Dating Two Royal Mounds

Herausgegeben vom Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum Mainz in Verbindung mit dem Präsidium der deutschen Verbände für Archäologie Sonderdruck aus Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt Jahrgang 38 · 2008 · Heft 2

Transcript of Dating Two Royal Mounds

Page 1: Dating Two Royal Mounds

Herausgegeben vom

Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum Mainz

in Verbindung mit dem

Präsidium der deutschen Verbände für Archäologie

Sonderdruck aus


Jahrgang 38 · 2008 · Heft 2

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Paläolithikum, Mesolithikum: Michael Baales · Nicholas J. Conard

Neolithikum: Johannes Müller · Sabine Schade-Lindig

Bronzezeit: Christoph Huth · Stefan Wirth

Hallstattzeit: Markus Egg · Dirk Krauße

Latènezeit: Rupert Gebhard · Hans Nortmann · Martin Schönfelder

Römische Kaiserzeit im Barbaricum: Claus v. Carnap-Bornheim · Haio Zimmermann

Provinzialrömische Archäologie: Gabriele Seitz · Werner Zanier

Frühmittelalter: Brigitte Haas-Gebhard · Dieter Quast

Wikingerzeit, Hochmittelalter: Hauke Jöns · Bernd Päffgen

Archäologie und Naturwissenschaften: Felix Bittmann · Joachim Burger · Thomas Stöllner

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Das Archäologische Korrespondenzblatt wird im Arts & Humanities Citation Index®

sowie im Current Contents®/Arts & Humanities von Thomson Scientific aufgeführt.

Übersetzungen der Zusammenfassungen (soweit gekennzeichnet): Loup Bernard (L. B.)

und Manuela Struck (M. S.).

Beiträge werden erbeten an die Mitglieder der Redaktion oder an das

Römisch-Germanische Zentralmuseum, Ernst-Ludwig-Platz 2, 55116 Mainz, [email protected]

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© 2008 Verlag des Römisch-Germanischen ZentralmuseumsRedaktion und Satz: Manfred Albert, Evelyn Bott, Hans Jung, Anne Schmittlutz, Martin SchönfelderHerstellung: gzm Grafisches Zentrum Mainz Bödige GmbH und Horst Giesenregen GmbH, Mainz


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Few graves in Sweden have been as thoroughly discussed as the monumental mounds of Old Uppsala

(fig. 1). This is hardly surprising as they are situated in a place that already in the 13th century is recorded

as related to ancient kings of the Svear. Another article about these graves does not appear to be neces-

sary taking into account all that has been published on the subject up to this date1. Chronology, however,

should not be considered as a static part of science. In this case a reinterpretation of the site does affect

how power structures in Middle Sweden should be interpreted, especially as Old Uppsala is often thought

to have been of great importance, politically and religiously. Dating these mounds is furthermore very

important for the interpretation of all monumental mounds in Middle Sweden. If the dating of these two

mounds is changed, it should affect the interpretation of other big mounds. Very few mounds over 30m

in diameter have been excavated so far.

This article is not intended to be a presentation of the actual contents in the graves; those have already been

published by Sune Lindqvist and later by Wladyslaw Duczko. Instead, this is an attempt to revive a debate

that has been dead for almost 50 years: the discussion evolving around the question whether the mounds

should be dated to the Migration period or to the Vendel period – which is to say before or after 550AD.


Fig. 1 The mounds of Old Uppsala. – (From Lindqvist 1936, pl. 17).

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Already in the 17th century Old Uppsala and its monuments were the focus of historical and protoarchaeol-

ogical research. Much of the early research dealt with the old archbiscopal church dating from the 12th

century, which was provoked by Adam of Bremen who mentioned the pagan temple in the 11th century.

The investigations of the biggest mounds were initiated in 1846 by crown prince Karl (later the 15th) and

Bror Emil Hildebrand. The East Mound was the first to be excavated. Digging a wooden clad tunnel into

the centre of the mound was an unparalleled enterprise in Swedish archaeology, but it proved to be a diffi-

cult task. Loose sand from the mound fill was constantly sifting down into the tunnel. Eventually parts of

the mound collapsed and a crater emerged on top of the mound. Finally, after many complications, a large

cairn was found in the middle of the mound. It covered a large cremation layer with a pottery vessel filled

with bones. About 200 litres of the layer were picked out and some bones and especially objects sorted

out. The remains were carried back into the cairn, which thereafter served as a tourist attraction until the

tunnel became too dangerous for visitors.

A completely different method of investigation was chosen when the West mound was excavated in 1874.

The eastern side of the mound was simply dug away and a small central cairn on a bed of clay was re-

vealed. It was in many aspects an easier task as the fill of this mound consisted of turf, a much more stable

material than sand. Compared to the East mound, the cairn that held the remains of the funeral pyre was

much smaller. In this case, too, most of the bones were reburied, which causes uncertainty regarding a

number of osteological aspects.

The Middle mound has perhaps the most complicated stratigraphy of the three. So far it has not been ex-

cavated all the way into a cremation layer or similar. In 1847 the grave was excavated from the top and

down to the large central cairn, which was not penetrated. In 1925 Lindqvist made an excavation in order

to understand the stratigraphy.

The material from the two completely excavated mounds is very fragmentary. There are several reasons for

that: All the finds are heavily damaged and fragmented due to the temperature of the funeral pyre. Both

glass and bronze objects have melted almost completely. The post cremation rituals are of equal impor-

tance. During the Migration and Vendel periods it was a regular custom to either pick out the large iron

objects after the cremation or only deposit small details of certain objects. In addition the grave goods were

probably often ritually destroyed. Consequently large bronze and iron objects are rarely found in the crema-

tion burials. This pattern seems to have been prevailing in all levels of society. One can finally state that

neither of the graves was completely excavated according to modern methods. Furthermore most of the

bones, and probably a number of objects, were redeposited.

The datings of the mounds as they are presented in popular science and exhibitions have practically not

changed since the 1920s. In those days the comparative material was much smaller than today. Chrono-

logical models stretching from the 5th-7th century were not complete, neither in Sweden nor in Europe. In

archaeological research on ancient monuments nationalistic elements in research were more or less custom-

ary. Many archaeologists did not pay much attention to the source critical school gaining in importance

among historians2. Archeologists like Lindqvist and Birger Nerman in this case did not hesitate to strongly

connect individuals in sagas with different monumental mounds. Since the 1920s connections between

ancient individuals and tombs are, with a few exceptions (among these interpretations we find the datings

of some excavated and non-excavated mounds), no longer seriously considered.

The main debate about the dating of the mounds occurred in the first half of the 1900s. Main actors were

Lindqvist and Nils Åberg3. Lindqvist remains the scholar most intimately connected with the mounds. He is

particularly known for his comprehensive monograph »Uppsala högar och Ottarshögen«. He also wrote a

number of articles about that place and he »discovered« a pagan temple underneath the old archbiscopal

church4. Lindqvist dated the East Mound to around 500AD or the early 6th century, and the West Mound

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to around the middle of the 6th century. He assigned both graves in chronological order to the Migration

period. Åberg dated the East Mound to the beginning of the 7th century or its first half. He placed the West

Mound around the middle of the 7th century and dated both of the graves to the Vendel period5. At this

point it is appropriate to mention that the Migration period is traditionally set to 550AD and earlier. The

Vendel period is therefore set to after 550AD.

