A)Roman Era Swedish Temple Discovered
A unique pentagonal shaped pagan temple has been found at Västerhanige, fifteen miles south of Stockholm, Sweden. The six postholes have up to a three-foot diameter and are five and a half feet deep with a lining of sturdy packing stones. The postholes are an impressive 23 feet apart. To date, there is no evidence of other supporting posts suggesting that these posts may have supported a roof. If so, this roof would have spanned 40 feet. There is disagreement between the archaeologists on whether or not there was a roof based partially on the suggestion that no roof spanned more than 30 feet until the Middle Ages. One of the posts was split to allow a granite and red sandstone threshold, possibly marking the entrance to the structure. In the center of the structure, a burial pit with creamated bones and a partially preserved clay floor have been preserved. A small strand of Roman gold thread dated to c. A.D. 150-345 has dated the remains.
Erling Hoh (October 11, 2000) "Unique Pentagonal Temple" Archaeology
B)Roman Era Warriors Camp Discovered in Norway
An approximately 2000 year old military camp has been discovered at Spangereid, Norway. The site of Spangereid is located on the Norweigan coast at the point closest to Denmark, at the time possibly held by the Jutes. This site is the easternmost of twenty newly discovered camps in Norway. The site with the remains of ten buildings has been determined to have been a military court because it lacked artifacts of normal civilian settlements. Several large boathouses were discovered near the Spangereid site. It has been suggested that these boathouses were used to house warships. The nearby village produced several rich graves illustrating contact with Britain, Roman Gaul, and the Baltic after A.D. 200.
Frans-Arne Stylegar. (December 12, 2000) "A Warrior Camp: Pre-Viking Chieftans Likely Drove Scandinavian Contacts" Discovering Archaeology Downloaded December 13, 2000. (When this story was originally posted by Discovering Archaeology they credited it to Michael A. Stowe. It as since been changed to Frans-Arne Stylegar.)
C)King Gorm Laid to Rest…Again
King Gorm the Old died in AD 959 and was buried in a pagan mound at Jelling, Denmark. Gorm’s son King Harold Bluetooth (r. 959-987) was the first Danish king to convert to Christianity and, according to legend, in an effort to save his father’s soul, had his father exhumed and reburied in a wooden church in the same cemetery. Like many other wooden churches, this church burned down, as did two subsequent churches on the site, before a stone church was built in c. 1100. That this site was assoicated with Gorm and his son Harold is confirmed by the presence of two rune stones along with burial mounds. The oldest rune stone was dedicated by Gorm himself to the memory of his wife Thyra (ЕN. ΘΥΡΑ ) who is called "Denmark’s Adornment". Harold erected the second stone to the memory of his parents, Gorm and Thyra, and claims that Harold won Denmark and Norway and made Denmark Christian.
The saga of Gorm’s travels after death began in 1820 when archaeologists excavated his first mound burial and found it empty, except for a single silver cup. Dendrochronological studies on the wooden beams in the burial chamber in the mound later confirmed a cutting date of c. 959, matching the reported date of Gorm’s death. Further excavations sanctioned by King Frederik VII in 1861 excavated the other burial mound at the site and found it also empty. In the 1970s, the remains of a 173 cm middle aged man were found in a burial chamber in the stone church at Jelling. There is some controversy between archaeologists on whether or not these remains belonged to Gorm. Since their discovery, the remains had been studied and stored at Coppenhagen’s University and National Museum. The remains were reburied in the Jelling church in the presence of Queen Margrethe II and the royal family. The new sealing stone on the tomb reads "King Gorm Laid to Rest in 959 and Later Entombed Here".
Mark Rose (November/December 2000) "Gorm the Old Goes Home" Archaeology Volume 53 Number 6.
