The Odal and its Manifestation in the Landscape


  • Torun Zachrisson Department of Archaeology, Stockholm University



The concept odal can be regarded in a narrow sense, i.e. as the inherited landed property of a family. But here it is argued that odal should be viewed in a wide sense - as a mentality that is of great importance to the understanding of Late Iron Age society in Sweden. The article focuses on the material expressions which belonging to a family and possessing a farm could take in the individual farmstead in the Mälar Valley. The Viking Age is interpreted as a time period in which there was a need to make the odal visible. The acts of burying dead relatives on top of the graves of early ancestors, erecting runestones, and possibly also erecting mounds are regarded as ways of guarding, marking, and confirming the possession of the odal in the odal man's own eyes and in his neighbours' and consequently also the odal man's position in society.


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How to Cite

Zachrisson, T. (1994) “The Odal and its Manifestation in the Landscape”, Current Swedish Archaeology, 2(1), pp. 219–238. doi: 10.37718/CSA.1994.14.



Research Articles