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Viking-era farm discovered in Sweden

Archaeologists working near Stockholm have excavated a thousand-year-old farm, dating back to the Viking Age. 

Arkeologerna, a Swedish archaeological firm, announced the discovery early this summer. Working with local museums and other archaeologists they explored an area in Viggbyholm, a suburb north of the Swedish capital. The farm was discovered at the end of a bay, where they found traces of houses and other buildings underneath the peat.

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Among the objects found so far are rotary mills, ceramics and a needle housing – typical everyday objects from this time. Needle housings are small cylinders of bone or metal where fine sewing needles of, for example, bronze, iron or bone were stored. They are often found in Viking tombs and worn as a costume accessory, often by women. Arrowheads, grinders and amulet rings were among the other items discovered hidden in the ground.

Photo courtesy Arkeologerna

“It is probably not a large farm,” says lead archaeologist John Hamilton, “but rather it has been subordinate to another farm that is located nearby at this time and is called Kjula or Tjula and which is mentioned in the historical sources. But it’s an exciting place.”

Photo courtesy Arkeologerna

This particular may have been known as “Vikby”, as medieval writings have this name for a farm in the area. Moreover, some finds indicate that a prehistoric farm was on the site as early as around 400–550 AD, which survived into Viking times. This farm may have even continued operationg into later medieval periods.

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“We have made some medieval finds and found what looks like a medieval house construction,” Hamilton adds, “where the walls rest on a foundation of stones instead of on erected pillars as during the Viking Age. We are now discussing whether the place was abandoned in the Viking Age or whether there was a farm there later.”

Photo courtesy Arkeologerna

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