The kingdom of Sweden

Nils Blomkvist, Stefan Brink, Thomas Lindkvist

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

17 Citations (Scopus)


BEFORE CHRISTIANITY: RELIGION AND POWER The archaeological evidence for the Late Iron Age (c. 600-1100) is rich in Sweden, particularly in central Sweden, around Lake Mälaren. A characteristic burial tradition evolved here in the Late Iron Age, with one or several burial grounds attached to every prehistoric settlement. These burial grounds have been preserved to a large extent because they were on barren land close to the settlements and not on arable land. The burials consist of both cremation graves and inhumations, and typically a low mound was placed over the burial. Some graves are exceptional, normally representing the upper stratum of society. For example, there are chamber graves with rich and plentiful grave goods; some, found at the Viking Age trading place Birka on Lake Mälaren are very famous. Boat graves constitute another remarkable type of inhumation; the body was placed in a boat which was buried in the ground. Many of the boat burials are exceptionally rich in grave goods. Famous sites are Valsgärde, Vendel, Alsike and Gamla (Old) Uppsala in the province of Uppland, and Tuna in Badelunda in Västmanland. As opposed to the low mounds, large mounds (‘king’s mounds’) are very often found in the central places of settlement districts, for example in Gamla Uppsala or on royal farms (husabyar). Many of these seem to be connected to ancient bona regalia, what contemporary vernacular texts called Uppsala öd (literally ‘the richness of Uppsala’).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChristianization and the Rise of Christian Monarchy
Subtitle of host publicationScandinavia, Central Europe and Rus' c. 900-1200
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages47
ISBN (Electronic)9780511496400
ISBN (Print)9780521876162
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


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