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
- 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
Listen to archaeologist Robin Lucas on Radio Sweden!