As a part of the project “The Big Five”, large-scale multi-channel ground-penetrating radar surveys were carried out at Bårby ringfort (Swedish: borg
), Öland, Sweden. The surveys were carried out using a MALÅ Imaging Radar Array (MIRA) system and aimed at mapping possible buried Iron Age and Medieval remains through the interior in order to better understand the purpose of the fort during its periods of use. An additional goal was to evaluate the impact of earlier farming on the preservation of the archaeological remains. The data provided clear evidence of well-preserved Iron Age and Medieval buildings inside the fort. The size and the pattern of the Iron Age houses suggest close similarities with, for example, the previously excavated fort at Eketorp on Öland. Given the presence of a substantial cultural layer together with a large number of artefacts recovered during a metal detection survey, it is suggested that Bårby borg’s primary function during the Iron Age was as a fortified village. The Medieval houses partly cover some of the Iron Age buildings. They are placed in a U-shape with an open square in the middle facing the edge of a limestone cliff. As in the case of Eketorp, it is suggested that the activities during Medieval times changed, but the precise purpose of the Medieval Bårby settlement is still a question open for debate. Future targeted archaeological investigations are needed in order to better understand its purpose. Rescue excavations may also be necessary, as the western steep cliff ledge is eroding and the well-preserved archaeological remains are at risk of being destroyed.
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