Lindqvist and Åberg had completely different starting-points for their chronological determinations. Åberg

built his interpretations upon the theories of Salin and Montelius and used a number of parallels from the

continent as well as from Sweden. Lindqvist worked with more or less the same material but had a differ-

ent idea of the transition of Salins style I and II. This had a large effect upon the discussion as he, contrary

to Åberg, assumed that these styles had been coexisting in Scandinavia for 100-130 years. Another major

difference is the fact that Lindqvist did not content himself with using only the archaeological material. He

put a great deal of effort into connecting the mounds in Old Uppsala and the so-called »Ottars« Mound

with the royal lineage presented in the Ynglingatal. He related the mounds of Old Uppsala to the kings

Aun, Adils and Egil. This part of his theory was a direct continuation of theories that had previously been

presented by Knut Stjerna and Nerman6.

After this debate the datings of Lindqvist stayed predominant. His interpretations related to the Ynglingatal

have been seriously questioned7 but the dates were accepted as a standard until recently. The mounds of

Old Uppsala are now considered to originate from the late Migration period. For example, monumental

non-excavated mounds in Middle Sweden are often routinely dated to the Migration period8.

In his crucial work »Uppsala högar och Ottarshögen« Lindqvist used 42 pages to present the datings of the

three royal mounds. He stated that the Middle Mound was the oldest, followed by the East Mound, the

Ottars Mound in Vendel and finally the West mound9. He included the Ottars Mound due to its presumed

connection with king Ottar in Ynglingatal. The relative dating was not based on stratigraphy since none has

been found. The determining factors were the size of the mounds, the material of the fill, the placements,

and the constructions of the central cairns10. His method is quite original but can hardly be considered

more reliable than find dating. For Lindqvist, however, it was very important to establish a relative strati-

graphy in his aim to link »royal« mounds to individuals of the Old Norse royal lineage. His datings of the

mounds can be traced back to theories he presented in »Vendelkulturens ålder och ursprung«11. In this

monograph he adapted a very broad perspective and touched upon more or less the whole of Europe in-

habited by Germanic speaking people. The work is an attempt to set the whole chronology in Europe earlier

for the actual period. In this way he was in opposition to works by Montelius, Salin (interestingly the book

was dedicated to Salin) and most of all Åberg. Some of the attacks on the latter must be considered as

fairly unethical. The author’s ambitions were hardly modest. Lindqvist tried to re-date the very famous grave

fields from Schretzheim, Nocera Umbra, the Gammertingen grave and the Taplow grave. It might seem

curious that he did not present this work on an international scale in German, as the results were highly

relevant for his colleagues from the continent. However, it seems he wanted to spark controversy in

Sweden. The results did not have any big effects on European archaeology12, but they laid the foundation

for further chronological results.

A researcher who led his own discussion was Nerman. Concerning the material he was just as competent

as Lindqvist and Åberg. As a researcher he was in many ways closer to Lindqvist, especially in his works

published after 1935. Nerman was very interested in poetry, with an almost romantic relation to the

monumental graves in the landscape. Nerman placed himself closer to Lindqvist and was not interested

in arguing about specific views. He dated the East Mound to the late 5th century or around 500AD and

the West Mound to around 575AD 13. He did not, however, engage in any detailed discussion over the



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After a final debate led by Lindqvist and Åberg in 1947-49, Birgit Arrhenius and Wladyslaw Duczko prima-

rily discussed the finds14. Arrhenius first dated the East Mound to the end of the 6th century, but later to

approximately 525-550AD. After Lindqvist Duczko published the methodologically most refined and com-

plete study of the material. He somewhat vaguely dated the East Mound to »more advanced parts of the

6th century than around the actual beginning of this century« (my translation)15. He dated the West Mound

to the late 6th century, but avoided to mention anything about relative dates. Duczko should have had in

mind that the Vendel period is generally considered to begin after 550AD. Björn Ambrosiani and Martin

Rundkvist 16 have directly and indirectly given the mounds a Vendel period dating. Rundkvist did so on the

basis of Duczko’s work. None of them has however published the facts on which they based their conclu-



The best way to date mounds today is via the find material. Comparative 14C-analyses have not yet been

done. Both East and West Mounds contain a varied material. In both cases it is fragmentary and partly

exotic, which means that its interpretation is difficult compared to the non-plundered chamber graves and

the boat graves. It is also important to reflect upon the large number of interpretations by other scholars.

A number of considerations have to be dealt with before dating the Uppsala mounds. A classic question is

whether the finds originate from a long time-span or not. If that is the case, it is of course essential to date

the grave on the basis of the youngest finds, or on objects that presumably have been used during a rela-

tively short time-span. This leads to a phenomenon that I have allowed myself to call the »prototype

theory«. It means that some types of objects are considered to be the first of their type and older than other

objects of the same type. Lindqvist used this kind of argumentation in a number of cases. He argued that

the Vendel- and Valsgärde helmets, as well as the helmet from Sutton Hoo were manufactured around

500AD. By this he meant that the helmet from the East Mound was an early deposited example while all

the other helmets were placed into the ground about 100-150 years later. Arrhenius believed that both a

helmet fragment and a gold-filigree fragment were from prototypes. She connected the latter object to a


The prototype theory is interesting as it dates otherwise late objects early. Typologically older objects are

often considered as heirlooms and the graves are dated on the basis of the younger objects. The finds of

so-called crested helmets from mainland Sweden illustrate that in this case the prototype theory is implau-

sible. There are at least 17 helmets of which all turned up in Vendel period contexts18. It is not convincing

that the helmet from the East mound should have been deposited 50-150 years before all other helmets

(see further discussion below) and it is a daring interpretation that the above mentioned gold-filigree frag-

ment should originate from a scramasax as the parallels referred to are far from exact.

Another problem concerns the relations between style I and II. Did these art styles coexist or not? For

Sweden I consider this to be a more or less finished matter19, but the discussion was once very intense20.

As previously mentioned, Lindqvist and Åberg had very different opinions. Lindqvist assumed that the styles

were coexisting. He therefore saw no problem giving style II objects an older date and putting them into

his Ynglingatal chronology. He did, however, not show one single case, except perhaps the East mound,

where both styles were present in the same context – be it a grave or a hoard. This question is especially

important for Scandinavia where the development of the animal style took a different direction after the

middle of the 6th century. Åberg considered style I and II to belong to different chronological horizons in

Scandinavia, which contributed to his late dating of the Uppsala mounds. Today, with the number of graves

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with animal style amounting to hundreds in Scandinavia, it can be stated that graves containing both style I

and II objects are extremely rare21.

Compared to the situation in the 1940s, there are more suitable typological definitions as to what sepa-

rates Migration period objects from the early Vendel period objects, which today are valid for both the male

and female related materials in Scandinavia22. A lot of further research remains to be done: Existing seria-

tions could be greatly improved and it is a challenge to determine the absolute dates. Synchronization with

modern continental chronologies has not yet been conducted in Sweden. This is important as both coins

and dendrochronological datings are almost nonexistent in 6th-early 8th century Scandinavian graves. The

latest major works with datings of the Migration and Vendel period male graves were published by

A. Nørgård Jørgensen and M. Rundkvist. Objects dated to the beginning of the Vendel period, phase VII:1,

or in absolute dates 550-600AD23, are dated by Nerman to 520/30AD on Gotland, Bornholm and in

Fig. 2 Comb chronology elements: B. Petré’s comb classification (1984, 71f.). – 1 Profiles of tooth plates. – 2 Form. – 3 Profiles ofconnecting plates. – 4-6 Decoration elements.


