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Gotland Archaeological Field School

5 archaeological week field course

July 15 to August 16 2019

No place in Scandinavia has such a large amount of Viking objects found during the last 200 years, and no area has seen so many silver hoards as Gotland. More than 700 hundred hoards, containing in total more than 150,000 silver coins from the Arabic world, England, Germany and other countries, provide clear evidence of the importance of the island during the Viking Age.

This year we will be excavating a Viking Age site on the southeastern coast of Gotland in the parish of Eke. The landscape is littered with remains from the Bronze Age, Viking Age and Middle Ages including cairns, stone walls, grave fields, grinding stones and an ancient stone-walled enclosure. The location is several hundred meters from the sea, but in previous time periods the shoreline likely came right up to the site and the area could have been used as a harbor site or settlement. There have been few excavations in this area, but the landscape has clearly been in use for millennia. The 2018 excavation concerned the fortification, called Gudings slott, and our findings indicate human activity at the site from the Late Bronze Age through the Early Middle Ages. We have established that the stone-walled enclosure was likely constructed during the Roman Iron Age, possibly for ritual purposes. We also excavated a number of stone cairns located on and around the wall of the enclosure, which provided us with Viking Age inhumation graves. Knowing that this ancient structure was used as a burial ground during the Viking Age, we will be moving to an site only 500 meters to the southwest to investigate an area with strange stone constructions. Our goal with this excavation is to formulate an understanding of the activities that took place in this certain location and possibly link it to the Viking Age activities at Gudings slott.

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