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Tar pit in Jonsboda

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Follow the footpaths shown on this map and take a short 5 km walk and you will be able to see the remains of several old settlements and now almost forgotten activities which contributed to a barely adequate providing for the local population here in southern Pjätteryd parish during the 19th century. Large families and poor farming conditions made it necessary to find additional sources of income. This neighbourhood was famous for its tar burning and pitch cooking. Each numbered point on the map indicates an historical monument. Informational signs are posted at each place or activity.


Tar grove.
A tar valley, or tar burning, is a furrow dug out in a hillside cleaned from stones, made very even and hard-packed. At the bottom the furrow is completed with a stone embankment and covered with dirt. In the bottom of the furrow a hole is made through which the tar will run down into collecting barrels. When tar production starts, the furrow is filled with finely-chopped pieces of resin-rich pine wood. The wood is then covered completely with a thick layer of spruce branches and dirt to prevent air from coming into the wrong places. In an opening at the top, the fire is lit and a bellow is connected to generate heat so that the resin in the pine wood effectively begins to melt. As the resin melts and tar forms, and the wood turns to charcoal, the bellow is moved on down the furrow. The tar flows downwards in the valley, down through the hole at the bottom where it can be collected in special barrels. In past times, tar was an essential Swedish export product.

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