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’).
|Title of host publication||Christianization and the Rise of Christian Monarchy|
|Subtitle of host publication||Scandinavia, Central Europe and Rus' c. 900-1200|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||47|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2007|