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Middle Sweden by Nørgård Jørgensen. Rundkvist seems to be of the same opinion. In a number of chrono-

logical works dealing with corresponding finds, like shield-on-tongue buckles and different strap mounts,

these objects appear much later24. The latter works are more well-founded as they, unlike the Scandinavian

works, can be supported by coins and dendrochronological dating. I find it hard to believe that the above

mentioned finds should turn up almost 50 years earlier in Scandinavia than in other parts of Europe. Other-

wise Scandinavia would be the area that was a trend-setter for the whole of Europe regarding for example

male belts and weaponry25. I have in fact no fundamental objections towards the relative chronology of

Nørgård Jørgensen, but have chosen to follow the most accepted absolute date for the beginning of the

Vendel period in Sweden, which is approximately 550AD. Whether this date is valid or not will require a

separate discussion as it is not based upon modern studies. My opinion on the absolute dates will follow


In an attempt to avoid precious and very rare objects from dominating the discussion, I have chosen to deal

primarily with finds that can be determined with certainty. This is why a number of objects from the East

Mound are excluded. Some of them are bronze-foil fragments with figural motifs, probably from a helmet,

and other objects26. Interpreting these objects is in most cases rather challenging and they have been dealt

with more thoroughly by Arrhenius, Frej and Duczko27. The amount of material is large enough to allow

well-founded interpretations. The finds must have clear parallels that can be tied to a relative as well as an

absolute chronology. For a complete list of the finds from the mounds see Duczko’s work28. I would like to

point out that the objects depicted there are not in scale. For such I refer to the works by Lindqvist, Arrhe-

nius and Duczko. The graves in question were dated solely on the basis of the objects found as no strati-

graphical relations are known. Some were put aside, however tempting it would be to deal with them, as

for example the probably Sassanian cameos from the West Mound.

My primary ambition is to place the graves within a relative chronology. As previously mentioned, the abso-

lute dates are harder to determine. The works of Bo Petré29 are a very good example (fig. 2), but are limited

to the island of Lovö, where some of the material of the period is either missing or minimal. The Middle

Swedish material needs to be verified on the basis of modern Danish studies of materials from Bornholm,

Gotland and Norway. The material from South Scandinavia differs in some degree from the Middle Swedish

material; it is mainly related to female clothing, which is far more regional in character compared to men’s

weapons, belts and horse equipments.


Comb fragments

The comb fragments from the mounds have not been thoroughly dated or dealt with in the previous works.

Lindqvist and Arrhenius stated that the fragments from the East Mound originate from one single comb30.

Duczko’s scepticism towards these interpretations was well-founded. In my opinion two combs can be iden-

tified on the basis of the ornamentation on the connecting plates and the manufacturing techniques. There

are four major differences between the fragments of the two combs, 1 and 2 (fig. 3-4):

1. Comb 2 has much deeper cut lines of ornamentation.

2. The type element L231 is found on comb 1, but comb 2 has element L5.

3. Comb 1 lacks dot- and circle ornaments and has a possible cut line across the connecting plate (type ele-

ment L6). These traits are lacking on comb 2.

4. The surface of the combs is very different. Comb 2 has a far more cracked surface.

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According to Petré’s comb chronology (fig. 2) the following elements can

be found on comb 1: R4, S4, L2, L6, L8. Elements R4, S4, C3, L5, L8(?)

can be recognized on comb 2. The tooth plate fragments are hard to

relate to the fragments of either comb. The most interesting is the biggest

fragment with decoration corresponding to the Petré’s type elements: Ja,

Pr and vertical lines. A combination of the elements on the combs sug-

gests a dating to the early Vendel period. Petré states (my translation):

»In-between 550-600 the connecting plates are vaulted and thickest in

the middle with a bevelled upper edge (S4)«32.

A special decoration detail on comb 2 consists of two single »dot and

circles« from where it protrudes two short, simple lines. Corresponding

decoration has been discerned on combs from six graves on the Lovö

grave fields33. Petré dates five of these graves to the 7th century, one pos-

sibly to the 6th century and one to the 7th-8th century. Nerman34 depicts

a comb with similar decoration and places it in period VII:2, which means

600-650 AD. I could not find information on one single grave with typical

Migration period material (like clasps, skin scrapers and handle combs)

containing a comb with a similar decoration35.

Animal mask

The animal mask from the East Mound (fig. 5) was considered to be a Migration period object by Lindqvist.

He pointed out the Vennebo find from Västergötland in western Sweden as a parallel. Åberg questioned

this interpretation36. He agreed that the object has a number of similarities to masks from the Migration

period. Closer parallels to these finds, however, originate from a number of Vendel period graves. Åberg in

particular pointed at Vendel XII, but closer parallels can be found in Vendel X and XI. The latter graves were

Fig. 3 Old Uppsala, East Mound: comb fragments, parts belonging to comb (kam) 1 and 2 are noted. – (Photo Antikvarisk Topogra-fiska Arkivet).

Fig. 4 Old Uppsala, East Mound:comb fragments. – Close-ups, re-vealing distinct differences betweencomb 1 and 2. – (Photo AntikvariskTopografiska Arkivet).


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dated by Arrhenius to 560/570-600. Nørgård Jørgensen dates Vendel XII to approximately 600AD and

Vendel XI slightly earlier 37. Another close parallel comes from a baldric mount from Valsgärde 738, a grave

dated by Arrhenius to 600-630/40AD and by Nørgård Jørgensen to approximately 670/80AD. The most

recent published find is a mask found in A23 in the grave field Raä 116 on Helgö39, which is with no doubt

from the early Vendel period.

Helmet fragment

A bronze-foil depicting a warrior probably originates from a helmet. This motive belongs to a group that is

found in a number of places from present day Germany to England during the late 6th and 7th century40.

270 Ljungkvist · Dating two royal mounds of Old Uppsala

Fig. 5 a Face mask from Old Uppsala, East Mound. – b Fragments from Helgö. – c-d Vendel. – e Vennebo.

Fig. 6 Left: Old Uppsala, East Mound, the bronze foil fragment of dancing warriors. – Right: Sutton Hoo, Mound 1, similar figures(from Bruce-Mitford 1978, fig. 140; 155).

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This foil has close parallels in the helmets from the 7th century graves Valsgärde 7 and Mound 1 in Sutton

Hoo41 (fig. 6). The interpretation of the »fabrication« of the East Mound helmet may be mentioned at this

point: Lindqvist and later Arrhenius considered the helmet to be made out of organic material, probably

leather. Duczko questioned this interpretation and presented substantiated evidence that could be pursued

further42. Today there are no Migration period helmet graves in Middle Sweden but seven Vendel period

cremation burials with helmet fragments43. They all contain details of iron or precious metals originating

from large iron objects, such as helmets, shield bosses, spears or horse bits. Large objects are completely

missing. All these graves reflect the dominating burial rite in Middle Sweden during both Migration and

Vendel period. In 99% of the cases large iron objects are not present in the cremation layers. They have

either been taken aside after the cremation, or only symbolic parts have been placed on the funeral pyre44.

In this aspect the East Mound and the West Mound are typical for a cremation burial in Middle Sweden’s

society. The theory about a leather helmet is thus debatable.

Bronze foils

Three bronze foil fragments with interlaced ornaments (fig. 7) caused Lindqvist and Arrhenius to draw

parallels primarily to the helmet crests from Vendel X and XIV that Arrhenius dates to 560/70-600AD.

Similar ornaments can be found on the shields and the helmet from Valsgärde 8 and a shield mount from

grave 5 from Rinkeby in Spånga parish, Uppland, dated to the early Vendel period45. No typical Migration

period grave with similar ornaments has been found.

