Anundshög in Västerås is Sweden's highest burial mound. In the area around Anundshög and Badelundaåsen there are also no less than five large ship settlements, a rune road, a rune stone with a very special inscription, a labyrinth and several other interesting ancient remains. Welcome to the place where our ancestors held things and buried their dead!
Anundshög and Badelundaåsen are today one of Sweden's foremost archaeological sites with lots of ancient graves. In the Middle Ages, people held things here and the king's Eriksgata also passed by. In other words, this was a very important place!
Anundshög is located on the outskirts of Västerås, about 8 kilometres northeast of the centre of Västerås.
The large burial mound in Anundshög
The largest mound in Anundshög, which also bears the name Anundshög, is 9 metres high and has a diameter of 64-68 metres. The mound is dated to the Younger Iron Age, 500 to 900 AD. The mound itself is built on an even older settlement.
Anundshög was a courthouse and meeting place.
Medieval writings tell us that things were held here, at Anundshög. People met to settle legal disputes, perhaps in the stonework or in a building nearby.
5 shipwrecks in Anundshög
A shipwreck consists of stones placed in the shape of a ship. At Anundshög there are no fewer than five (!) shipwrecks. Nothing else archaeological site in Sweden has so many large shipwrecks.
The set of ships closest to Anundshög is about 53 metres long and 16 metres wide. The adjacent one is 51 metres long and 25 metres wide. The three smaller ship settings are 23, 28 and 35 metres long. The fifth stone setting is awaiting restoration.
Each stone is large, so it is impressive how our ancestors managed to drag them here and place them in these formations! The remains show that the site was the core of a centre of power during the Iron Age, from 500 BC to 1050 AD.
The Tunagraves - with Sweden's richest grave in gold
At Anundshög you can also read about the Tunagraves. Sweden's richest grave was found two kilometres east of Anundshög. Gold artefacts with a total weight of 337.6 grams have been found in a woman's grave from the 3rd century.
In the richest decorated tomb, all the artefacts were from Denmark. But who were the women? What connection did they have to Tunagården? Were they some kind of priestesses? This is not known and can only be fantasised about ...
A special rune stone at Anundshög
At Anundshög there is a special and somewhat strange rune stone. The stone was erected by Folkvid, who was a great man in Badelunda in the 11th century. The image on the stone is unlike anything seen on other rune stones in Sweden. One interpretation is that it is a female figure and a male figure intertwined, but we don't really know. Even here you can let your imagination run wild!
Runestone road for King Eric's Street
Folkvid also paid for a magnificent rune stone road. The road past Anundshög was used when the Svea King rode around on his Eriksgata. At the courthouse, people from all over Västmanland gathered to honour the king.
Jutekärret, Anundsborg and Badelunda dairy.
The area also has some more recent history that you can read about:
- The jute quarry was named, according to tradition, after Danish soldiers were driven into the bog in 1521 by Gustav Vasa's men. 'Jutar' is the name of the people who lived in Jutland during the Iron Age. However, archaeological investigations have not been able to show whether the story is true or not.
- Anundsborg is a yellow-coloured cottage where craftsmen have lived since the 19th century, while parts of the cottage date back to the 17th century. When Ivar the blacksmith became a widower, he employed Ebba the housekeeper, who was enterprising and started a kiosk and café.
- Badelunda dairy was started in 1893. At this time there were 78 dairies in Västmanland. Butter was the second largest export from Sweden at this time, after wood products.
Visitor centre and Anunds café
There is a visitor centre at Anundshög, which was currently closed due to the pandemic. When the centre is open, you can find information and brochures as well as Anund's café with light lunches, sandwiches and pastries.
If you come by car or motorhome, there is a free car park. If you come by horse (!) there is a horse parking.
Labyrinth at Tibble
Not far from Anundshög is Tibble village and the labyrinth at Tibble. Labyrinths are unusual ancient monuments often found in coastal areas, and this is the only prehistoric labyrinth in Västmanland.
It is not known why the labyrinth was built, but one theory is that a girl was placed in the centre. A boy would then follow the path to the centre, without touching the stones, to free her.
If I was freed? History doesn't tell you that ...
More to see and do in Västerås
There is of course much more to see and do in Västerås. The old town is picturesque, and it is also nice to walk along the Mälarpromenade or visit Djäkneberget. In addition, you can visit the Vallby open-air museum, Tidö castle with a bicycle and motorbike museum or the royal castle Strömsholm.
Where can you stay with your campervan?
Where can you stay with your motorhome? One option is to stay in the relatively spacious car park at Anundshög, which we did one night. There are no services here, but you can find a rubbish bin at the visitor centre.
Another option is to drive to Västerås and stay at the car park in the harbour. There are sites with electricity and services such as toilets and latrine emptying.
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Have you visited Anundshög?
Have you visited Anundshög, or perhaps another attraction in Västerås? Please tell us about your experiences!
Facts about Anundshög
- Country: Sweden
- Landscape: Västmanland
- County: Västmanland County
- Municipality: Västerås
- Read more: You can find more information at the site's website
Services and practical information
- Opening hours: The area is open for outdoor visits all year round. For opening hours in the visitor centre and café, see the Anundshög website.
- Toilet: The toilet is located at the visitor centre and is open when the visitor centre is open.
- Café: When Café Anund is open, it serves light lunches, sandwiches and pastries from its own bakery. The café does not accept cash, but both cards and swish.
Tours and activities
- Anundshög's ancient walk: A digital trivia walk. Read on Visit Västerås on how to download it.
- Sound walk on the Badelunda ridge: A walking trail with 20 signs and audio files associated with the signs. The walk takes about an hour and the audio files can be found on the Anundshög website.
- Programme: Various activities are organised, such as the May Day celebrations. See the calendar on the Anundshög website.
- School education activities: Under normal circumstances, educational programmes are available for schools.
- Ladders: The trails in the area are accessible by wheelchair, walker and pram. The paths are not ploughed/sanded.
- Café: The café is fully accessible.
Find to Anundshög
- Car: From the E18 motorway, it is signposted with brown sightseeing signs all the way. Free parking is available.
- Bicycle or horse: You can also get to Anundshög by bike or horse. There is a special "horse car park".