Winner of the Wiki Loves Monuments photo competition - Sweden, 2016
This monumental stone is inscribed with the following text in the runic alphabet: "Ölver and Åskatla raised this stone in memory of Gunnar, the son of Sigtrygg, a good dreng. May the Lord God lift up his spirit" .
Through many ages, Larva Heath was an important site for the tribe known as the Geats (götarna). This is where all West Geats met to elect chieftains and kings, as well as speak in other matters, be they political, legal or religious. The meeting was called the "Landsting", a word that is still frequently used in Swedish, but today signify a geographical/political administrative division (i.e. a county) .
The common theory stipulates that the Geats was one of two great Germanic tribes inhabiting the Swedish mainland during the Iron Age (and possibly earlier), the other being the Swedes. The Geats had their heartland in the region Västergötland (or West Gothland/Westrogothia), but during the early Middle Ages the Geatish centre of power slowly moved eastwards toward Östergötland (or East Gothland/Ostrogothia). An equally common, but not quite as convincing, theory is that the Geats were synonymous to the Goths and that the Visigoths that sacked Rome under their chieftain Alarik originally came from Västergötland. These theories are seldom put forward by Swedish scholars however, which might be wise, since the origin of the ancient Germanic tribes is shrouded in mystery.