Gold filigree foil, foil in silver with filigree animals and gold filigree foil

A gold filigree foil as well as a foil in silver with filigree animals and a gold filigree foil (fig. 8) are among

the most problematic objects of the grave. They are unique and exciting, but they are at the same time

keenly discussed and somewhat difficult to date. The gold filigree foil (fig. 8a) represents best the proble-

matic nature of these objects. The foil depicts an animal of which one can recognize front parts of the head

and parts of the body. A very important element for determining the species is the neck, which unfortuna-

tely is missing. The closest parallel among a row of gold Scheidenmundbleche from the late Migration

period is a specimen from Tureholm in Södermanland46. Duczko noted that the finds of the mount have a

Fig. 7 Old Uppsala, East Mound: bronze foil fragments withinterlace pattern. – (From Åberg 1957, fig. 15).

Fig. 8 Old Uppsala, East Mound: gold and silver fragments. –(Photo Antikvarisk Topografiska Arkivet).


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lot in common with ornaments on later objects. One example is the buckle from Taplow, England. Another

one has quite recently been found in Scothern, Lincolnshire, England47, where the golden animal on a

sword pommel is very similar to the East Mound foil. This includes both the motive and the manufacturing

technique. There are clear chronological differences between the above-mentioned parallels.

Gaming pieces

Gaming pieces are rarely seen as chronologically important objects, but as the gaming pieces from the East

Mound have been dated to the Migration period, it is reasonable to deal with them in more detail. Gaming

pieces can be generally placed into three chronological horizons: 1) Late Roman Iron Age and the Migra-

tion period; 2) Vendel period; 3) Late Vendel period and Viking Age. Migration period gaming pieces are

generally small with a quite flat profile. During the Vendel period the gaming pieces tend to become bigger.

They usually have higher and more rounded profiles. In the Viking period the gaming pieces are almost ball-

shaped with a flat base48.

The gaming pieces of the East mound have a typical Vendel period shape. They show one special charac-

teristic trait: On the bottom there are two holes instead of one which is most common during the Vendel

period. Lindqvist used the two holes to draw a parallel to the gaming pieces from the Ottars Mound and

used it as an argument for dating the East Mound to the Migration period. Duczko drew parallels to

feature 1 from Veddesta in Järfälla parish49. This grave, however, does not contain any finds that are

typical for the Migration period. The datings of the Ottars Mound should also be revised (see below).

A number of examples from Middle Sweden can be confronted with these interpretations. Those hitherto

found are grave 5 from Rinkeby in Spånga parish, the Tibble grave in Västmanland, as well as grave 14 and

22 from Husby in Trosa-Vagnhärad parish and grave 1 from Rickeby in Vallentuna parish. They all contain

gaming pieces with two holes and all of them originate from the early Vendel period. Gotlandic gaming

pieces from this period differ to some degree from their mainland counterparts, but here also we do find

early Vendel period gaming pieces with two holes50.



Comb 1 (fig. 9), cut in one piece with two parallel bulges over the teeth, was not discussed by Lindqvist

and was only briefly mentioned by Duczko. This comb belongs to a group of late descendants of the early

iron combs. They have been dealt with by Jan Peder Lamm51, who stated that they had been used during

both the Migration and the Vendel period. According to Lamm’s compilation and a few additions, ten of

the combs are from Vendel period graves. Like the comb from the West mound all of them have a hori-

zontal bulge over the teeth. The datings of these graves support the datings by Lamm.

Comb 2 (fig. 10) is well-preserved and according to Petré shows the following elements: M3, R5(?), S6, L2.

It has an unusually sparse decoration. According to the cross sections of both the tooth and the supporting

plates it ought to be dated to the Vendel period and according to the chronology presented by Petré it

should be an advanced phase, which means the 7th century AD. The non-phased off supporting plate is an

element that hardly ever occurs in Migration period graves.

Comb 3 is only represented by the outer part of a tooth plate with a more slender shape than the one from

comb 2. It is difficult to present a more exact dating.

272 Ljungkvist · Dating two royal mounds of Old Uppsala

Page 13: Dating Two Royal Mounds

The triangular cloissonée fragment

A triangular gold fragment with inlaid garnets originates according to Lindqvist and Arrhenius from a sword

pommel (fig. 11, 2) like the one found in Valsgärde 5. An alternative interpretation put forward by Bruce-

Mitford52 claims that the fragment is a part of a pyramid-shaped mount similar to the one found at Sutton

Hoo (fig. 11, 1). Duczko was sceptic about the latter interpretation and stated that other similar objects did

not exist – neither on the continent nor in Scandinavia. However, this is not completely true. Pyramid-

shaped mounts were found in Valsgärde 7 and in large numbers on the continent, including a few speci-

mens with filigree and cloissonée details. Today, the latter are regularly reported by The Portable Antiqui-

ties Scheme (see tab. 1). Menghin places these mounts in Zeitgruppe D, around 580-620AD53.

Gold cloisonné buckle

Another gold cloisonné fragment has convincingly been identified by Duczko as a part of a buckle frame.

The fragment corresponds well with the buckle frames from the Taplow grave, mound 1 from Sutton Hoo,

and the Åker find from Norway54. The respective finds from all these graves are dated to around 600AD

or slightly later.

Fig. 9 Old Uppsala, West Mound: Comb 1. – (From Lindqvist 1936, fig. 97).

Fig. 10 Old Uppsala, West Mound: Comb 2. – (From Arrhenius 1995b, fig. 13).

Fig. 11 1 Sutton Hoo/Suffolk, ship burial: pyramid-shapedmount. – 2 Old Uppsala, East Mound: triangular goldfragment with inlaid garnets. – (Photo Bruce-Mitford 1978,fig. 227; Antikvarisk Topografiska Arkivet).


Page 14: Dating Two Royal Mounds

Bone cylinder

A bone cylinder with Style II ornaments (fig. 12) was extensively dealt with by Åberg who pointed at the

very close parallels to Vendel XII, where the same kind of face masks can be seen in the animals head. From

the early Vendel period Rickeby grave there seem to be parallels to the small animals placed on the neck

of the big animal. A younger parallel to the finish of the larger heads can be found on the sheath of the

Ultuna sword. There is also a row of closely related motives and stylistically close finds from Gotland55.


All these five finds from the East Mound definitely have their closest two parallels in the Vendel period:

1) the animal mask; 2) the helmet fragment with a dancing warrior; 3) the two combs; 4) bronze foil frag-

ments with interlace ornaments.

274 Ljungkvist · Dating two royal mounds of Old Uppsala

Sword pyramid Ag Freckenham, Suffolk 00/58

Sword pyramid Ag, L6/E7C Headbourne Worthy, Hampshire 03/11v6

Sword pyramid Au + clois gts (1 left), 7C Bembridge, Isle of Wight 02/59

Sword pyramid Au + gt, A/S Newark, Nottinghamshire 98-9/62

Sword pyramid Au + gt Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk 00/59

Sword pyramid gilt Ag + gt, E7C Alton, Wiltshire 01/60

Sword pyramid gilt Ag + malachite, L6C Lissington, Lincolnshire 02/57

Sword pyramid gilt Ag + niello, L6/E7C Flixton, New Yorkshire 02/57A

Sword pyramid gilt Ag, 6/7C Kilham, East Yorkshire 01/59

Sword pyramid/Strap fitting Au + gt, E7C Dorchester Area, Dorset 03/118

Tab. 1 Recent finds of sword pyramids registered in the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Fig. 12 Old Uppsala, EastMound: bone cylinder withparallell from Vendel XII. –(Photo ATA; Stolpe / Arne1912).

