The discovery of the culture of Vra all began in 1935 when an archeologist, Ivar Schnell, accidentally found some interesting artifacts at a place outside Katrineholm, Sweden. Surprisingly, what he found was a broken piece of a pot that was discovered to be more than 6000 years old. The people of that same place started to investigate the area for some more evidence of an old civilization. That summer of 1935, almost eighty five more pounds of china parts were discovered. The people put all the parts together to form what is now known as the "jar of Vra." The culture of Vra is one of the oldest known village sites in Sweden today.
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In discovering Vra, many questions needed to be answered. Who lived at this time? What were they like? How did they live? In answering these questions, many possibilities were explored. The first possibility was that the culture had been developed somewhere else, and that Vra was just another place were the people of this culture expanded on. The second possibility was that the people moved away from Vra and found new places where they could settle. The third and most supported possibility was that the people of Vra were hunters and farmers who united to develop a new way of life thus forming the new culture. According to the discovery, the culture was in-between the periods of hunters and farmers. All evidence tells the discoverers that the culture of Vra was a peaceful culture built on helping and depending on one another. Violence among the people was nonexistent.
The next question asked is how and where did the people live? The people lived in huts, which were made out of wood, animal skins, and stones. Each shelter had a rectangular shape in it and was about twenty feet high and thirty feet wide. In most cases, about four to five families lived together in one hut. This is mainly because the families wanted to bond together. One of the most interesting parts of this culture was the family structure. Unlike many ancient civilizations, the culture of Vra was led by the mother of the family. In other words, it was a matriarchal society. The women had more rights than the men in the village. The hut in which the people lived was owned by the women of the families that live in the hut. The men basically worked as hunters and gatherers. They went fishing for food with their weapons made of stone, which was about the only thing they owned. The women were the farmers of the society. They were in charge of the fields and the grinding stone. This culture also had superstitions and taboos. They believed that the trees and the animals had some kind of connection with their soul.
In summary, judging from the evidence given, the people of the village seemed to be intelligent, unique, and creative for the time that they lived in. They had some kind of organization and cooperation within each other. Today, they have restored the village building four huts of different sizes and styles to preserve what was there more than 6000 years ago. The unique thing about restoring this village was the manner which it was done. The materials and technology used to restore the village was that of what they used 6000 years ago. Today, the village is now open to visitors to explore and learn more about the long lost culture of Vra.
Edited by: Michael D. Solis
Researched by: Rasmus K. Gerdeman
Written by: Goran B. Aronsson
September 26, 1996
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