2015-05-04

Excavations spring and summer 2015

Today start this years excavations in Gamla Uppsala. It has been possible due to a generous donation by Berit Wallenberg foundation.

This year’s excavation starts with Uppsala ancient monument no 285 and proceeds with nos 123 and 263.

Uppsala 285 is a large and most likely a varied settlement area. To the west it consists of a large area probably with several farms, partly with continuity from the 2nd up to the 12th centuries but mainly with 6/7th -11th century remains. In the central part, the density of features is considerably sparser, largely because the surface is very moist due to seasonally waterlogging. In the eastern part there is a previous, partially excavated enclosure or road construction from 6/7th century which in turn is on top of an older settlement. During May we will excavate a bit of the western part which lies adjacent to the central parts of the royal manor area. It has so far been difficult to identify distinct constructions and features from the Viking period in this area. In this case we think there are good chances to find substantial parts of houses and maybe also crafts. Especially finds from the area indicate a quite rich settlement area from the Viking Age, right below the large plateaus from the Vendel period.

Specific objectives for Uppsala 285 are:
  • To clarify and make a closer dating of the settlement.
  • Investigate how the ancient monument preservation and future threats.
  • Investigate whether the densification of precious metals indicate a scrap depot, a precious metal workshop, or if it have other explanations.
  • Produce a basis for a discussion if it is a single farm or part of a larger complex of farms.
  • Contribute to a deeper knowledge about the similarities and differences between different farms in Gamla Uppsala as a whole as well as to diffuse structures in a Royal Demesne area.


2015-01-27

The 2010 excavation at the Royal demesne area

Finally, here are the report from the 2010 excavations at Gamla Uppsala Kungsgård (the Royal demesne area). You can find the report here or at the right side of this page, under Archaeological Papers and Reports, 2013. Report 4 (language swedish but with an english summary). The following is a short resume of the report.

In 2010 an archaeological survey was conducted. Overall objective of the survey were:
- Investigate and concretize the abundant but largely undated settlement remains detected 1957-58 west of the southern Kungsgården plateau.
- Investigate the remains in the vast but hitherto unexplored northern Kungsgården plateau.
- Further investigate the nature of the settlement remains in the farmland north of the Kungsgården plateaus.

The trench west of the southern Kungsgården plateau was placed over and alongside one of the 1957-58 trenches in order to relate to possible grubenhauser (SFB). Under the turf and the tilled soil, appeared a very dense presence of features consisting mostly of postholes but also two possible grubenhausers, pits and a large hearth. The dates of the features (14C) and the artefacts ranged from the 5th to the 20th centuries, but with a strong emphasis on the 5th -13th century. The artefacts consisted of wattle and daub, pottery, fragments of molds and a crucible as well as an large quantity of unusually well-preserved animal bones including fishbones from the 5/6th century. The large hearth was 14C-dated to the 12th  century and contained slag and pieces from an oven.

The trenches on the north Kungsgården plateau revealed a complex stratigraphy reflecting a range of building phases with 14C-datings from late the 4th to the 10th century and artefacts from the 13/14th century. The find material consisted of animal bones, beads, clasp, comb, pottery, slag, spur and wattle and daub.

In the farmland north of the Kungsgården plateaus five test trenches were excavated. The results showed that there were preserved cultural layers and features from the Iron Age. They complement earlier results from metal detector surveys and a recent GPR survey. They stress that the arable land holds some well preserved settlement remains that stretches from late 4th -11th century.

/Per F