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Excavations at Uppåkra in Skåne, Southern Sweden revealed a large site of c. 40 hectares with many interesting, although ill-understood, aspects. The building that has been seen as a temple is fairly small, just 13.5 m x 6 m. It had three entrances and a central hearth and had been rebuilt over seven major phases with substantial alteration to its plan. It was in use for c. 600 hundred years, extending into the Viking period.

Like many other sites which have been seen as cult places, the ‘temple’ at Uppåkra has its origins in a period long before the Viking era, and many of the finds from the site relate to this earlier period. This makes it difficult to understand exactly what the usage of the site was during the Viking period.

It can be seen that the proposed ‘cult’ buildings found across Scandinvia show considerable diversity in design, and there is no example that can be seen as a typical pagan temple.

Nevertheless, Uppåkra does seem to be a site which illustrates how many aspects of pre-Viking cult activity continued into the Viking period.

Reconstruction of the Heathen tempel of Uppåkra in Sweden by the Sven Rosborn, Museum of Foteviken
(click on the image to enlarge)

New excavations in Uppåkra, Sweden are at the forefront of cutting edge archaeological techniques. By combining big data, data modeling and DNA sequencing, researchers are currently solving significant parts of a historical puzzle.