top of page


Bronze Age

Bronzage village at Otterböte på Kökar

The earliest signs of human settlement at Kökar are from seal hunters from the younger Bronze Age at 1000 BC. On Kalen there are a number of burnt mound that show that seal fat has been cooked to oil. The rocks were heated by fire to heat the fat in natural recesses in the mountain. The stones could then break due to temperature difference after which they were thrown and laid aside in piles.

At Otterböte there are leftovers after a seal hunters settlement where, among other things,  house grounds, animal bones and ceramic fragments where found. The ceramics that were found indicate that the hunters came from the lausitz culture situated in the southern part of the Baltic sea, in present Poland.


Read more about Otterböte

Medieval Sailing routes

During the medieval time, a sailing route from Denmark, the King Valdemars sailing route, went close to the Swedish east coast to Arholma via Åland and Hanko in present Finland to Reval / Tallinn in present Estonia. In a script from the 13th century, known as the Danish Itinerary, Kökar is referred to as Thiyckækarl. The exact stretch of the route is not known, but it probably went from Lemböte via Kyrksundet in Föglö straight across to Hamnö and further east towards Aspö.

When larger ships began to be used during the 1300s and 1400s, and it was possible to sail on larger open waters, the waters of the west of Kökar and the following Kökarsfjärden were one of the best sailing deep water lanes from the south. The harbor was thus at a crossroads between several lanes, offering both sheltered harbor sites and freshwater sources.


Read about Kung Valdemar's medieval sailing route via Kökar.

Franciscans at Kökar

At Hamnö there was a Franciscan Convention - The Kökar Convention in the later part of the 1400s  until the Reformation. The convention was first mentioned to as the Conuentu Tiokkakarlensis, mentioned for the first time in preserved writing from 1472, but the Franciscan monks ("gray brothers") are believed to have already been working there for a long time, perhaps as seasonal activity linked to fishing and navigation already since the 1300s. House grounds found on Hamnö with remnants of what could have been a smithy suggest that there was also another perhaps military activity in Hamnö in the Middle Ages. In combination with fishing and sailing, Kökar must have been such  junction the Franciscans where looking for. The Franciscan monastery was closed by Gustav Vasa in conjunktion with the reformation in the 1530s and the buildings went to decay. The present S: ta Anna church, partly on the foundation of the old convent church, is also partly built with stones from the ancient monastery.


Read also from seal hunters to monks

Franciskaner grave at St Annas church at Kökar

The fishing waters around Kökar has long been known to be fish rich. In the remote archipelago fishing villages like the islands of Mörskär, Kökarsören, Långskär, Fölskär and Jusskär, cod and baltic herring was caught. Inshore  pike, perch and flounders were the main targets. Treasures from the 16th century show that there could be hundreds of boat teams fishing around Kökar during the fishing seasons. As an indication of the importance of the fishery around Kökar for surrounding regions, it is mentioned that when Kökar needed to build a new church at the end of the 18th century, a larger donation from the fishery committee in Stockholm was obtained.

Until the middle of the 20th century the fish still remained the basis for the nutrition of Kökar. At Kökar, one lived by what the water and the earth gave, combined with the catch of seabirds and seals. The catches were sold partly to fish buyers who took the catch to Stockholm, Turku, Reval and later Helsinki as well as to the fish markets held in the towns, where they also bought what they could not produce themselves.


bottom of page