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Guldgubbers found in Sweden

Featured Image: Gold foil from the Aska mound (Wikipedia | Bjorn Falkevik | Public Domain).

If you travel up north along lake Vattern, you may pass the hamlet of Hagebyhöga near Aska. Already in 2014, the archaeologist suspected the mound there might be an important site. Excavations finally took place in the summer of 2020. And indeed, they revealed a large hall from the seventh century. The hall stood on top of the mound until the ninth century, until they took it down with care, and very neatly.

About 22 gold foil figures are among the discovered objects on the Aska mound. These are called ‘guldgubber’ (in Swedish) or little old man of gold. These small foils show up all around Scandinavia around the start of the Viking Age. Often, they pop up in post holes of chieftain’s halls. The foils from the Aska mound show a relief of an embracing couple. Whether they represent a god and goddess, or an elite couple who lived in the hall, is unclear as is the purpose of the foil in the post holes. Could they have been used to celebrate a wedding, or the inauguration of the chieftain?

Read more on about the Aska mound excavations on LiveScience and Academia.edu 2014 and 2020. For more information on guldgubbers, see the Lofotr Viking Museum site.

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