At some point in the last decades of the 1600s, the manor house at Årsta burned to the ground. As dramatic as this event was, the practical problem for the Bielkenstierna family was not severe. A new house for new generations was already in place. However, the greatest moment in the history of the estate was closely connected to Old Årsta. In 1621, the king of Sweden stayed with his troops at Årsta. Now the buildings that had housed the Royal court were no more than piles of charred debris.
This paper explores the trajectories of parts – fragments – of Old Årsta and how the site and material culture associated with the remains of a past event were treated then and during the centuries to come. Rubble and foundations were left in the ground. Building materials and fixtures were reused for strategic purposes at the site of the new manor. New truths were thus created and, when needed, adjusted by new owners.
The case of Årsta indicates how broken or dismantled parts of a house – or associated with an event – can transfer meaning, and that meaning drawn from fragments can be upheld, transformed, and even created anew.