Rogaland has taken its name from the people called the "Ryger", which means "those who sow grain". They were probably people from the Germanic tribe Rüger.
However, myth tells another story. The old kings of Rogaland traced their ancestry back to Fornjot himself, one of the first beings created when the world emerged from the meeting of fire and ice. The descendants of Fornjot were the forces of nature. From them, the kings Rugalf and Rognvald were born, and it was in honour of them the region was named Rogaland. Legendary sagas and songs describe dramatic tales of Rognvald’s descendants, the kings who ruled Rogaland through turbulent times.
During the Bronze Age, the people of Rogaland changed the landscape with their burial mounds. Norway’s largest collection of burial mounds dating from this time run in a straight line from east to west across the island of Karmøy. It’s obvious that these mounds were constructed to face the open sky; perhaps in the hope that the sun god would find his way across the bridge of heaven.
Mounds are scattered across Jæren, telling of a culture in which women had a central role. Large bronze necklaces have been found in several places in the moorlands of Rogaland, indicating offerings to a female deity. Perhaps these were for Nerthus, the earth goddess who lived on a sacred island. Åmøy, with its many rock carvings, is one such island. People gathered here, in the centre of Rogaland, to perform rituals to ensure a plentiful harvest.
Treasures have been unearthed, many in Jæren, that date back to the great Germanic migrations. Remnants of houses and farms also pepper the landscape. In the 5th century, one father in Rogaland wrote: Haduleik rests here. I, Hagustad, buried my son. We do not know the story, but the father has etched his sorrow in stone.
There are many such monuments in Rogaland, and the runes on some are still visible. During pagan times, the runes were magic symbols as well as letters. Gradually, they lost their association with magic. We have examples of runes that were used simply to spread gossip. In Bergen one inscription reads: Ingebjørg made love to me when I was in Stavanger.Les mer >