ScienceDaily (Mar. 19, 2012) — If you wanted to get ahead in Iron-Age Central Europe you would use a strategy that still works today — dress to impress and throw parties with free alcohol.
The excavations in Uppåkra just south of Lund has been found the remains of the heathen temple that stood here for hundreds of years before its demise in the late 900s. Then the entire area of the building could be dug up and then the place is intact from the recent burial was in this way for the first time a heathen temple could be studied in its entirety by purely archaeological methods.
Remnants of the building itself consists of burying the poles and wooden walls that once existed on the site. Different floor layers have also been identified and it has also been able to establish that the temple over the centuries been subject to the necessary alterations. Materials have been around wood also been buried in the ground.
The building is not large, only 13 meters long and 6.5 meters wide. It has been slightly curved long walls of coarse, vertical oak planks, or “sticks”, which are buried in a trench in the earth at more than one meter deep. In every corner of the house has been a pole which was buried to considerable depth. The building’s middle section, which remained independent of outside walls, consisted of four huge timber posts. The holes for these are unusually wide and depth is very remarkable, more than two meters.
The building had three entrances, two in the south and one in the north. Each opening has been framed by heavy side poles and the South West has also had a prime lot. This input should have been the temple’s main entrance.
The wall trench and post holes found excavators a hundred so-called golden guys. These are thin, small gold plates engraved with human figures. Its size means that these gold plates can not have earned such as trading gold, but should have had with the then cult to do. That they found in a large amount of burial for Uppåkra temple pillars and wall planks suggest that you sacrificed those golden old men in connection with the construction of the temple.
The building’s exterior walls have been in the so-called rod construction between sharp corner poles. The technique is familiar from found remains of stave churches in Lund from about 1050thThe following planks must have been the top fitted in a horizontal block of wood, so-called safe-conduct, which has been on corner poles. The deep trench that rod walls were set in and the deep holes for corner poles show that the building’s exterior walls must have been high. The holes are of course the task to resist lateral loads to walls not crashed down. In Hemse church on Gotland have been found preserved wall pieces in full length of three meters from the early wooden church. A height of the temple’s outer walls of up to four meters above the ground is therefore not impossible.
The roof between the outer walls and the four corner posts that served as the supporting structure in mittornet should have been covered with wood shavings, which required a fairly steep roof. From a long wall to the tower wall, this should have risen about two feet. How high was the tower itself ? Two feet deep postholes indicate a very large structure, not least because the four pillars formed a square which enabled efficient bracing by check works. With a length of the posts on the suggestion of ten meters, the tower’s walls gone up more than three feet above the nave ridge.
The above interpretation, here called Foteviksmodellen, the temple published in 2004. Another interpretation was published in 2006, here called the Lund model. The latter has the choice not to see the four middle pole FREQUENCY different dimensions and huge foundation depth as a design for a tower. The outer walls have instead entered into a mighty height, nearly six feet.
Inside the Uppåkra temple has been found a bronze beaker and a glass bowl. The approximately 20 cm high cup is decorated with bands of thin gold plate with stamped images. Glass dish comes from the area north of the Black Sea. The bowl, which is made with two layers of glass mass, can be dated to around 500 AD.
Everyday Life in the Iron Age
What was Life like in the Iron Age?
Almost everybody in the Iron Age was involved in farm work and that goes for women and children, too. In order to prepare the land people used a special kind of plough, an ard, which was pulled by a couple of oxen. That was probably the men’s part of the work.
Very few people were actual artisans. The most important of the artisans was probably the blacksmith and next to him were the people who did the peat-digging. They were important because the peat was used for melting out bog iron.
The women were very skilled at making earthenware vessels. The earthenware vessels were used in connection with cooking and for trading.
It took a long time to grind
the grains to make flour.
The women also took care of the food and made sure there was enough laid up for the cold winters. They milked the cows, made bread and cheese and dried meat and fish.
A lot of time was spent on harvesting the fields – the grain had to be threshed first, after which the kernels were grinded to flour on a stone grinder. In a mortar – a big stone with a round hole – they grinded seeds and nuts to small bits, so they could be used for porridge and bread.
The leader of the community held a position which entitled him to not participate in the daily work of taking care of the land and the livestock. He had to train the men for war and make sure that the laws of the tribe were observed as well as be a kind of minister in the village.
The women had many children during their childbearing years but only few of the children survived. Out of a family of 10 brothers and sisters only two or three children lived to have children of their own. Most people died before they had turned 45.
The boys and girls had to watch the livestock and help around the house which included fetching firewood for the fireplaces.
The children of the Iron Age played like all children but we don’t know much about the games they played. In a grave which held the body of a young child, Silkeborg Museum discovered a rattle made of clay. Games which made use of dice and a board with glass pieces were also very popular.
We don’t know how much time the children spent on playing. It is very likely that as soon as they were old enough they were put to work – tending the livestock, picking berries, cleaning the stable, spreading manure on the fields and collecting firewood. The day wasn’t divided into work and fun – the two were mixed together.
Girl wearing a dress from the Iron Age.
Big picture © Lejre Experimental Centre
People got up when the sun rose and the cock crowed. They probably started the day by feeding the livestock. The manure that had accumulated over night had to be gathered and spread on the fields.
In the wintertime some of the livestock, sheep and pigs would be in the stable right next to where the people ate and slept.
In the summertime most of the residents’ lives were probably spent outdoors. In the evening the livestock would be shooed inside the fence surrounding the village after which it was closed. As the sun was setting people would gather around the fireplace and listen to stories before going to bed. People slept on low plank beds around the fireplace and the sound of the livestock munching would mix with the residents’ snoring.