Gråbrödraklostret in Lund
During the high middle ages the Gråbröder district was at the centre of the city of Lund. Evidence of its rich and eventful past lies beneath its quaint old buildings. The first recorded major development of this district was the foundation of a Franciscan cloister in 1238 ,which 200 years later led to the first 'university' in Sweden. The cloister was demolished following the Danish reformation in 1536. However, many traces of this period remain - and not just in the name of the district. The handful of archaeological surveys conducted by Kulturen in the area have revealed foundations, walls, gardens and burials. They also show evidence of brewing-like activities and possibly the presence of medicinal plants in some of the garden areas. In the context of Lund being the first place in Sweden where alchemy was pursued these findings are of particular interest. Brewing and alchemical pursuits are inextricably linked in that period. The trenches surveyed by Kulturen suggest that these activities could have been in the north-eastern part of the cloisters complex - roughly opposite the location of the current car park in Stora Gråbrödersgatan. As remarked by Ragnar Blomqvist, Lund's city antiquarian between1961-1968, it is incredible, given its history, that so little archaeological work has been carried out in this district. What are the odds that buried deep beneath the current shops and art gallery are the remains of an alchemical laboratory, like the one found in Wittenberg's cloisters - the remains of Sweden’s first alchemical laboratory?
Ragnar Blomqvist's reconstruction of the Gråbröder district as viewed from the south-east.