HAMN – The museum where you experience history on site!
Seven years of archaeological excavations on the battlefield around Baggensstäket in Nacka has resulted in Sweden’s first battlefield museum. It consists of nearly a thousand square meters of captivating history told with unique objects, images, documents, audio and film.
Location: Brantvägen 3, Saltsjöbaden, Nacka. Map can be found here!
Prices: Adults 80 SEK, seniors and students 50 SEK. Children and youths up to 19, free.
Phone: (+46)8 570 31 110
The narrow and shallow waterway has a fascinating ancient history
This has been one of the routes between the Baltic Sea and Stockholm, and on August 13, 1719, a fleet of Russian galleys was sighted outside of Skogsö. For some time the Russians had been ravaging the archipelago and the galleys of Tsar Peter I were now threatening Stockholm. Their disembarkation at Skogsö led to the Battle of Stäket.
Two hundred and fifty years later the new suburb of Fisksätra was built in Nacka. This became Sweden’s most densely populated area with people from a great number of different nations.HAMN tells this story, beginning in the 4th century, displaying finds from the Viking era and the 18th century, and also from recent times with the stories of today’s multicultural settlement.
A number of people have helped us interpret the history of the area through the finds; marine and battlefield archaeologists, numismatists, osteologists, archivists, historians, curators and other experts. At the museum you will see their results together with the finds.
HAMN is located 300 meters from the local bus stop and the Saltsjöbanan railway station or by way of a 30-minute boat ride from the Stockholm city center.
The museum has a shop with locally produced craft items from Nacka and Värmdö, and a conference center for up to 36 people.
The battle of Södra Stäket 1719: a summary
The battle of Södra Stäket took place about 15 kilometers to the east of Stockholm in August, 1719. Even though the event is not remembered as one of the great battles during the Great Nordic War (1700-1721) – the Swedish chancellor of the realm at the time, Erik Sparre, describes the battle as ”une petite affaire d’infanterie” – however, the outcome saved Stockholm from being sacked. The aim of ”The Sodra Staket Battlefield Archaeological Project” is to investigate the battlefield and mass graves (one mass grave was actually discovered thirty years ago). Another goal is to find out if any Russian galleys were sunk during the battle.
In 1719, at the end of the Great Nordic War, a Russian fleet consisting of 130 galleys, 100 sloops, 21 warships and 30,000 soldiers under the command of admiral Apraksin terrorized the Swedish East coast. The operation was intended to force Sweden to sign a peace treaty.
On 13 August, Apraksin conducted an amphibious operation at Södra Stäket. This was an attempt to reach Stockholm through a back door with a division of galleys. During the landing operation six Russian battalions (about 3,000-6,000 soldiers) tried to capture two redoubts (divided by the inlet) and destroy a number of sunken cargo vessels blocking the entrance.
Three of the Russian battalions disembarked on the southern side of the narrow inlet. Around 7 pm, the nearest Swedish infantry regiment arrived with the strength of 700 men. The battle began at 8 pm. Russian grenadiers tried to capture the first redoubt in an all-out assault. Hand grenades flew back and forth between the two forces.
At the same time, on the Northern side of the inlet, about 700 meters to the West, three Russian battalions tried to capture the second redoubt (earthworks construction). Thanks to heavy firing from a Swedish galley squadron, and with the aid from a small reserve unit, the Swedes managed to dislodge the Russian force from its position.
The most intense part of the battle lasted for approximately two hours. The Swedish casualties numbered about 100 men, while the Russians lost between 400 and 500 men. According to Swedish tradition, the battle has been known as a firm victory. From a Russian point of view, it was naturally seen as a great success. The written sources are full of contradictions, which makes it difficult to interpret the actual course of events at Södra Stäket. Swedish historians, working on new interpretations of the archive material, have started to question the outcome of the battle.
Archaeological field study
From 2005-2013 the research project was administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board, and from 2014 the museum HAMN has taken over. During seven digging seasons (2004-2010) both of the battlefields on each side of the inlet were demarcated and fully excavated. Overall, 735,000 square meters were investigated, equivalent to 100 full-size football fields. Both battlefields are today protected from future exploitation.
More than 1,100 battle-related finds were unearthed. Musket and pistol balls were found, grapeshot, hand grenade fragments (even one intact hand grenade), horseshoes, buttons, clasps, coins, rings, fragments from a clay-pipe, a piece of a rapier and half a fragment of a 2-pounder swivel gun. The fragments from the hand grenades showed us where the Russian grenadiers launched their attack against the redoubt. Objects were also found from the construction of the timber defenses, such as axes, wedges, drills, nails and knives.
Battlefield archaeologist, Tomas Englund
Updated March 31st 2020.