The first excavations in Uppåkra took place in 1934. Cultural layers, remnants from generations of human activity, were found when the foundation to a house was laid. For many years, Uppåkra was something of a place of legends for archaeologists. But it was not until 1996 that the site became relevant for archaeological excavations once again.Since then it has become clear that Uppåkra is a site out of the ordinary.
Graves from the Stone and Bronze Ages tell us that the place was already considered special four thousand years ago. However, it is Uppåkra’s Iron Age settlement that has received the most attention. From the first century BC to the 11th century AD, a dense settlement sprawled over what is cultivated land today. The settlement must have been an impressive sight in the landscape of the past. Longhouses, workshops, storehouses and cattle pens covered an area of about 100 acres. People from far and near met here to exchange goods and ideas. Uppåkra’s soil has yielded finds such as coins, jewellery and glassware from as far away as Iraq and Uzbekistan. But Uppåkra was not just a place for trading and crafting. It was also a seat of power for a ruling aristocracy. This is implied via an impressive hall building where the rulers of Uppåkra might have lived. Next to the hall was an unusually tall building that seems to have been used for important ceremonies. Burned-down houses, war sacrifices and remnants from feasts have been found close by. This was the centre of things, in every sense.
The settlement seems to have lost much of its importance and size after the 11th century. A number of medieval farmsteads, graves, and possibly a stave church shows that Christianity had made its entrance. But exactly what happened is still a mystery. The founding of Lund a few kilometres north of Uppåkra might provide an answer. Lund was founded around 990 AD. Uppåkra and Lund might have coexisted for a short period of time. Lund gradually overtook Uppåkra’s old role as the power centre in the region. Perhaps the answer can be found in the founding of Lund, a few kilometres north of Uppåkra. The town was founded around 990 AD, and coexisted with Uppåkra for a short time. Perhaps Lund took over Uppåkra’s role as the power centre in the region. The finds help us to better understand the people that once lived here. Vast amounts of finds and remains are still waiting to be found in the earth – only a small fraction of the site has been excavated so far. For every excavation made, and through the research done, our view of this unique place continues to improve.