Uppåkra

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Uppåkra church, built in the 1860s on the site of the mediaeval church.

Uppåkra is a village located five kilometres south of Lund in Scania in southernmost Sweden.

History[edit]

Uppåkra was situated on the ancient main road between Trelleborg and Helsingborg in what was to become the Danish kingdom. The original foundation of Uppåkra is dated to the last century BC, although its importance appears to have increased in the fifth century. It seems likely that the rulers of Uppåkra by then wielded influence over most or all of West Scania, i.e. the land along the Trelleborg–Helsingborg main road, known for extraordinarily fertile plains.

Uppåkra declined and was possibly relocated to Lund in the 990s. Knowledge about the decline of Uppåkra and the relocation to Lund is still unsure. Hence Uppåkra is held to be the direct predecessor of the city of Lund.

Archaeology[edit]

Hof at Uppåkra. Top: interior as reconstructed by Fotevik Museum; bottom: plan of excavation, showing locations of wall trenches (pink), central columns (brown), hearth (red), and beaker and glass bowl (green). By Sven Rosborn.
Main article: Uppåkra hof

Archaeological investigations have only recently begun at Uppåkra, compared to for example Birka, a better known site where digs have taken place for a longer time. One reason is that Uppåkra is not mentioned in records from the Viking Age or earlier. In contrast Lund and Dalby both have a long history by Scandinavian standards, dating to the 10th century, and have thus attracted more attention from both historians and archaeologists. In addition, Uppåkra is situated on one of the most fertile areas in Scania, which means that agricultural concerns have prevailed over historical.

The settlement was found, in 1934, when a farm was built close to the church. The first excavation that year was done by the Archaeologist Bror Magnus Vifot.

In the middle of 1990 the first investigations, with metal detecting, revealed almost 30 000 gold, silver and bronze objects

What has been known for a long time is that Uppåkra has been a settlement since very early times. Geological studies carried out in the 1930s, by a sugar company, revealed that the site around the church of Uppåkra was extremely rich in phosphate, the highest concentration of it in Scania. Phosphate is important for sugar beet cultivation. Since excrement contains phosphate, this indicates the presence of many cattle and people over time. The study was conducted by Olof Arrhenius over most of the Scania province.

Archaeological excavations in a 100-acre (0.40 km2) field, intensified in 1996, show Uppåkra to have been the richest and largest Iron AgeViking Age town on the Scandinavian Peninsula. For centuries, maybe for most of the first millennium, Uppåkra was a place of religious and political power; remains of a pre-Christian temple found in 2000–2004 demonstrated that it was also an important cult place.[1]

In 2007 archaeologists digging at Uppåkra found a decorative object from the 10th century that has a peculiar resemblance to Mickey Mouse.[2] It is believed to represent a lion. Other artefacts found include a glass bowl and a bronze, gold and silver beaker.[3] The most important artefacts are shown at the Historical Museum in Lund.

The present[edit]

Today, Uppåkra is a small village with a parish church. Each summer from May to September, at the same time as excavations takes place, there are free guided tours with information about the site. Look at the Uppåkra site for dates and time.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cult house". Uppåkra Arkeologiska Center. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ Lindgren, Erik (June 10, 2007). "Här är Musse Pigg - från Vikingatiden" (in Swedish). Expressen. Retrieved April 20, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Artefacts". Uppåkra Arkeologiska Center. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°40′N 13°10.2′E / 55.667°N 13.1700°E / 55.667; 13.1700