Page 15: Dating Two Royal Mounds

Among these finds the combs are perhaps most important for dating the graves. They do not seem to be

exclusive finds, and they differ markedly from corresponding combs in ordinary graves. They can thus hardly

be considered as either prototypes or heirlooms. I have chosen to date the East Mound to the early Vendel

period, in absolute dates approximately 550-600AD. If continental chronologies were followed, the East

mound would probably be placed in AM3/MA 3/SD-Phase 756 and in absolute terms dated to 560/70-



From the West Mound four finds also undoubtedly have their closest parallels in the Vendel period: 1)

comb 2; 2) the triangular fragment from a pyramid-shaped mount; 3) a buckle fragment; 4) a bone cylinder.

The interpretations of the triangular fragment and the buckle fragment are questionable. The dating of the

bone cylinder and the comb, however, are indisputable. On the basis of Scandinavian and Middle Swedish

parallels to the finds, there is no doubt that they originate from the early Vendel period. The gold fragments

have their parallels in Western European graves from around 600AD or the early 7th century. The comb is

of a type that points towards some time into the 7th century. I date the West Mound to 575-625AD. If

continental chronologies were followed, the West Mound would at the earliest be placed in AM 3/MA 3/

SD-Phase 7, and would in absolute terms be dated to 560/70-600/10. Considering the parallels to Sutton

Hoo and other early 7th century graves and the late type of comb, it is more proper to place the grave in

JM1/MR 1/Koch Stufe 4, which in absolute terms would mean around 590-620/30.


Reflecting upon the argumentation by Lindqvist and Åberg and after having dealt with the subject myself,

I find it peculiar that Lindqvist became the prominent interpreter in spite of Åbergs definitely better argu-

ments and that in the end he was right according to the relative dates. From my point of view Lindqvist’s

dominance can be related to a number of reasons ignoring scientific results. His argumentations were held

with great self-confidence and sometimes quite aggressively. As a support he eventually used the publica-

tion »Uppsala högar och Ottarshögen«. Its sheer weight made it difficult for other voices to be heard.

Lindqvist’s interpretations were further more appealing to the readers of his time. The idea that the mounds

belonged to an ancient golden age and could be related to the saga kings was exciting and placed the

mounds in a clearly defined context. Last but not the least the theories by Lindqvist remained unquestioned

by at least three prominent students, two of which got professorships in Stockholm and Uppsala.


If the datings above are accepted, they are related to a number of interesting factors regarding Scandina-

vian society. I have chosen to discuss three topics: The first one deals with the way we should regard the

emergence of Old Uppsala as a centre of power in Middle Sweden. The second topic deals with the very

existence of monumental mounds during the Migration period and different groups among the elite in the

Uppsala area. The third and final issue deals with the question how the emergence of the mounds of Old

Uppsala coincides with simultaneous changes in other parts of Scandinavia and in Europe.


Page 16: Dating Two Royal Mounds

The early central role

Old Uppsala’s role as a place with certain central functions, such as a royal estate, and as a judicial and

administrative centre has generally been considered to have emerged during the Migration period. These

interpretations were based upon the older datings. Per Ramqvist for example has compared Old Uppsala

with small Migration period kingdoms in Norrland, and Bo Gräslund has discussed the Migration period

power structure in the Mälaren valley on the basis of the mounds57.

A dating of the mounds to the early Vendel period makes the evidence for a Migration period centre in Old

Uppsala much weaker. Another rich but very poorly documented grave, Gullhögen, has been dated to the

5th century, however this dating is open to question (see below). The only clear indications of a migration

period elite in Old Uppsala, that remains today, is a 14C-date from a non-excavated, older phase underneath

a large presumably hall building, situated on an artificial terrace. There was a large village in the area

already during the Roman Iron Age but this does not in itself account for a big centre. Early valuable hoards,

stray finds, or traces of specialized crafts are few or missing. Definite evidence for a number of exclusive

specialized crafts is not appearing on the site until the 8th century58. This evidence does not rule out the

possibility that individuals belonging to an elite ruled Old Uppsala during the Migration period. They remain

to be identified.

Elite burials and changing burial rites in Uppland

Revising the datings of the East and West mound of Uppsala requires a look at other early monumental

mounds in Uppland. The perhaps most important among these are the Ottars Mound and Gullhögen.

Finally there is the extremely richly equipped but still unpublished Brunnshögen.

Gullhögen was excavated during the process of the excavation of the East Mound. It is extremely poorly

documented and we do not know anything about its size, construction or even its localization on the

Högåsen grave field. This grave has been dated to the 5th century by Arrhenius, on basis of x-shaped

mounts. Duczko and Ingmar Jansson, however, have pointed out very close parallels to these mounts from

Perm in Russia. Examples of these mounts have also been found in 7th century graves from Finland59. It

seems most likely that this mound, too, originates from the early or middle Vendel period.

Ottars Mound was dated to around 500 or the early 6th century AD by Lindqvist, which Nerman also stated.

This was of course in opposition to a later dating by Åberg, T. J. Arne and later Straume. Lindqvist used the

same argumentations where the Ottars mound was concerned as in the discussions about the Uppsala

mounds. One interesting recurrent phenomenon is that he – maybe intentionally – did not use not Migra-

tion-, but Vendel period finds as parallels in order to give an early dating to the actual grave he was dealing

with. In the case of Ottarshögen he is placing an early Vendel period utensil brooch in the early Migration

period. Arrhenius later dated the Ottars mound to the latest circa AD 50060.

For 5th-7th century graves in Middle Sweden Ottarshögen is almost unique as it contains a coin. A heavily

worn solidus for emperor Basiliscus gives the grave a terminus post quem-dating to 476-477. Especially the

comb and perhaps the remains of an overlay glass vessel indicate a Migration period date of the grave. Belt

details and the type of gaming pieces show a later date, but Lindqvist chose to place them early. On the

belt he pointed at a half round ridge detail on a triangular mount. This detail is of a shape that occurs

during the Vendel period and the triangular mount it is placed upon occurs only in early Vendel period

contexts. A very close parallel comes from the Åker find in Norway; another one with a combination that

is not as well presented comes from Larv in Västergötland. Other finds of this type originate from the boat

grave Vendel XII, Rickeby in Vallentuna parish and a number of Gotlandic cases. Corresponding mounts on

276 Ljungkvist · Dating two royal mounds of Old Uppsala

Page 17: Dating Two Royal Mounds

the continent do not seem to appear until the late part of the 6th century. On the basis of this evidence it

seems most probable that the Ottars mound was erected during the late 6th century61.

The perhaps most spectacular mound that has been excavated in Middle Sweden is Brunnshögen. Its con-

tents have not been published, but on the basis of the finds exhibited at the Statens historiska museum (SHM)

in Stockholm the finds do not not seem to deviate much from the ones of the graves discussed above.

After evaluating the data for these mounds it seems as if no published monumental mound in Uppland had

been erected before the Migration period, that is to say before 550AD. This separates them clearly from

the mounds in Medelpad in southern Norrland. From this area a couple of rich burials originate, the major-

ity of which are cremation burials with mostly bronze vessels as bone containers. Those burials contain for

example fragments of belts and glass vessels. The most famous in this group is the Högom grave62. Monu-

mental mounds in Medelpad are a phenomenon, which before the Viking period is restricted to the late

Roman Iron age and the Migration period. Around 550 or shortly after, a clear shift can been seen in the

grave rituals in this part of Sweden. The monumental mounds disappear and the graves and finds in general

tend to be very rare or rather anonymous63.

The cremation burial rite completely dominates during the Migration- and the Vendel period in Middle

Sweden. A very small percentage of the graves consists of either inhumations or chamber burials. They are

in most cases plundered, but it is often possible to relate them to an elite group of the society64. The graves

coexist with cremation burials that contain objects related to high status.

