Excavation of a pit house in progress.

In the last blog post we mentioned a pit house. It is still only partially excavated and we are worried about the water levels as the forecast predicts more rain coming. It is already filling up with water..

In the beginning we thought that this feature, which was fairly rounded on the surface, might be a well. But we soon found that it was yet another pit house among many found in Gamla Uppsala. Like many other pit houses, this one contains quite a lot of bones and macro fossils. And they are very well preserved. We have been able to water sieve a substantial amount of the fill in the pit house which has generated a substantial amount of small bones, including even fish scales.

The pit house with the upper fill layer removed.

We have now come very close to the floor layers of the house and some eye catching bones are turning up. First, near the edges of the walls, parts of a cow cranium and the complete mandibula of a pig appeared. Today, right on top of the floor layer appeared a far more unusual find in the shape of a upturned dog cramin. Complete parts of skulls or mandibulas have not been found in upper layers of the house so we think that we might be dealing with some ritual depositions of animals remains after the abandonment of the house. This is however still a very preliminary interpretation. We have to excavate the remaining parts of the house and also evaluate the relationship of the bones and the stratigraphy a bit closer in order to make more well founded interpretations of these finds.

A partial cow cranium and pig mandibula by the walls.

A dog cranium appears.


  1. Hello,
    In my view,A pit-house (pithouse) is "a dwelling partially dug into the ground and roofed over."Besides providing shelter from extremes of weather, these structures may also be used to store food and for cultural activities like the telling of stories, dancing, singing and celebrations.Non Explosive Cracking Agent

    1. Hi and thanks for your comment. Your view is very similar to what you can read on the Wikipedia article about Pit-houses. For us, a pithouse or a a sunken featured building (SFB), is a designation of preferably prehistoric house immersed in the ground. Such houses in Sweden are usually interpreted as workshop premises, including for weaving. From the 6th to the 13th C, they were an important part of rural farms although they emerge earlier and occurs in other environments as well.