|Wouter and Lucas carefully removes the medieval |
deposits outside the eastern part of the house.
Medieval remains in Gamla Uppsala have, with exception from the church, always been overshadowed by the Iron Age structures. One aim with this project and the currently ongoing excavation on the royal terrace area is to add another fascinating chapter to the story of the central place - a story of a royal and Christian administrative center with the seat for the first archbishops in the emerging Swedish realm. Old Uppsala is turned into a bishopric in 1123 and into the seat for the archdiocese in 1164. A dramatic fire and changes in the political and ecclesiastical landscapes eventually led to a move to the town of Östra Aros, i.e. present day Uppsala, in 1273. From written records dated from the late 12th to late 14th centuries we know of at least two, possibly three, manorial estates (lat: manisonem) in the area - belonging to the king, the archbishop and the clergy respectively. It is likely that the archbishops’ residence and the royal farm known from later sources are the same. This have however been overlooked by previous researchers who have been focused entirely on the Iron Age structures on the plateaus. The locality of the Medieval manors, their physical and chronological relations have subsequently remained unknown - until now!
In our trench the remnants a large medieval building complex have emerged in the area between the Vendel Period great hall on the southern terrace and the Church and bell tower on another iron-age terrace further south. Here we have encountered a fairly well preserved and comparatively very large house. It is of post and plank construction with sills, wooden floors, bricks from a possible stove as well as a substantial stone lined cellar in the western part. We now think the features forms several distinct rooms in a single row. Aligned with other visible and historically known structures it encloses two sides of a possible courtyard stretching into the present day churchyard and beneath the bell tower.
|The excavated stone cellar beneath the western |
part of the house.
|The cellar was secondarily used to dump refuse, |
primarily bones from piglets, sheep, fish and cow.
We cannot with with certainty date the house remains yet but we know that it most likely was constructed, used and demolished sometime between the 12th and 17th centuries. A couple of finds suggest that it was in use between the 13th to early 15th c. The late medieval cemetery wall also covers part of the complex, which predates it to late 15th c. The evidence so far suggests that we managed to locate one of the historically mentioned manors. It is placed adjacent to the cathedral – and so possibly constitute a part of the archbishops manor!
|A decorated bone found near the stove. It has a braided decor with possible animal motif.|