; Peter Starck (August 30, 2000) "Viking-era bones reburied – but is it Gorm" Reuters. (via OldNorseNet)
D)Roman Era finds discovered in Skåne, Southern Sweden
This years excavations at Uppåkra, near Lund focused on an area known as "Jonas’ Hill", where previous excavations had found sheets of gold and artifacts suggesting a workshop. This year further parts of the settlement, dating from the early first century, were uncovered. The main structures of a house were well preserved including its outside walls, and oven. Finds were mostly confined to pottery and bones. One building did yield a sheet of silver and some charred stones that may suggest this was a silversmith’s shop. Graves had previously been discovered 600-700 meters from "Jonas’ Hill’.
In late October, archaeologists found a remarkably rich grave of a tall in Österlen, Skåne. The site is at Simrishamn, five kilometers west of Gärdestad. Among the artifacts found withher include a silver cup from the Black Sea region, a silver clasp, and over ninety amber beads. The grave has been dated to the fourth century. It is believed that this is one of the three richest graves found to date in Skåne.
Sydsvenska Dagbladet (30 October 2000) ‘Järnåldersgrav funnen i Skåne’ http://sydsvenskan.se/pub/hpsart-43.html . ; Birgitta Åkesson, "Uppåkra – avslutade grävningar", Artefact, Nr. 11. November 2000, Information for these stories was contributed to the Heroic Age by Sara E. Ellis
E)The archaeological research project of Papinniemi in Uukuniemi, eastern Finland
At the archaeological site of Papinniemi in Uukuniemi, eastern Finland, a Greek Orthodox church, a cemetery and a village have been situated in the 15th-17th centuries. The settlement was completely deserted probably during a war between Sweden and Russia in the middle of the 17th century.
Papinniemi is one of the numerous Greek Orthodox settlements that existed in Karelia in historical times. These sites and their desertion are a proof of the competition of the Byzantine and Roman Christian churches. In certain areas of Finland this competition has continued until the 17th century and even after.
Papinniemi is an archaeological site protected by the Finnish law. Archaeological excavations at the site have begun in 1995 and are going to continue for many years. In charge of the excavations is the Archaeology Department of the University of Turku in cooperation with the National Board of Antiquities.
The exceptionally rich finds of Papinniemi make the site unique in eastern Finland, where the Orthodox culture or the historical period in general have not been archaeologically researched in any extent until recently.
The Chronicle of Uukuniemi Papinniemi
AD 1500 The village of Uukuniemi is mentioned for the first time in written sources. It is a part of the pogost (parish) of Kurkijoki in the Käkisalmi province, which is a part of Karelia, belonging toRussia. There are at least six houses in the village and the inhabitants are Orthodox. The exact location of the houses is unknown.
1580-97 The province of Käkisalmi is taken and held by the Swedes. Lutheran people start to move in to the area from the Swedish part of Karelia and Savo.
1589 Uukuniemi is mentioned to have an orthodox chapel church. It is situated in the village of Uukuniemi, probably already now at the Papinniemi site. There are now 16 houses in the whole village, some of them probably in the Papinniemi area.
1597-1614 Uukuniemi becomes an independent parish with an Orthodox parish church. The exact date is not known.
1611 Sweden reconquers Karelia and starts to lutheranize the inhabitants. Orthodox people start to move to the Russian side of the border.
1618 In a tax book, four houses are mentioned as being situated na pogoste or near the church. Most probably this refers to the Papinniemi area.
1638 Jaakkima, son of Terentti, is mentioned as the Greek Orthodox priest of Uukuniemi.
1642 Ilja, son of Jyrki, is mentioned as the Greek Orthodox priest of Uukuniemi.
A map from the 1650’s presenting the two churches of
Uukuniemi. Top left is the newer Lutheran church,
and bottom right is the Orthodox church in Papinniemi.
The National Archives of Sweden, photo by Kurt Eriksson.
1651 According to the tax books the majority of the people of Uukuniemi are still Orthodox in the beginning of the 1650s.
1656-58 The so-called Rupture war between Sweden and Russia. Russia fails to take Karelia back, but a large part of the Orthodox population of the Käkisalmiprovince moves to Russia. Only one Orthodox family is left in the village of Uukuniemi.
1657 The last priest of the Orthodox parish of Uukuniemi, Ilja, son of Iivana, flees with his three sons to the town of Tihvin in Russia.
