A sixteenth-century warrior grave from Uppsala, Sweden: the Battle of Good Friday

Authors

  • A. Kjellström

    Corresponding author
    1. Osteoarchaeological Research Laboratory, Department of Archaeology, Stockholm University, Royal Palace Ulriksdal, SE-170 79 Solna, Sweden
    • Osteoarchaeological Research Laboratory, Department of Archaeology, Stockholm University, Royal Palace Ulriksdal, SE-170 79 Solna, Sweden.
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Abstract

Little is known about the Battle of Good Friday in Uppsala. The historical records are scarce and of limited extent. Moreover, the more spectacular event of the Stockholm Bloodbath has drawn most of the attention from both the contemporary public and later historians. This is why the discovery of a mass grave in the steep slope of Uppsala Castle in 2001 has provoked much interest. An analysis of the osseous material showed that the remains of at least 60 male individuals, mostly between 25–34 years of age, were buried in the excavated area. The demographic profile is largely similar to other European war-related skeletal assemblages of the same era. Sharp force trauma was exhibited primarily on the skulls, with no obvious dominance to either side. The trauma distribution pattern suggests that the battle was not fought face-to-face. Blade wounds concentrated in specific regions imply a standardised technique when delivering the blows. The combination of commingled bones and articulated elements suggests that the individuals were in different stages of skeletonisation when buried. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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