Lake Hornborga was formed when the ice melted during the Ice Age some 10,000 years ago. The first settlements in the area were made only a thousand years earlier. At that time, collectors and hunters were attracted to the rich land at the inlet which subsequently became Lake Hornborga.
There are seven habitats in the area that illustrate human activity during the early Stone Age. At Almeö, the most impressive habitat, the finds include the remnants of flint tools and the remains of a domesticated dog - the oldest Nordic evidence of man's use of dogs. Large numbers of bones, primarily from elk, aurochs and beavers but also from wild boar, red deer, wolf and bear, have also been found. Needless to say, fishing played an important role.
About 6,000 years ago, human beings started cultivating this landscape, with its extensive deciduous forests. This was the start of the farming Stone Age. Most of the habitats from the period are concentrated on the northern and eastern shores of the lake. The first ceramic discoveries date back to this period.
Some 2,000 years ago, the fields and meadows started to spread at the expense of the forest. Iron began to play an important role, as did self-subsistent households. At the same time, the first villages were set up around the lake; they included Tranum, Bjällum, Bolum and Hornborga.The cold climate forced people to gather winter fodder for their cattle. Rich production in flooded water meadows played a vital part.
Photo: Västergötlands museum
With Pehr Tham at Dagsnäs as the driving force, the first decision to lower the level of the lake was made in 1802. Read more about lowering and restoring the lake here.As the lake was drained, the reeds expanded and they soon played an increasingly important role - as emergency fodder for the animals but first and foremost as roof-covering material. There are still a number of reed roofs on buildings along the eastern side of the lake. Together with the reeds, water meadow hay-making was an important factor. The fodder was stored in barns in meadows around the lake. At the present time, there is a newly-build meadow barn along the Ytterbergsleden walking track, between Hornborga Naturum and Ytterberg.
Fishing and hunting
During the Second World War, some of the land surrounding the lake was used for peat cutting. This applied particularly at Röde mosse in the north and Trestena mosse in the west.Fishing and hunting were still important for the people round the lake. Fishing helped them make a living, while hunting was more of a hobby.Flat-bottomed boats were used to fish on the shallow lake.The lowering of the lake had made it impossible to use the kind of boats that were used in deeper water.During a short period in the 1890s, a small steamboat - the Ellen - actually operated between Almeö and Stenum.