Monument discovered at Old Uppsala

Göte Göransson

Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a grand and previously unknown monument from the 5th and 6th centuries AD at Old Uppsala.

Just a couple of hundred metres from the famous royal mounds, at the heart of one of the most important Swedish Iron Age sites, two long rows of massive pine posts have loomed over the countryside.

One of the rows was close to a kilometre long, with 144 posts, which up until now had been hidden under the Vattholma road – see map below.

The other row of posts was at least 500 metres long and ran a few hundred metres south of the royal mounds before it turned north and ran along the ridge – see map below.

- This is an extraordinary monument. It may be a territorial marker, but it could just as well constitute a religious or ritual boundary. We know that Gamla Uppsala was a centre for Pre-Christian cult. We believe the post have been tall, maybe as much as eight to ten metres. They have been visible from afar, possibly flanking a road into Gamla Uppsala, says the project director Lena Beronius-Jörpeland.

Remaining to this day are very large and deep pits, strengthened by stone. A few have the remains of the actual posts, and others contain animal bones. This may indicate the ritual sacrifice of horses, cows and pigs. In one pit, the skeleton of a puppy was found.

- Few monuments like this are known in Scandinavia, and these rows constitute the largest of its kind, says Lena Beronius-Jörpeland.

Gamla Uppsala has for long been known for its impressive royal mounds, dating from around 600 AD. The site was a central gathering place, with important religious, judicial and trade functions, as well as being a centre for artisans.

This new discovery adds a new and exiting dimension to Gamla Uppsala.

Listen to archaeologist Robin Lucas on Radio Sweden!



Rad med gropar