Grave Mounds

sights / Religious

Grave Mounds information

Uppsala , Sweden
admission free
Opening hours
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The seat of Western culture, according to Olof Rudbeck’s 1679 book Atlantica, was Sweden: specifically, Gamla Uppsala. Rudbeck (1630–1702), a scientist, writer and all-around colourful character, amassed copious evidence proving that Gamla Uppsala was, in fact, the mythical lost city of Atlantis. In retrospect, this seems unlikely. But the spot, 4km north of the modern city, is a fascinating attraction nevertheless. One of Sweden’s largest and most important burial sites, Gamla Uppsala contains around 300 mounds from the 6th to 12th centuries. The earliest and most impressive are three huge grave mounds. Legend has it they contain the pre-Viking kings Aun, Egil and Adils, who appear in Beowulf and Icelandic historian Snorre Sturlason’s Ynglingsaga . More recent evidence, however, suggests that the occupant of Östhögen (East Mound) was a woman, probably a female ­regent in her twenties or thirties. Speculation has surrounded the burial site from the beginning. Early press reports included medieval chronicler Adam of Bremen – who was never actually here – describing a vast golden temple in Gamla Uppsala in the 10th century. Allegedly, animal and human sacrifices were strung up in a sacred grove outside.