Finnish Prehistory »» Käräjämäki-Osmanmäki, Eura »» Visited: 09-2006 »» Compiled/Revised: 04-2008

+ Location on a map / Sijainti kartalla

1. The Chieftain's Grave

The so-called Chieftain's Grave slightly to the north from Käräjämäki hill is probably the most interesting individual burial out of the great amount of prehistoric tombs locatable on the area. The uncremated body of a warrior-king or a chieftain was laid down into a chamber 3m long and 120cm wide constructed from strong wood, and upon its lid was cast a mound of stones. For the adventures in the worlds beyond, he had been equipped with a large shield, sword about 90cm long, langseax1, and a spear. The clothing had rotted away, save a belt buckle and some of its iron fittings. In his finger the warrior had borne a spiral ring. The most curious piece within the grave was undoubtedly the yellow quartzite whetstone set beneath his head. It bore no signs of wear whatsoever, so it must have been a symbolic object. Oddly enough, equivalents to the whetstone have not been excavated in Finland (or none have been discovered yet or frequent graverobbers have plundered similar items), but positively so for instance in the mounds of Uppsala, Sweden, where some of the legendary kings of the Swedes have allegedly been buried. Analogous objects have also been encountered in the British Isles, out of which probably the most eminent is the scepter of Sutton Hoo2. Anyhow, the unused and carefully shaped whetstone was a sign of power rather than an everyday utensil, and on its behalf marks the warrior likely as a king. The grave has been dated back to the late 6th century AD, the Merovingian era and times of Beowulf.

Below: a sketch of the tomb and an example object. Pictures from the local guideboard, (c) Museovirasto.

eurachieftain1 (49K)

eurachieftain2 (26K)

Right beside the warrior was buried a much inferiorly furnished man. Yet his tomb was constructed in a similar fashion, which might mark him as a squire or a relevant servant to the nobler in rank.

When it comes to Uppsala, old legends tell that it was formerly the worshipping place3 of Finnish gods before Odin, Thor and Freyr. The Chronicle of Finland for instance states that the Finnish king Rostiofi preceded Odin, and his glories were later transferred to the new deities. The mystery of the whetstone scepter would on the other hand give some archeological proof that religious or other ties between Uppsala and Finnic areas existed during the Merovingian era, besides connections to the Germanic Europe. Rostiofi, who bears similarities to Väinämöinen as a pseudo-historical character, might have had its origins in the late Bronze or early Iron Age, and is only a footnote to this topic.

References and further reading/ Lähteet ja lisälukemistoa:

2Sutton Hoo
3Temple at Uppsala
Pirkko-Liisa Lehtosalo-Hilander, Euran esihistoria, kalastajista kauppanaisiin, Euran kunta, 2000.
A local guideboard set up by Museovirasto

Click thumbnails to see full images.

Klikkaa pikkukuvia nähdäksesi täysikokoiset valokuvat.

karajamaki1_tb (5K) karajamaki2_tb (5K)