1694 By now almost all the inhabitants of Uukuniemi are Lutherans. There is still one Orthodox family in the village of Uukuniemi, and even in 1792.
1804 First map showing the Papinniemi area in detail. There are no longer any houses in the vicinity of the future excavation area.
1882 The Papinniemi site is mentioned in the archaeological literature for the first time as Kustaa Killinen visits the place. According to oral tradition there has been an orthodox church and a cemetery at the site, which is now a meadow. A huge pine-tree called the Altar Pine is growing at a place which is said to be the location of the altar of the Orthodox Church. The pine is said still to be worshipped by many people. Stone cairns and remains of houses are also mentioned. No further research takes place at the site however.
1935 There are 62 Greek Orthodox inhabitants in the parish of Uukuniemi, i.e. about 1% of the total population.
c. 1955 The altar pine is blown to pieces by the landowner, who doesn’t like the amount of the people who come to see it.
1986 Olavi Ahokas, who was born in Uukuniemi, takes interest in the Papinniemi site, after having heard from his father stories of an orthodox church at the site. He finds and brings to theFinnish National Museum among others pieces of a bronze crucifix, nails, fragments of cloth, knives, window glass and ceramics.
1993 Olavi Ahokas finds around a thousand coins from the mid-1600s at the site. They were hidden half a meter under the ground, wrapped into birch bark. Other finds include the clapper of a Churchill, weighing 6 kilos, a piece of a crucifix pendant, an icon pendant of bronze, three finger rings, about a dozen of coins from the 18th-19th centuries, as well as many finds indicating settlement at the site (e.g. ceramics, a lock, nails, knives, a fish-hook). The site is inspected by Markus Hiekkanen from the National Board of Antiquities and defined as an archaeological site, protected by law. Hiekkanen concludes that since settlement finds are so numerous and come from a large area, there probably has been a whole deserted orthodox village at the site.
The icon pendant found in 1996.
Photo © Ville Laakso.
1995 Trial excavations at Uukuniemi Papinniemi begin under the supervision of Leena Lehtinen from the Provincial Museum of Savonlinna. Finds include ceramics, glass, nails and a Russian coin from c. 1700.
1996 The trial excavations continue under the Archaeology Department of University of Turku. Finds include ceramics, nails, glass, and an icon pendant made of bronze.
1997 Three weeks’ fieldwork is completed in July. First house floor in the area is found and partially excavated. Lots of burnt clay, ceramics and some smaller metal artifacts are found.
1998 Another three weeks of excavation takes place in May-June. Among others two cross pendants and pieces of other two pendants are found in the house floor. One Russian and three Swedish coins dating from mid 16th century to mid 17th century are also found. Other finds include again ceramics, lots of burnt clay, and e.g. a fish hook. The cemetery is located as two graves of east – west orientation are found. Because of lack of time the graves are not excavated until 1999.
The cross pendants found in 1998.
Photo © Ville Laakso.
1999 The fifth season of fieldwork. In three weeks during May-June the house floor is excavated further and one of the numerous clearance cairns of the area is also excavated. Finds from the house floor include e.g. ceramics, a knife, a broze bead, a Swedish coin from the 16th century and a special axe used for carving wood. Ceramics is also found under the cairn. The first dendrochronological dating of the house is completed by the University ofJoensuu. In July first of the graves is excavated and e.g. two coins, one Russian and one Swedish, are found.
2000 In May-July two separate excavations are organized in Papinniemi, lasting one month in all. In the house floor ceramics, coins, different kinds of small metal artefacts, and glass, e.g. pieces of a green bottle, are found. In the cemetery another grave is excavated.
2001 The seventh season of fieldwork. In February, a pollen sample was taken from a small lake called Kirkkolampi, c. two kilometers from the site, for palaeoecological analysis of the surroundings of Papinniemi. Analysis of the sample will bring new information on the settlement history of the Uukuniemi and Southern Karelia. In May-June the excavations continued and work on the house floor was finished, at least for now. Three graves were also excavated. The work continued in July with trial excavations that revealed a third house floor in the area.