Home Svenska Svenska
Home Boundless meetings Family and hierarchy Midgard Belief and traditions The living and the dead 59: Four scenes in stone 60: The dead were a part of the living society 61: The rituals affected the living and the dead 62: Returning from the underworld by boat? 63: Golden horses and swords 64: The survivors opened graves 65: The Valkyries welcomed the fallen to Valhalla 66: The path to Hel 67: An iron sword was broken in half 68: A funeral pyre with ritual drama 69: Freya’s hall for fallen warriors 70: The path to the Christian paradise 71: To kill an object 72: Important positioning of the body in the grave 73: Individual rituals and winged sacrifices Divine craftwork Trading and raiding Waterways Town-like centres Christian monuments

The living and the dead

Most people were buried close to the farmstead

There were many different ideas about death and the next life. Archaeological investigations of graves show that the way the burial was conducted, and the accompanying ceremonies varied from region to region. And between those who followed the Old Norse customs and those who viewed themselves as Christians.

In the Norse tradition it was most common to cremate, to burn, the dead. The idea was that their souls or spirits had to be released from their body so that they could be transported to a kind of realm of the dead.

The Christians, on the other hand, believed that the body was necessary in paradise. The way in which Jesus died on the cross and was subsequently buried was a template. Therefore, the body could not be destroyed by fire.
Regardless of the faith of the deceased or the survivors, the great majority were buried close to home, on the farmstead. Christian graveyards were not instituted until the last part of the 11th century, when the first churches were built.

Show more
Four scenes in stone  >
House
59
The dead were a part of the living society  >
House
60
The rituals affected the living and the dead  >
House
61
Returning from the underworld by boat?  >
House
62
Golden horses and swords  >
House
63
The survivors opened graves  >
House
64
The Valkyries welcomed the fallen to Valhalla  >
House
65
The path to Hel  >
House
66
An iron sword was broken in half  >
House
67
A funeral pyre with ritual drama  >
House
68
Freya’s hall for fallen warriors  >
House
69
The path to the Christian paradise  >
House
70
To kill an object  >
House
71
Important positioning of the body in the grave  >
House
72
Individual rituals and winged sacrifices  >
House
73