Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gamla Uppsala

"New" Uppsala (from 13th century) from the east mound, in Gamla (old) Uppsala

Stone commemorating Pope John Paul II's having spoken here, c. 1998

The fine little Gamla Uppsala museum

Beowulf quote from a museum exhibit; they were not kinder and gentler times

Big mounds; 5th-6th century

Lesser, later mounds, still pretty old

Ex cathedral: in the 11th-12th centuries, the cathedral was in Gamla Uppsala; when the bishopric was moved to new Uppsala in the 13th century, they reduced this building to just the tower and chancel

Our campsite at Gamla Uppsala

Vicki had read that in nearby Gamla Uppsala (old Uppsala) were a cluster of burial mounds that were actually mentioned in Beowulf. We headed there, signed up for the English language tour, and found ourselves in the lone company of the two resident archaeologists, who were obviously pleased to see megalith hunters like us.

The mounds are indeed impressive, three or four very large tumuli and then a string of lesser tumuli along the rest of the ridge. It is estimated that there could have been as many as 3,000 graves in the general vicinity. All date from the late Bronze/early Iron ages, pre-Christian, about 5th or 6th centuries AD. The museum has a very interesting exhibition on the times and on the items found in excavations. Very little of the environs has been excavated, only two of the big mounds, but this will change shortly with construction of a new railroad line, providing the local archaeologists with at least 3 years of work. Rescue archeology, it is called. Anyhow, they gave us a book about Gamla Uppsala (in English), and we liked the place well enough to spend the night in the complex's nicely landscaped parking lot (along with three other Rvs).

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