RAI and other visits at GUAM

During the excavation in May-June, the Gamla Uppsala Mythical Centre project (GUAM), had a lot of visits and visitors.

Among them were citizens, pupils and tourists and of course collegues from the Uppland Museum, Uppsala University, SAU, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences as well as scholars from other universities and reserach institutions.

A visit of the unusual kind we had on June 25th, when the Swedish archbishop Antje Jackelén took the opportunity to visit the excavation of the former archbishop residence.

And on the 9th of July, we were visited by some 50 members of the UK Royal Archaeological Institute (RAI).  Joakim K and myself was guiding the group at Gamla Uppsala, especially the Royal mounds and the Cathedral. The GUAM projects excavations results this and earlier years was accounted for.

Left: RAI with the Thing mound in the background. Center: On the West mound. Right: At the Southern Plateau, the place for the great Early Medieval hall.


The Gold Pendant

We have just closed the trench and will in the coming weeks post some news about finds and features from the plateau area. The last week have been very intense and as always many of the finds and big surprises turn up on the very last days.

This find did however appear a few weeks ago when we exposed a probably Vendel period stone pavement of so far uncertain character. The ground is sloping in this area so we think that we might be dealing with either a road or a courtyard as the ground is sloping where it was found.

To find an undamaged pendant of gold from the Vendel period, especially outside a grave context, is extremely rare for Sweden. There are a couple of grave finds, for example from Gamla Uppsala West mound and Gullhögen, but those are always fragmentary in some degree. There are also some finds of gold and garnet sword pommels, but those are all from ritual depositions, mostly originally from water contexts. One of the very few settlements in Sweden with comparable garnet finds is Uppåkra in Scania. Whether our small find is a ritual deposit or not is to early to say. It might have been dropped and lost, but do you loose something dropped on a stone pavement?

Our search for parallels have only begun and there are not a lot of close parallels. The quadrofoil shape of the pendant is intriguing. It might be seen as a cross. If that is the case, it is a christian motif imported to a region which was pagan for about another 400 years. Currently we think that this is a late 6th or 7th c. object. That also seem to fit with a metal workshop found less than 10 m from the pendant on a stratigraphically contemporary level.