In Middle Sweden mounds do exist during the Migration period, but it is questionable whether monu-

mental mounds were erected before 550 (or rather 560/570 according to continental chronologies). These

monumental mounds are defined as larger than 20m in diameter, with a central cairn covered by a layer

of earth that in some cases is more or less mixed with stones, depending on the surrounding soils. If this

proves to be true, the mounds of Old Uppsala, the Ottars Mound and probably the Brunnshögen promise

a new outlook on the burial rite for the elite in Uppland and Middle Sweden. In the neighbouring land-

scape Västmanland the monumental mound grave in Tibble, Badelunda parish, belongs to the same

phase65. After 550 there is a period with a number of changes in Middle Swedish societies. The latest of

the chamber graves or rich inhumations can be dated to the late 6th and perhaps earliest 7th century, which

means the earliest part of the Vendel period66. In the same phase the first boat graves turn up in Uppland,

together with monumental mounds wider than 20m, those are the East and West Mound of Old Uppsala,

the Ottars Mound, and probably Brunnshögen. Further into the middle Vendel period we find monumental

burial mounds, like for example Broby and Stabby. If we take a closer look at the broader and more general

trends very clear changes appear in the burial rite around the middle of the 6th century:

1) Complete animals are beginning to accompany the deceased on the funeral pyre or into the boat grave.

A high proportion of the population is accompanied by dogs, sheep/goats, and to some extent pigs,

horses and cows.

2) True cremation layers are increasingly superseding bone pits and cremation pits67.

3) True monumental mounds with a distinct curved profile are becoming increasingly common.

4) The Vendel period boat graves and chamber graves do not seem to be plundered to the same degree as

the earlier generations of chamber graves.

The elite burials of the early Vendel period are on a large scale part of a general trend and in many ways

probably the precursors of the changing burial rite and its manifestation to the coming generations. What

separates the elite from the rest of the population is of course the dimension of the construction, the grave

goods and the number of sacrificed animals; but it is also a conscious choice between two different burial

rites. Some of the elite adhere to the regular burial rite while others continue to be a distinguished (male)

group in chambers and boats.


Page 18: Dating Two Royal Mounds

In the Uppsala region in particular, it is interesting that we find two kinds of »new« burial form for the elite

in the same area. Some families chose inhumation/boat graves while others were cremated. On the so-

called boat grave fields there is always a mix of cremations and boats, in many cases with monumental

mounds over the cremation layers. If we look at the material we detect great differences between the flash-

ing complete grave goods in the boat graves and the extremely fragmentary goods in the cremation burials.

A combination of bone analyses and detailed studies of the object fragments, reveal that the two burial

forms contain the same objects. They can in other words be considered as two groups from the same social

class in society68.

The boat grave individuals have been considered as closely related to royalty. Being regarded as members

of the kings´s retinues they were placed on sites belonging to kings or the crown69. I would like to present

an alternative hypothesis on the basis of the fact that burials belonging to the elite can be symbolic and

political manifestations. The late 6th century is necessarily not one marked by strong royal power. Perhaps

we have at least two different political groups in that society? The historian Thomas Lindkvist among others

has pointed out that an institutionalized society in Middle Sweden is not appearing until the 11-14th

century70. There are signs of administrative traits in the late Iron Age society, of which titles such as jarl,

karl and rink are indications71. Some kings and kingdoms of that period may habe been very powerful with

a strong control of the aristocracy and their realm, but as a whole the power structure was constantly

fragile and often shifting.

If we look at the grave forms, some had perhaps initially been constructed as signals manifesting a belon-

ging to a certain political fraction or a distinct group among the elite. In the late 6th and 7th century some

among the elite choose the conventional cremation burial rite, although with the big mound. The other

group is part of a trend that occurs simultaneously in at least three different areas of Scandinavia and

North-West Europe. Middle Sweden is not the only place where boat graves turn up during the late 6th

century, after having been absent during the Migration period. A rich female burial from this phase was

found in Augerum in Blekinge of Southern Sweden, and in England we find the boat graves from Snape

and Sutton Hoo72. The boat graves appear to have been a conscious choice of burial form signalling a direct

interaction of ideas between Scandinavia and England. The major mounds burials contain exactly the same

kinds of objects, but these individuals chose a closer adherence to the public burial rite.

278 Ljungkvist · Dating two royal mounds of Old Uppsala


Many thanks to Karen Høilund-Nielsen; Sonya Marzinzik; DieterQuast and Françoise Vallet for information and important observa-tions, to Svante Fischer for reading the English manuscript and

providing valuable comments, and to Bo Gräslund for reading theoriginal Swedish manuscript.


1) See for example Stjerna 1908. – Nerman 1913. – Lindqvist1926; 1936; 1945; 1949. – Åberg 1947; 1949. – Arrhenius1995. – Arrhenius / Sjøvold 1995. – Duczko 1996b.

2) Baudou 1997, 199ff. – Høilund-Nielsen 2004.

3) Concerning the mounds, see especially Lindqvist 1926; 1936;1949.

4) This interpretation is not considered as valid anymore, seeNordahl 1996; Alkarp / Price 2005.

5) Lindqvist 1936, 234; 1945, 109ff.

6) Stjerna 1908. – Nerman 1913.

7) Arrhenius / Sjøvold 1995.

8) Hyenstrand 1974, 115; 1979, 84. – Silver 1996, 56. – Larsson1997, 164; 1998, 35. 47. – Ramqvist 2005, 208. – Smålandsmuseum: exhibition text.

9) Lindqvist 1936, 58ff.

10) Lindqvist 1936, 148ff. 234.

11) Lindqvist 1926.

Page 19: Dating Two Royal Mounds

12) See for example Arrhenius 1983. – Lund Hansen 1988.

13) Nerman 1943, 35ff.

14) Arrhenius 1987, 461; 1995b. – Duczko 1996b.

15) Duczko 1996b, 81.

16) Ambrosiani 1983. – Rundkvist 1998; 2000.

17) Lindqvist 1949, 36. 38. – Arrhenius / Sjøvold 1995, 34f.

18) Steuer 1987.

19) See however Rundkvist 2003, 31.

20) See summaries in Åberg 1949. – Høilund-Nielsen 2004.

21) Åberg 1953. – Petré 1984a. – Høilund-Nielsen 1999. – Nør-gård Jørgensen 1999. – One does not find style I objectsamong the boat graves of Middle Sweden (Stolpe / Arne1927; Arwidsson 1977; 1942), nor are style I objects repres-ented among Vendel period objects in Gotland (Nerman1969, 1975). Both Hines and Åberg present only one casewhere a Migration period style I object is found with an objectrelated to the early Vendel period (Hines 1993, 27f.; Åberg1953, 137). There are a few cases where one could claim thatthe style is not the authentic style II. Examples are the discus-sed foils from the East mound of Old Uppsala (see fig. 10), thebuckle from Tuna in Alsike XIV (Arne 1934, pl. 21, 1-3) or thebuckle from Helgö grave field 116, grave 30c (Sander 1997,fig. 2, 29). The objects with these ornaments and the otherobjects in the graves can, however, be linked to AM III or theearly Vendel period. If we look to the closest parallels to theornaments on the objects, they are more closely related towhat you find on for example late 6th century Anglo-Saxonobjects (Åberg 1926, fig. 217-288; Smith 1923, fig. 72) thanon late Migration period relief- and equal armed brooches(Åberg 1953, fig. 23-49; Magnus 2002; Hines 1993, fig. 38-63). The ornaments belong stylistically to a border zone bet-ween style I and II. The objects are however quite clearly rela-ted to an absolute date after 550AD, or in relative terms, tothe early Vendel period or AM III.

22) Nørgård Jørgensen 1999. – Rundkvist 2003.

23) Nerman 1969; 1975.

