In July, 2007, Eva and I visited the Swedish island Gotland, the largest island in the Baltic Sea. The “Got” in the name stems from the same root as for the Goths, a Germanic people who, some say, originated in what is present-day Gotland. But these people were newcomers, compared to the ancient sea life that Gotland, in all its geologic iterations, has been home to. Quoting from “Sunstones and Catskulls”: “The island has the world’s best-preserved shallow-sea sediment, richest in fossils from its period. The bedding… reaching a depth of about 450 metres, represents 20 million years of the evolution of life on earth… The bedrock of Gotland was formed in the Silurian period (409-439 million years ago).” In the Silurian period, the land that is now Gotland was at the Earth’s equator.
There is a set of two small islands off the west coast of Gotland named after King Karl Gustav X (10th): Stora (big) Karlsö and Lilla (little) Karlsö. We visited the “little” island. These islands hold unique fossils and other geologic history, different even from the main island, Gotland.
The Vikings and other peoples left stone monuments and religious buildings, dating back 1,500 years.
This visit to Gotland created a new spaces in my brain to accommodate the vast geological and human history revealed by our visit.