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Valsgärde

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Valsgärde

The grave field of Vallsgärde.
The round circle behind the helmet shows the probable size of the shield.

Valsgärde or Vallsgärde is a farm on the Fyris river, about three kilometres north of Gamla Uppsala, the ancient centre of the Swedish kings and of the pagan faith in Sweden. The present farm dates from the 16th century. The farm's notability derives from the presence of a burial site from the Swedish Vendel Age (part of the Iron age (c. 550–793) and the Viking Age); it was used for more than 300 years. The first ship burial is from the 6th century and the last graves are from the 11th century.

Excavation

Hilt with cloisonné decoration from Valsgärde.

The site was found and excavated by archaeologists in the 1920s, and before this similar graves had only been found at Vendel, which gave its name to this period of the Scandinavian Iron Age. The graves are princely, and are almost identical to ones found later in England, at Sutton Hoo in East Anglia. There are several theories about the identities of those buried, ranging from the Ynglings (Scylfings) to powerful warriors within the Leidang system, or local strongmen who had enriched themselves through trade due to the area's strategic position between the fjord of Mälaren and the important region of Tiundaland. There are so many rich graves that it is unlikely that most of them were royalty.

References

  • Arwidsson, Greta (1942) Valsgärde 6 (Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckeri-A.B. Uppsala)
  • Arwidsson, Greta (1977) Valsgärde 7 (Berlingska Boktryckeriet. Uppsala)
  • Arwidsson, Greta (1954) Valsgärde 8 (Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckeri-A.B. Uppsala)
  • Fridell, Allan (1930) First Ship burial at Valsgärde in Gamla Uppsala parish (Fornvännen) [1]
  • Schönbäck, Bengt: (2002) De vikingatida båtgravarna vid Valsgärde - relativ kronologi (Fornvännen) [2]

External links

  • Gamla Uppsala — Archæological information from the Swedish National Heritage Board.
  • Valsgärde — Article by Claes-Henric Siven on gravesite
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