24) Koch 1977; 2001. – Menghin 1983. – Jørgensen 1992. –Brugmann 1999. – Nieveler / Siegmund 1999.

25) See also Nørgård Jørgensen 1999. – Hines 1999.

26) Duczko 1996b, fig. 15c, d. 16f.

27) Arrhenius / Freij 1992. – Duczko 1996b.

28) Duczko 1996b.

29) Petré 1984a; 1984b.

30) Lindqvist 1936, 175. – Arrhenius 1995, 35.

31) Petré 1984b, 70ff.

32) Compare Nerman 1969, pl. 37-40 with pl. 121-122, 192.

33) Petré 1984a; 1999a; 1999b.

34) Nerman 1969, pl. 1080.

35) Investigated publications: Nerman 1935; 1969; 1975. – Arne1932. – Atterman 1935. – Rydh 1936. – Serning 1966. – Wal-ler / Hallinder 1970. – Petré 1984a; 1999a; 1999b; 2000. -Åberg 1987; 1991; 1996; 2001. – Ramqvist 1992. – Nylén /Schönbäck 1994. – Karlsson 1996. – Seiler 2001.

36) Åberg 1947, 279.

37) Stolpe / Arne 1927, pl. 27. 39. – Arrhenius 1985. – NørgårdJørgensen 1999, fig. 120.

38) Arwidsson 1977, fig. 61.

39) Sander 1997, 22ff.

40) E.g. Åberg 1947, 282ff. – Paulsen 1967, fig. 55, 56, 70-72. –Høilund-Nielsen 2004b.

41) Arwidsson 1977. – Bruce-Mitford 1978.

42) Duczko 1996b, 76f.

43) Särlvik 1962. – Steuer 1987. – Sjösvärd 1989. – Statens histo-riska museum (SHM) Inv. Nr. 26423.

44) Ljungkvist 2000.

45) Arrhenius 1983, 64. – Arwidsson 1942, fig. 88; 1954, fig. 87-91. – Biuw 1992, fig. 107, 3. – Nerman 1969, pl. 330, 659.

46) Lindqvist 1926, fig. 70-72.

47) (5/5/2008).

48) See examples from Lamm 1973, pl. 3, 5. – Stolpe / Arne1927. – Arbman 1940, pl. 149.

49) Sjösvärd 1987.

50) Nerman 1969, pl. 530. – Sjösvärd 1989. – Biuw 1992. – SHMInv. Nr. 19224; 20251.

51) Lamm 1973.

52) Bruce-Mitford 1978, 598.

53) Arwidsson 1977, fig. 63. – Duczko 1996b, 84. – Menghin1983, 150f. map 22.

54) Duczko 1996b, 84. – Grieg 1918. – Bruce-Mitford 1978, fig.346.

55) Hildebrand / Hildebrand 1873. – Åberg 1947, 259f. – Nerman1969, pl. 677, 1247. – Sjösvärd 1989.

56) Koch 2001. – Legoux / Périn / Vallet 2004.

57) Gräslund 1993. – Ramqvist 1991.

58) See classifications by Fabech / Ringtved 1995. – Ljungkvist2006, 56.

59) Lindqvist 1936, 78. – Arrhenius / Freij 1992. – Duczko andJansson, verbal information.

60) Nerman 1943, 51. – Lindqvist 1936, 218ff. – Arrhenius / Sjø-vold 1995, 36. – Straume 1987, 112.

61) Grieg 1916-18. – Lindqvist 1936, 218. – Sjösvärd 1987. –Stolpe / Arne 1927, pl. 43. – Nerman 1969, pl. 35-36. –Legoux / Périn / Vallet 2004, cat.-no. 160. – Koch 1977, fig. 8B(Stufe 4).

62) Selinge 1979, 251ff. – Ramqvist 1991.

63) Selinge 1979. – Åberg 1953.

64) See for example Lamm 1973.

65) Åberg 1953, 111f. – SHM Inv. Nr. 20251.

66) Ljungkvist 2008.

67) Brynja 1998, 116ff.

68) Ljungkvist 2006, 38. 133ff.

69) Arrhenius 1998. – Hyenstrand 1996.

70) Lindkvist 1990; 1997.

71) Brink 1996; 1997.

72) Bruce-Mitford 1975-83. – Arrhenius 1960.


Page 20: Dating Two Royal Mounds


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1996b: W. Duczko, Uppsalahögarna som symboler och arkeolo-giska källor. In: Duczko 1996a, 59-93.

Fabech / Ringtved 1995: C. Fabech / J. Ringtved. Magtens geografii Sydskandinavien – om kulturlandskab, produktion og bebyg-gelsesmønster. Produksjon og samfunn. Om erverv, spesiali-sering og bosetning i Norden i 1. Årtusind e.Kr. Varia 30 (Oslo1995).

Gräslund 1993: B. Gräslund, Folkvandringstidens Uppsala. Namn,myter arkeologi och historia (Uppsala 1993) 173-208.

Grieg 1916-1918: S. Grieg, Akerfundet I. Oldtiden VII: 1-2 (Oslo1916-18).

Hildebrand / Hildebrand 1873: B. E. Hildebrand / H. Hildebrand,Teckningar ur Svenska statens historiska museum (Stockholm1873).

Hines 1993: J. Hines, Clasps, Hektespenner, Agraffen. Anglo-Scan-dinavian Clasps of Classes A-C of the 3rd to 6th centuries A.D.Typology, Diffusion and Function (Stockholm 1993).

1999: J. Hines, Synopsis of discussion. In: Hines / Nielsen / Sieg-mund 1999, 195.

Hines / Nielsen / Siegmund 1999: J. Hines / K. H. Nielsen / F. Sieg-mund, The pace of change. Studies in Early-Medieval Chronol-ogy (Oxford 1999).

Hyenstrand 1974: Å. Hyenstrand, Centralbygd – randbygd. Struk-turella, ekonomiska och administrativa huvudlinjer i mellans-vensk yngre järnålder (Stockholm 1974).

1979: Å. Hyenstrand, Arkeologisk regionindelning av Sverige(Stockholm 1979).

1996: Å. Hyenstrand, Lejonet, draken och korset. Sverige 500–1000 (Lund 1998).

Høilund-Nielsen 1999: K. Høilund-Nielsen, Female grave goods ofsouthern and eastern Scandinavia from the Late Germanic IronAge or Vendel period. In: J. Hines / K. Høilund-Nielsen / F. Sieg-mund (Hrsg.), The pace of change. Studies in Early-MedievalChronology (Oxford 1999) 160-194.

280 Ljungkvist · Dating two royal mounds of Old Uppsala

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Høilund-Nielsen / Kristoffersen 2002: K. Høilund-Nielsen / S. Kris-toffersen, Germansk dyrestil – Salins stil I-III: Et historisk perspek-tiv. Hikuin 29, 2002, 15-74.

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Koch 1977: U. Koch, Das Reihengräberfeld bei Schretzheim. Germ.Denkmäler Völkerwanderungszeit A 13 (Berlin 1977).

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1998: M. G. Larsson, Svitjod. Resor till Sveriges ursprung (Stock-holm 1998).

Legoux / Périn / Vallet 2004: R. Legoux / P. Périn, / F. Vallet, Chro-nologie normalisée du mobilier funéraire mérovingien entreManche et Lorraine (Saint-Germain-en-Laye 2004).

Lindkvist 1990: T. Lindkvist, Plundring, skatter och den feodala sta-tens framväxt. Opuscula Historica Upsaliensia 1 (Uppsala 1990).

