I’ve been reading Swedish history this week.
1 to 1800 BC
In the beginning there was nothing. Sounds sort of biblical doesn’t it? Sweden was just a big slab of ice and nobody was home until 14,000 years ago when the ice was almost done defrosting. It was the Stone Age, but people didn’t know how to get stoned back then. They were happy if they could just stay warm. The first people here were like, Swedish Indians, called the Sami. They lived pretty good and ate oysters, wild duck, and fish, which were easier to catch than reindeer and the hairy rhinos that were running around back then. They also had chewing gum made out of birch pitch and beeswax, but they didn’t know how to make cigarettes. Nobody knows where the Sami came from . . . maybe Finland. The oldest Swede they ever found was called, Bäckaskog (black forest) woman.
She was buried in a hole at Skåne, with a spear and a fishing pole. Bäckaskog had been there for about 8000 years. I don’t know where she is now, probably in a museum somewhere. Some people got buried with their dogs back then, but the cats were smart enough to get the hell out when a funeral was being planned. A lot of Swedes still have fishing poles, but they don’t get buried with them anymore.
Some Germans immigrants got here by traveling north through the area now known as Skåne, which is south of Stockholm, but Stockholm had not been invented yet. The Germans were probably hunting for reindeer and hairy rhinoceroses, or maybe they just needed ice cubes. The rhinoceroses later moved to Africa where it was warmer and they didn’t need hair anymore.
One day, 6,000 years ago some hunters decided farming would an easier gig than hunting. They started raising goats and sheep brought here by immigrants coming from the south. They call this period the Farming Stone Age. Sweden was warm and humid at the time, which is hard to believe, but it’s in the book.
Next Wednesday – The Bronze Age