Bronze Age Cups in Stone


Gothenburg aka Göteborg is a medieval maritime city. It is celebrating its 400th birthday in 2021, and celebrations to this effect are underway under the aegis of the City of Gothenburg (Göteborgs Stad), and Göteborg2021. The city predates its existence before that year and there are relics of the past as far as Stone Age and Bronze Age.

Two stones can be seen in Slottskogen’s water tank (watchtower) on the top of a hill.  The stones have rock-carvings with cup-marks. Most rock carvings are assumed to be Bronze Age, 1800-500 BC, and some have shown from the late Stone Age and early Iron Age. Eva Bjärlund, a local guide and an authority on the water tank (watchtower) in Slottskogen, told that such stones are not uncommon in Bohusland. She said these stones and others were found when they were building houses, and have a different interpretations in folklore.

Carving of cup-marks dating to Bronze Age: 1800-500 BC

On these two stones there are 12 bowl pits. The blocks were originally found at a distance of about 400 meters, from here, at Vattengatan in Masthugget. Most pebbles were created during the Bronze Age 1800-500 BC and some pebbles can be dated to Stone Age or Iron Age.

These cup-shaped carvings in stones or bowl pots are carved out of stone, and such shapes would have had been on wooden items and on trees. According to the City Museum of Gothenburg (Göteborgs Stadsmuseum) ‘since only wood has been preserved from the Bronze Age only in very few cases, this is just a guess’.

What purpose did these cups sculpted in stone served during Bronze Age? These stone cups could be related to rituals. Archaeologists and historians guess that ‘it is possible that the actual serving of the pebbles was an important one such as in ceremonies. The sound that occurred when knocking in them (with another tool or thing) could be a way of communicating between people or between people and gods’. The making of the rock-carving lead to a knocking sound, this sound could have been of importance in communicating between humans and gods.