1997: T. Lindkvist, Den politiska kulturen i Östersjöområdetunder yngre järnålder och Vikingatid. Gick Grendel att söka dethöga huset. J. Gotarc. Serie C. Arkeologiska Skrifter 17 (Halm-stad 1997).

Lindqvist 1926: S. Lindqvist, Vendelkulturens ålder och ursprung(Stockholm 1926).

1936: S. Lindqvist, Uppsala högar och Ottarshögen (Stockholm1936).

1945: S. Lindqvist, Vår svenska guldålder (Uppsala 1945).

1949: S. Lindqvist, Uppsala högars datering. Fornvännen 44,1949, 33-48.

Ljungkvist 2000: J. Ljungkvist, Vapen och brandgravskick underVendeltid. Tor 30, 2000, 165-184.

2006: J. Ljungkvist, En Hiar atti Rikr. Aun 34 (Uppsala 2006).

2008: J. Ljungkvist, Development and chronology of the Vals-gärde grave field (Uppsala 2008).

Lund Hansen 1988: U. Lund Hansen, Hovedproblemer i romerskog germansk jernalders kronologi i Skandinavien og på Konti-nentet. In: Fra Stamme til Stat i Danmark 1 (Århus 1988) 21-35.

Magnus 2002: B. Magnus, Ørnen flyr – om Stil I i Norden. Hikuin29, 2002, 105-118.

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1975: B. Nerman, Die Vendelzeit Gotlands. Text (Stockholm1975).

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1994: E. Nylén / B. Schönbäck, Tuna i Badelunda 2 (Västerås1994).

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Smith 1923: R. A. Smith, British Museum guide to Anglo-SaxonAntiquities (Suffolk 1993).


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Zusammenfassung / Abstract / Résumé

Die Datierung zweier Königsgrabhügel von Alt-Uppsala – eine Beurteilung der Elite des 6. und 7. Jahrhunderts im mittleren Schweden Die vielleicht bekanntesten Gräber der nachchristlichen Eisenzeit Schwedens sind der Ost- und Westhügel von Alt-Uppsala (Gamla Uppsala) in der Landschaft Uppland in Mittelschweden. Nach einer Debatte, die sich von den 1920erbis in die späten 1940er Jahre erstreckte, wurde allgemein akzeptiert, dass diese Grabhügel in die Völkerwanderungs-zeit gehören. Nach der üblichen schwedischen Chronologie bedeutet dies eine Datierung vor die Mitte des 6. Jahrhun-derts. Dieser Artikel vertritt die Auffassung, dass diese Datierung falsch ist und seit 1948 auch nicht ernsthaft hinter-fragt wurde. Eine Datierung der Hügel in das späte 6. und sogar in das frühe 7. Jahrhundert hat bedeutende Auswir-kungen auf die Interpretationen von Eliten, Gesellschaft und Fernkontakten.

Dating two royal mounds of Old Uppsala – evaluating the elite of the 6th-7th century in Middle SwedenThe perhaps most famous excavated iron age graves in Sweden are the East- and West Mounds of Old Uppsala (GamlaUppsala) in Uppland, Middle Sweden. After a debate which lasted from the 1920s to the late 1940s it was widelyaccepted that these mounds belonged to the Migration period. According to the regular Swedish chronology thismeans a date before the middle of the 6th century. I believe that this view is wrong and that it has not seriously beenchallenged since 1948. To date the mounds to the late 6th and even the early 7th century has a serious effect upon howelite, society and international relations should be interpreted.

La datation de deux tumuli royaux de Alt-Uppsala – évaluation des élites des 6e et 7e siècles en Suède centraleIl est probable que les deux tombes les plus connues de la période de l’âge du Fer (apr. J.-C.) en Suède sont les tumuliest et ouest d’Alt-Uppsala (Gamla Uppsala) dans l’Uppland de Suède centrale. Suite à un débat qui eut lieu entre lesannées 1920 et la fin des années 1940, il fut accepté que ces tumuli appartenaient à la période des invasions. Selonla chronologie Suédoise cela signifie une datation avant le milieu du 6e siècle. Cet article défend l’opinion que cettedatation est erronée et que la question de la datation n’a plus été posée sérieusement depuis 1948. Une datation destumuli à la fin du 6e siècle, voire au début du 7e a des conséquences importantes sur l’interprétation de la société, deces élites et des contacts lointains. L. B.

Schlüsselwörter / Keywords / Mots clés

Schweden / Frühmittelalter / Chronologie / Königsgrab / Elite Sweden / Early Middle Ages / chronology / royal burial / eliteSuède / Haut Moyen-Âge / chronologie / tombe royale / élite

282 Ljungkvist · Dating two royal mounds of Old Uppsala

John LjungkvistInstitutionen för arkeologi och antik historia, ArkeologiUppsala universitetBox 626S - 751 26 [email protected]

Steuer 1987: L. Sjösvärd, Helm und Ringschwert. Prunkbewaff-nung und Rangabzeichen germanischer Krieger. Eine Übersicht.Studien zur Sachsenforschung 6, 1987, 189-236.

Stjerna 1908: K. Stjerna, Fasta fornlämningar i Beovulf. AntikvariskTidskrift 18/4, 1908, 1-64.

Stolpe / Arne 1927: H. Stolpe / T. J. Arne, La Nécropole de Vendel(Stockholm 1927).

Straume 1987: E. Straume, Gläser mit Facettenschliff aus skandi-navischen Gräbern des 4. und 5. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. Instituttetfor Sammenlignende Kulturforskning Ser. B, Skr. 73 (Oslo 1987).

Särlvik 1962: I. Särlvik, Två sörmländska stormansgravar. Fornvän-nen 55, 1962, 45-49.

Waller / Hallinder 1970: J. Waller / P. Hallinder, Cemetery 150. In:Excavations at Helgö 3 (Stockholm 1970) 160-235.

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ISSN 0342-734X

Peter May, Der mesolithische Oberflächenfundplatz »Auf dem Hähnchen«

bei Auel (Lkr. Vulkaneifel, Rheinland-Pfalz) – ein Beitrag zur Aussagekraft

zweidimensional dokumentierter Oberflächenfundplätze . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157

Walter Leitner, Steinzeitlicher Bergbau auf Radiolarit

im Kleinwalsertal/Vorarlberg (Österreich) – archäologische Ausgrabungen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175

Alexander Binsteiner, Steinzeitlicher Bergbau auf Radiolarit

im Kleinwalsertal/Vorarlberg (Österreich) – Rohstoff und Prospektion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185

Thomas Zimmermann, Steinerne Rundgräber der inneranatolischen Frühbronzezeit –

isoliertes Phänomen oder kaukasisch-mittelasiatisches Erbe? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191

Angela Mötsch, Keramische Adaptionen mediterraner Bronzekannen

auf dem Mont Lassois, dép. Côte-d’Or, Burgund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201

Matthias Jung, Palmettengesichter auf Attaschen etruskischer Kannen

als mögliche Vorbilder latènezeitlicher Gesichtsdarstellungen? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211

Hans Ulrich Nuber, P. Quinctilius Varus, Legatus Legionis XIX – zur Interpretation

der Bleischeibe aus Dangstetten, Lkr. Waldshut . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223

Georg Opdenberg, Der Chorobat des Vitruv aus der Sicht eines Landvermessers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233

Yann Le Bohec, L’architecture militaire à Lambèse (Numidie) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247

John Ljungkvist, Dating two royal mounds of Old Uppsala – evaluating the elite

of the 6th-7th century in Middle Sweden. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263

Hajnalka Herold, Der Schanzberg von Gars-Thunau in Niederösterreich –

eine befestigte Höhensiedlung mit Zentralortfunktion aus dem 9.-10. Jahrhundert . . . . . . . . . . 283


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