Thousand-Year-Old Christian Viking-era Graves Found in Sweden
The graves in the former Viking-era capital of Sweden are believed to have belonged to the first generation of Christians.
In the town of Sigtuna, near Uppsala, seven Viking-era Christian tombs have been discovered.
According to archaeologists, the tombs date back to the end of the 10th century from the city’s oldest times.
“They are most likely the first generation of Christians”, Johan Runer of the project Assignment Archeology told national broadcaster SVT.
The graves, which are over a thousand years old, were discovered in connection with excavations for a residential building.
“What is unique is that several of the people are buried in wooden coffins that are covered with stone, a construction we haven’t seen in Sigtuna before”, Johan Runer explained.
The graves were the final resting place of eight individuals who were buried with several items such as a knife, a belt, and a comb.
One of the graves contained two infants who likely died during birth. The objects will later be exhibited at the Sigtuna Museum.
A thousand years ago, the tombs were placed on a hill overlooking what then was a bay. There was a port that may have played a key role in Sigtuna’s development.
The archaeologists are looking forward to getting an insight into the foundation of Sigtuna and its connections to Birka, a fellow Viking-era settlement.
Sigtuna was founded by Eric the Victorious in the 970s. The city later became the seat of his son, Sweden’s first Christian king Olof Skötkonung, who had the first Swedish coins minted in Sigtuna.
Sigtuna is home to the remains of a presumed church that dates back to the late 1000s. Between the 1070s and 1120s, Sigtuna even served as the episcopal see.
Today, the municipality is home to 48,000 inhabitants.