In preparation for the new Slussen, archaeologists have excavated objects that show that the living standard was just as good in Södermalm as inside the former city walls. The survey also shows that there was a planned settlement in Södermalm that is much older than previously acknowledged. A generation after Stockholm was founded, we have a suburb, which is unique for Sweden at this time.
The place we now call the Slussen has a long history. It connects Södermalm with Stadsholmen, where the city emerged in the 1200s. People have been traveling by horse, boat and sled for hundreds of years. By foot it was easy to follow the Stockholm ridge in the north-south direction.
Houses were built on top of old layers
Approximately every hundred years since Queen Kristina’s sluice in the 1600s, Slussen har been remodeled with new traffic solutions. When the subway and the traffic roundabout was built in the 1930s, it was excavated mostly manually with shovel. Old layers of human activity are therefore left relatively unaffected. New houses and streets were simply built on top of earlier remains.
Garbage with preserved fragrances
With the city’s founding in the 1200s came the garbage. It was thrown not only out on the streets but emptied in the outskirts. Planned ground fillings with old boats, piles and soil were mixed with household waste and sewage. The oxygen-poor and humid environment makes objects from these laysers often surprisingly well preserved. Thanks to the preserved garbage we learn a lot about how people lived in earlier times and also how it could smell!
A workplace for archaeologists
Because all these layers of discards, garbage and old construction debris build up Slussen, excavations are associated with a high degree of safety. Deep shafts must be secured in order to be safe for archaeologists in their work. City noise and the weather add to the conditions. But the feeling when a medieval shoe or hypnotically beautiful shards of imported glass emerge ...