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The profaned sanctuary: Swedish archaeology and the Nordische Gedanke
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

According to the early written sources, Viking Age Uppsala - located at Gamla Uppsala, five kilometres north of the modern city of Uppsala - was the judicial, economic, political and religious centre of the Svear kingdom. Extensively settled during the second century AD, Gamla Uppsala soon became embedded in pre-Christian mythology as the site from which the kings traced their ultimate ancestry and where Sweden, in the political sense, was founded. Although the written sources and archaeological facts clearly indicates a place where the Swedes had a direct and decisive influence on various matters of state - war and peace, the election and dismissal of the rulers - Gamla Uppsala oddly enough attracted those who wanted to deny Swedes these rights. This became quite obvious during the 1930s, when antidemocratic conservatives and right-wing extremist began using Gamla Uppsala as backdrop for their increasingly aggressive outdoor meetings. Several mid- and high-ranking German NSDAP-officials visited Gamla Uppsala, but unlike the Swedish right-wing extremists, the Germans soon realized the enormous difficulty of integrating Old Uppsala in the fascist idea of antiquity. Everything here would contradict the “Führerprinzip”. And when it came to the supposedly ancient Germanic legal traditions, both rudder and sail on the “unsinkable Nordic ship”, the German National socialists soon ran to the lifeboats – after all, Þorgnýr the Lawspeaker from Gamla Uppsala did not have anything in common with Roland Freisler.

This paper aims to follow the threads of discussion among Swedish and German archaeologists and historians during the 1930’s and 40’s, to place ideas pertaining to the site in their historical and intellectual context and to shed some light on how Swedish archaeologists dealt with the Nazi infiltration of Swedish archaeology 1933-1945.

Keyword [en]
Nationalism, fascism, National socialism, Old Uppsala
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-121465OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-121465DiVA: diva2:305434
Available from: 2010-03-23 Created: 2010-03-23

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Alkarp, Magnus
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