Eketorp is an old ring-fort from the Iron Age situated on the island of Öland on the south-east coast of Sweden. The original keep was built around the year 400 AD during a period when the inhabitants had close relationships with the Roman Empire. A theory is that these castles were a place where people gathered for religious reasons but at the same time it protected the surrounding inhabitants of enemy attacks. Why they built them circular has been a topic of discussion but the reason is most likely that since it was built in open terrain it made it easier to defend against attacks from all sides.

The initial keep was 57 meters wide but in 500 AD it was extended to 80 metres. Findings show that buildings had been built within the walls during this time. It was abandoned during the 600s due to an unknown reason and it would take 400 years until it was used again. In the 1100s a second protective wall was erected and the structure was strengthened using timber.

During the 1900s the castle was reconstructed by the Swedish National Heritage Board and it has been used to showcase Medieval techniques and craftsmanship but also to stage Medieval battles. Eketorp is one out of 19 known prehistoric defence structures on Öland, but the only one to have been completely excavated. At Eketorp alone some 24000 different objects have been found.

Today the keep is open to the public and in the museum inside the walls many objects that were found during the large excavation in 1974 are showcased.

Photo: Kevin Cho, Wikimedia