New excavations!

The research excavations in Gamla Uppsala now resuming for two weeks between August 26 and September 6. Our aim this time is to investigate two other, largely unexplored areas of the royal manor complex.

The first target is a large depression with a grove of aspen called Offerlunden (eng. The sacrificial grove). This depression has despite its name not been connected to any substantial evidence of pre- Christian rituals. But we know that the depression contained a well in the 17th c. and is a potentially good trap for makro-fossils and pollen. This kind of data has for long been hard to find in the area as ‘wet’ contexts are surprisingly few. Our interest for Offerlunden was enhanced early this year as we examined the excavation report for a cable trench made in the 1970s. The trench ran across the edge of the depression and beneath medieval and later layers was a concentration of burnt bones found. We have only briefly examined the bones, but most of them seem to be extremities and cranial parts of young pigs (we are still waiting for 14C-datings). This means that we might have evidence for ritual activities in Offerlunden! It is also important to mention that we today have no ritual objects or major depositions of animals from a specific part of the royal manor area. This is curious as the ritual acitivities are one of the main characteristics of Gamla Uppsala in the literary sources.

Our second target is an elevated area placed between the church and the restaurant Odinsborg. This elevated plateau has been noticed as interesting by a number of researchers but no one has ever done any closer examinations. Two things make it extra interesting in our strategic aim to comprehend the manor complex as a whole. First it is the highest point in the settlement area. Secondly is the top of the plateau quite flat except for a probable grave mound. It might be that we are dealing with another very large house plateau that could be even longer than the southern plateau, and its 50 m long hall building.

It is our aim to update the blog each of the excavation days an present you with the ongoing excavation.

animal bones sticking out of an archaeological trench
Bones sticking out from the trench in Offerlunden in 1972

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