The Royal mounds (Kungshögarna) is the name for the three large barrows which are located in Gamla (Old) Uppsala. According to ancient mythology and folklore, it would be the three gods Thor, Odin and Freyr lying in Kungshögarna. In the 19th and 20th centuries, they were speculated to hold the remains of three kings of the legendary House of Ynglings and where thus known by the names Aun's Mound, Adil's Mound and Egil's Mound. Today their geographical locations are instead used and they are called the Eastern mound, Middle Mound and Western Mound.

Mounds are dated to the 5th and 6th centuries. As Sweden's oldest national symbols they are even depicted on the covers of books about the Swedish national identity. In the 6th century, Gamla Uppsala was the location of royal burials. The location was chosen carefully and in order to make them majestic. The tumuli were constructed on top of the ridge.

By burning the dead king and his armour, he was moved to Valhalla by the consuming force of the fire. The fire could reach temperatures of 1500 °C. The remains were covered with cobblestones and then a layer of gravel and sand and finally a thin layer of turf.

Archaeologists have excavated lot of significant remains from mounds. There have been many fragments of decorated bronze panels with a dancing warrior carrying a spear In the eastern mound. These panels have probably adorned a helmet of the Vendel Age type, common in Uppland. There were also finds of gold which probably had adorned a scramasax, but according to another interpretation, they were part of a belt. The dead was also given several glass beakers, a tafl game, a comb and a hone.

In the western mound were found the remains of a man and animals, probably for food during the journey. The remains of a warrior equipment were found. Luxurious weapons and other objects, both domestic and imported, show that the buried man was very powerful. These remains include a Frankish sword adorned with gold and garnets and a board game with Roman pawns of ivory. He was dressed in a costly suit made of Frankish cloth with golden threads, and he wore a belt with a sumptuous buckle. There were four cameos from the Middle East which were probably part of a casket. The finds show the distant contacts of the people of Uppland in the 6th century.

Gamla Uppsala Museum, and its exhibition hall adjacent to the Kings' Mounds, was inaugurated in the summer of 2000. On display are finds from the royal mounds, tales of the ancient dynasties and pagan gods, and models of the landscape as it looked through history. There are also models, slideshows, audio recordings, and children's corner.



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Founded: 400-500 AD
Category: Cemeteries, mausoleums and burial places in Sweden
Historical period: Migration Period (Sweden)


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User Reviews

Mislav Petrusic (16 months ago)
The best way to sum up this visit was to say that it was under our expectations. To be clear I am not a history buff nor have ant special interest that drew me to go here. So for me, this site was much less than it seemed to be hyped up as online. The mounds are really cool, but really just that. There is information about how they were made, and there are the archeological findings exhibited in the museum. There findings and diagrams are well exhibited but still nothing I would really say stands out from other museums that ive been to. I reccomend visiting the museum store and then going for a walk around the mounds (the surrounding nature is beautiful) and if you have some extra time to go up a nearby hill to a lookout point with beautiful views.
Dirk (16 months ago)
A modest museum with a beautiful overview on how people (vikings?) used to live in this area. The impressive grave hills are an excellent scenery if you go out for a walk here, pick some berries on the side and marvel on the landscape. A beautiful and peacefull place for dreaming away to ancient times
Magnus Lundberg (17 months ago)
Small but informative museum. Signs in English and Swedish. Guided tour for the royal mounds is included in the ticket price.
Anna Capria (21 months ago)
Interesting place full of history about Sweden, the nordics and Uppsala specific. Can learn a lot here. Fun gift shop too.
mi me (23 months ago)
Exquisite place! You have a chance to learn a part of important Swedish history and some funny, crazy facts about the surrounding area. But that's just the beginning because the outdoors are just as amazing. You can take a stroll around Kungshögarna and to nearby picnic place at Tunås. This "hilly" patch of land is also amazing considering the flatness of the rest of the region so it gives you an opportunity to rest your eyes from the infinite horizons.
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