Valsgärde and Vendel Pagan Ship Burials

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Tom Rowsell
by Survive the Jive
published on 04 December 2015

Most Germanic pagan cultures practised cremation, sometimes burning boats with the dead but sometimes boats and the dead were buried unburned. Sutton Hoo was an isolated example of this in England and most non-isolated cases of non-cremated boat burial in the Vendel era occur in the Mälaren valley in Sweden. There are 19 boats from 9 sites in Sweden, 4 of which are in Uppland.

This video looks specifically at Valsgärde in Uppland which is near to Uppsala. 5 boat graves have been found at Valsgärde, 3 of which are dated to Vendel period, the 6th to 8th centuries, the other 2 to the Viking era.

The boat burials in Uppland and the contents of the graves have led to many comparisons with Sutton Hoo in England. Such a specific burial custom indicates a shared religious tradition and the presence of similar religious imagery, such as the horned spear dancer motif on the pressblechs of the helmet, compounds this theory.

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Music: Faunus Amadeus Loki & Hymne Til Freyja' by Sun and Moon Dance.
Images: Wiki Commons except those owned by Paul Mortimer and used with permission.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Jive, S. T. (2015, December 04). Valsgärde and Vendel Pagan Ship Burials. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Jive, Survive T. "Valsgärde and Vendel Pagan Ship Burials." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified December 04, 2015.

MLA Style

Jive, Survive T. "Valsgärde and Vendel Pagan Ship Burials." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 04 Dec 2015. Web. 26 Apr 2019.

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