Visit the ancient burial sites


It was the ships that took the Vikings out into the world, and for some the vessels took them right into the next life. Valsgärde, 3 km north of Old Uppsala, is a scenic burial ground with 15 boat graves more than 1000 years old.

Historical treasures

About 1400 years ago, a man was buried in a boat at Valsgärde, just north of Uppsala. In the boat, he had weapons, household items, food, horses, and dogs with him. This man was not the first to be buried at the site, and others would follow in the same way of burial. It is likely that these graves were rich in treasures and objects, but they were looted shortly after they were established. The chamber graves show that there was an elite in Valsgärde already at that time.

At the beginning of the 600s, the first boat burial was held at the site. The tradition continued over the following centuries, and a total of fifteen people were buried in boats with magnificent gifts. Five of these boat graves are from the Vendel period, and the other ten are from the Viking Age. Only men appear to have been buried in the boats, and it was probably a man from each generation. The boat burial tradition ceased at the end of the Viking Age, and the dead were once again laid in chamber or coffin graves.

700 years of burial sites

Valsgärde is a place of great significance for both nature and history. Here you can see how burial customs developed during the Iron Age. Throughout the area, you can see traces of about 80 graves, consisting of mounds and elongated depressions. These traces are from chamber graves, coffin graves, cremation graves, and boat graves. The boat graves and cremation graves date back to the Vendel and Viking periods, while the chamber graves are from the Migration Period and the coffin graves are from the late Viking Age or early Middle Ages.

Those buried in Valsgärde were members of the elite of society. The burial traditions have been kept in a conservative manner for several centuries, and the graves reflect an aristocratic lifestyle and identity. The cemetery at Valsgärde was used for a period of 700 years from around 400 AD to 1100 AD.

Vendel - Sutton Hoo, England?

Since the 1930s, a boat-grave was found in Sutton Hoo, England. Soon after, it was noted to have several similarities to Swedish boat-graves from the region of Valsgärde. These graves are from the same period. Since then, there has been a discussion about whether the Sutton Hoo ship-burial is connected to these Swedish boat-graves or not. Is it a reflection of the fact that the Anglo-Saxons were immigrants from Scandinavia and that the king or chieftain in Sutton Hoo wanted to demonstrate his continued affinity to his Scandinavian roots? Were the finds at Sutton Hoo derivative of the finds at Vendel and Valsgärde, or was it the other way around?

Preserved flora and fauna

The site is also important from a botanical perspective, with a unique dry ridge flora. By taking care of the grave fields in the right way, species that otherwise risk disappearing in the modern cultural landscape can be preserved. The grave fields are today a refuge for species and plant communities and therefore highly interesting also from a botanical point of view.

Map & information

Address: Fullerö 151
755 94 Uppsala