the grave field after it had been investigated. Photo: Rio Göteborg