Varberg played a strategic role as early as the Middle Ages. Founded around 1280 on a rocky headland, the fortress was extended in the 14C and became a royal fortified town under Magnus Eriksson. The castle visible today, in the style of the Italian Renaissance, is the work of Dutchman Hans van Steenwinckel the Elder (1617). It was used as a prison from 1848 to 1881. It now houses the collections of the Halland history museum, including the Bocksten bog man (14C), discovered buried in the peat in 1936.