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Rimsvarden (Jan Rabben).

Rimsvarden lies high and unencumbered, an enormous stone mound on the highest top with a wide view of the Fitjar rural community. With its 30 meters across and almost 4 meters high, this is one of the largest prehistoric burial relics existing in Hordaland.

Around 1790 an innkeeper from Foldøy was throwing stones out of the mound when he came across a large stone slab. The slab was fashioned as a lid for a square, finely mortared burial chamber. In the burial chamber were a sword and a knife made of bronze.

The knife has been lost, but the sword was still present at Rimbareid in 1824. That year Fitjar was visited by W.F.K. Christie, one of the founding fathers of the Constitution at Eidsvoll in 1814, the representative to the Storting, and the County Governor, who founded Bergen Museum the following year. He would like to have the sword for the antiquarian collection, but that was to prove a task, more than difficult, even for a man like Christie. The old fighting sword happened to have acquired a new and more peaceful role in the Fitjar community. It was used “as a Means to provide Women with an easy Birth”. The bronze sword wandered from one birth location to the next, and from what people said, it worked wonders. If they stroked with the blade, all went well, but if they stroked with the egg, it went wrong.

It was only in 1865 that the sword finally came to the museum, and it is still found in the collections of Bergen Museum. The end point and the upper part of the cone (inserted into the handle) are broken and missing. The sword can be dated to the last part of the older Bronze Age, i.e. 1000 years BC. It is a splendid weapon that speaks of the owner’s status and power. Such swords were not the property of the common man.

And the large stone slab ended its days in the churchyard, as tombstone for a farmer from Rimbareid – 3000 years after being laid on the grave of the Bronze Age farmer.

  • Fett, P. (1977) Gamle ting med ny historie. Godbiter fra samlingene, 47. Bergen, Universitetet i Bergen