430 million years ago in The Baltic Sea, and today

Please click on every picture to get an expanded view.

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.

Lilla Karlsö (Little Karl's Island, referring to King Karl Gustav X, who wasn't little but the island is)

Lilla Karlsö (Little Karl’s Island, referring to King Karl Gustav X, who wasn’t little but the island is)

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.

I took this picture of a wall in the very old church, St. Michael's

I took this picture of a wall in the very old church, St. Michael’s

The Vikings and other peoples left stone monuments and religious buildings, dating back 1,500 years.

One of the "picture stones" in the Hall of Picture Stones of the Historical Museum of Gotland

One of the “picture stones” in the Hall of Picture Stones of the Historical Museum of Gotland

Our last hours were in the old city center of Visby or Wisby, a Hanseatic League center. There are remains of the original protective walls of the city.

Part of the old city wall in Wisby (Visby), Gotland

Part of the old city wall in Wisby (Visby), Gotland

 This visit to Gotland created a new spaces in my brain to accommodate the vast geological and human history revealed by our visit.

About Ron Pavellas

Expatriate Californian living in Sweden with wife. Retired from employment in the USA. Currently focused on blog articles and creative writing.
This entry was posted in Books & Literature, Geography, Geology, History and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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