Townscapes: Utopia and Practice in a Thematic Comparison of Nya Lödöse and Gothenburg


Comparing archaeological features from the various interventions at Nya Lödöse with incidents recorded in the historical sources from both Nya Lödöse and Gothenburg as points of departure we examine the tension between the idealized and the actual. Such incidences form the groundwork of our discussion regarding the perception, use, and understanding by contemporaries of the urban fabric in the transition from late medieval to early modern city. During this period, we see that despite international events, daily life was often characterized by petty struggles with neighbors and bureaucracy. The form of the town and how the citizens engaged with it is a key aspect of our work. In Nya Lödöse structure created when the town was first laid out locked the city to the past; Gothenburg which was intended to represent a peak of perfection and remaining unchanging proceeded to experience change almost immediately. Many typical features of early modern towns never occurred in Nya Lödöse despite abandonment and resettlement. Conservatism characterizes Nya Lödöse in a time of extreme political uncertainty. On the other hand, Gothenburg seems to be a more outward-looking city from its foundation, welcoming in immigrants from Germany, the Netherlands and the British Isles to become citizens of the city.

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Öbrink, M., Williams, G. & Nilsen, A. Townscapes: Utopia and Practice in a Thematic Comparison of Nya Lödöse and Gothenburg. Int J Histor Archaeol 22, 274–301 (2018).

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  • Early modern period
  • Urban culture
  • Town planning
  • Sweden