Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Viking graves discovered in Gothenburg

Published 27 November 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Archaeologist Ulf Ragnesten at one of the graves.

During an archaeological excavation in Gothenburg, researchers from the city museum have discovered two graves from the viking age. The findings shed new light on the early history of the city and the presence of vikings in the region.

As the city of Gothenburg plans to develop land in Burgårdsparken, the county administrative board of Västra Götaland decided to investigate the site last summer. The park is centrally located in Gothenburg between Ullevi and Valhallabadet.

Archaeologists from the city museum first discovered some elevations in the ground a few decimeters high and about 3-5 meters in diameter. During a subsequent excavation, they found two graves containing cremated human bones.

We definitely found two graves and several stone packs that probably represent more graves. There is a lot of evidence that we have stumbled upon a cemetery from the late iron age, said Ulf Ragnesten, an archaeologist at Gothenburg city museum, in a press release.

The graves have been dated by carbon-14 analysis of the bones and are dated to 750-1000 AD.

Unusual find

– These are completely unique remains. Finds from the late iron age, often referred to as the viking age, have never before been found in central Gothenburg, says Ragnesten.

During the viking age, the area around the park was situated on a hill surrounded by wet meadows, as the sea level was two meters higher than today. The graves are located near today’s Mölndalsån, which at the time connected the site to the river and other settlements.

So far, a handful of burial sites have been found in the areas of Askim, Björlanda, Säve and Frölunda. In addition, the unique Äskekärr ship, the only excavated viking ship in Sweden, has been found and is on display at the city museum. Ship remains and evidence of shipbuilding have also been found around Kallerhamn in northern Hisingen. These findings, along with viking age defensive structures along the Göta and Nordre rivers, suggest that the estuary was a desirable area for trade and defense early in our history.

– The graves in Burgårdsparken show that the entire area around the mouth of the river was already in use during the viking age, and not least that the vikings lived in what is now central Gothenburg, he says.


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