New light on an old well

The position of the well highlighted (black circle) just below the Middle mound. At the upper left corner is the former cathedral of Uppsala.

A new dendrochronological analysis of the so-called well of Odin in Gamla Uppsala shows that the construction timber most likely was harvested in the winter half years 1184/85-1186/87.

The well of Odin is situated just below the northwestern slope of the Middle mound in Gamla Uppsala. It was excavated in 1911 by Martin Olsson at the Department of Archaeology at the University of Uppsala. The excavation revealed a 8.5 m deep well of square shape, built with post-and-plank technique with four heavy corner posts. On the inside there was a fixed ladder. This suggests that it functioned as a sacrificial well.

The well was constructed within 200 meters from Uppsala Cathedral, which back then was situated in the current Old Uppsala, under King Knut Eriksson's reign (1167-1196). At the cathedral was his father - Eric the Saint - grave and shrine. Probably Knut Eriksson encouraged the cult of Saint Erik. The purpose of the sacrificial well may have been to add an additional worship site for the cult of Saint Erik.

The construction timber was included in Uppland Museum's collections in 2007. These results demonstrate the scientific potential of Museum collections. A report is in preparation.

This is a summary of blog post in swedish, link below.



We have experimented a bit with 3D-visualizations with features and trenches from 2011 and 2013. Here you can see some results. It is of course hard to understand what is represented in a trench without further explanations, but you get a far better perspective and flexibility than from ordinary photos.

Follow this link:

OBS! Any other web-reader than Internet Explorer 9 might have difficulties to open the files. I exprerienced this myself.