• Sweden edition
 
Uppsala unearths pagan road of old kings

Uppsala unearths pagan road of old kings

Published: 17 Oct 2013 13:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Oct 2013 13:50 GMT+02:00

"It's exciting because we’ve never seen anything like it in these parts before," Robin Lucas, archaeologist at Uppland Museum, told The Local.

The archaeologists, who were excavating the area in preparation for a new railroad line, discovered 144 post-holes two metres wide and a metre deep in a perfectly straight line spanning a kilometre in Old Uppsala. The post holes are placed precisely six metres from each other.

"It appears to be a processional road leading to Old Uppsala, which was the seat of the early Swedish kings," Lucas said.

IN PICTURES: See the excavation site pictures from Uppsala

Using carbon dating, the team has determined the site dates back to the fifth century, pagan times before Christianity reached the area and even before the Viking era. Many of the holes are filled with massive stones, remains of pine posts, and even animal bones, which hint that the site may also have had religious significance.

"Gamla Uppsala is often linked to a golden pagan temple," the excavation's website reads, "consecrated to the gods Odin, Thor and Frey, with worship involving animals and humans sacrificed to the gods."

"We know that Gamla Uppsala was the center of life in pre-Christian society," project leader Lena Beronius-Jörepeland said in a statement. "We believe these posts were very high, maybe even eight or ten metres. They may have marked the road towards Gamla (Old) Uppsala."

But who built the monument - and how they accomplished such a feat - is a mystery. Lucas said he suspected that the site was built as a display of power of a wealthy chieftain of the Svea tribe, but that it was hard to say anything more than that.

"The rulers of the time are really just mythological that far back," Lucas told The Local. "This was before the birth of Sweden as a nation state, and before the Vikings. We have no written sources from that time. The first real written Swedish documents are runestones, which date from the tenth century."

Lucas said that the road appears to have been built relatively quickly, and it was the first time that a hierarchy of power was obvious in that time period.

"It must have been a massive undertaking. It does say a bit about the influence of somebody who could order that such a thing be built."

Lucas said that all the digging was done, and the actual site of the ancient road will be gone by next summer as the new East Coast Railway is built. But the team will keep studying the posts and other artifacts from the site to try to learn more about the period.

Gamla Uppsala is already known to archaeologists and historians for its royal burial mounds dating back to the seventh century.

Solveig Rundquist

Follow Solveig on Twitter

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Property of the Week
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

Why settle for owning a house when you can own part of the island it is located on? This week's property allows you to get your money's worth of solitude while spending some time with your closest neighbour - the sea. READ  

Saab buys Swedish submarine shipyard
File photo: TT

Saab buys Swedish submarine shipyard

Swedish defence and aeronautics group Saab said Tuesday it had completed the acquisition of German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp's submarine shipyard in southern Sweden. READ  

My Swedish Career
American aims to beat cancer with invention
Matthew Volsky holding the Gynocoular colposcope which is used for screening cervical cancer. Photo: Gynocoular

American aims to beat cancer with invention

When Matthew Volsky first came to Sweden he didn't think he would stick around. Six years and a pioneering invention later he tells The Local about the medical device which is helping save lives around the world. READ  

Opinion
'The Danish narrative on Sweden is based on a lie'
File photo: Shutterstock

'The Danish narrative on Sweden is based on a lie'

There is a popular narrative that in Sweden people bite their tongues while in Denmark they speak their minds; political commentator Brian Esbensen debunks this, arguing that Danes simply find it easier to criticize others. READ  

Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'

Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'

After reports that wandering elks were scaring the public, police on the island of Frösön have decided not to open fire on the animals, but have urged locals to exercise caution instead. READ  

Swedish funds to tackle female genital mutilation
Sweden's Minister of International Development Cooperation Hillevi Engström with Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. File photo: TT

Swedish funds to tackle female genital mutilation

Sweden has earmarked 48 million kronor ($7 million) of its development aid budget to a United Nations programme to tackle female genital mutilation. READ  

Swedish leaders speak out on Gaza crisis
Photo: TT

Swedish leaders speak out on Gaza crisis

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt believes Israel is interested in negotiating a ceasefire with Hamas while Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven has stood by his comment about the Israelis having a right to defend itself. READ  

New rules threaten micro-breweries
File photo: Systembolaget

New rules threaten micro-breweries

Swedish micro-breweries have reacted with concern to new distribution regulations being imposed by the state controlled alcohol monopoly Systembolaget, which they fear may put them out of business. READ  

ABB and Volvo in electric buses tie-up
Volvo hybrid bus. Photo: Volvo Buses

ABB and Volvo in electric buses tie-up

Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB and Volvo Buses of Sweden have announced a joint project to develop a system for electric buses to recharge their batteries fast when at bus stops. READ  

'First ever' heat warning issued for Sweden
Photo: TT

'First ever' heat warning issued for Sweden

Swedish weather agency SMHI has issued its first ever warning for high temperatures with the many areas set to bask in plus 30C heat. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Blog updates

22 July

PROTECTING GIRLS FROM ABUSE OF THEIR RIGHTS (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today (22 July) my Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UNICEF, are hosting the world’s first #GirlSummit in London. The Summit’s aim is to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end the appalling practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). This is a high priority for the UK government and the Prime..." READ »

 

18 July

Starting over (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

" I’ve now been off the water for almost 14 days. At first I was totally gutted being forced into a rest period, I had Stockholm in my sights and apart from the pain and discomfort in my shoulder, spirits were high and I was starting to gain some momentum. The news hit me fairly hard and..." READ »

 
 
 
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
National
Malmö mayor slams Danish beggar ban
National
Swedish anti-abortion midwife sues county
National
Swede's salary chopped for Facebook use
National
Northern Sweden warmest in 90 years
Gallery
'Victoria Day': Crown Princess Victoria turns 37
Politics
Mona Sahlin to fight extremism in Sweden
National
EU tells Sweden to cover up snus flavours
Society
Swede snags assassin role in Tom Cruise film
Lifestyle
Top ten ways to spend a few days in Malmö
Gallery
Swedish summer tourism highlights
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

699
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se