Home of the Vikings in Vellinge

Home of the Vikings in Vellinge

In May and June 2022, the archaeologists will conduct a survey near Vellinge, in southwestern Skåne. In this area – known to many by the expression ”south of the highway” – are the country’s most fertile soils. The Viking Age settlement to be explored is located 700 meters southwest of Vellinge gamla bytomt which with its 36 farms (year 1570) was the largest village in this part of Skåne.

Pendant with a man’s face found in Skegrie, some distance from the site of the investigation. Photo: Bengt Almgren, Lund University History museum.

Given that the church density on Söderslätt is among the highest in Scandinavia, it is reasonable to imagine that the farms were dense even during the Viking Age. The survey site is located just a few kilometers from the coast and near the Falsterbo Peninsula or ”isthmus”, which also makes it interesting. At the far end of the isthmus was the Skåne market, the largest marketplace in northern Europe during the Middle Ages, where people from near and far traveled in the fall when the Herring went to. There are also traces of older Harbour and market places on the isthmus, and most recently in Foteviken, where the so – called ”Battle of Foteviken” is said to have taken place in 1134. The battle is said to be the first in the Nordic region where armed horsemen were used on a large scale.

The actual Harbour site in Foteviken is not known, but during the 1980s marine archaeologists investigated a barrier in the inlet gutter that was constructed to regulate access to the harbour. The barrier was 300 meters long and built of piles and lots of stone. Among other things, five ships were included, which were filled with stones and sunk. The barrage is believed to have been erected in two phases, both during the late Viking age.

Historical map of Vellinge village plot in 1799 that almost gives a city-like impression.

The settlement was marked on the Scanian reconnaissance map in 1815.

The place now to be surveyed is registered as a place of residence. During the preparatory work, which was carried out by Sydsvensk Arkaeologi AB, traces of several houses and areas of activity were documented. The remains were dated to a 300-year period, from the 6th to the 9th century. Of particular interest is that the settlement seems to be largely free from the ”noise” of other periods, which is very unusual in this area.

If this turns out to be true, it makes it much easier to investigate questions about how the settlement was designed in its various phases and how the agrarian economy fared. Judging by the preparatory work, it is obvious to see the settlement as ordinary in terms of resources and perhaps subordinate to a local elite. Through systematic metal detection, we hope to be able to approach the inhabitants of the settlement and shed light on their social status and contact networks.

Preparation of the survey area for excavation. PHOTO: The archaeologists CC BY

Public activities

We usually have guided tours and other mediation at our excavation sites, but unfortunately it is not possible to carry out this time. The site is blocked by road E6, Road 100 and a construction site where only authorized persons have access.

Instagram Facebook instead, we invest in digital mediation through blog posts and posts in social media such as Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. We will also do some filmed features in the field. Keep an eye on the website for info on upcoming events.

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