The Burial Mound of Bjorn Ironside, which is called Björnshögen or Björn Järnsida’s hög in Swedish, is a royal burial mound located on Munsön island in Lake Mälaren and in Ekerö Municipality, Sweden. The mound is 20 meters in diameter and five meters tall. The mound is part of a burial field that consists of 150 ancient remains: five burial mounds, a runestone and about 145 round stone settings. The burial ground is dated to the Vendel period, which was about 550-800 CE.
The burial mound of Bjorn Ironside and the surrounding area is believed to have belonged to the royal manor Husby. According to legend, Bjorn Ironside (Swedish: Björn Järnsida) is buried in the mound which is also called “King Björn’s mound” or “Björn Järnsida’s mound”. Bjorn Ironside is a central figure in many tales of Viking conquests and adventures. While the historical accuracy of these stories is debated, Bjorn Ironside remains an important figure in Norse mythology and remains a favorite subject of many legends and tales.
The runestone which is located on top of the burial mound of Bjorn Ironside, is only a fragment of a runestone and thus also has a fragmented text. The stone probably dates back to the end of the 1000s and is thus several hundred years younger than the burial mound.
According to sagas, after Bjorn died, he was buried in a large mound near the shore of Lake Malaren, in what is now Sweden. The mound was said to be so large that it could be seen from the other side of the lake, and it was filled with treasure and other riches that Bjorn had acquired during his lifetime.
Over the centuries, the burial mound of Bjorn Ironside became a place of pilgrimage for Viking warriors and chieftains, who would come to pay their respects and to seek the favor of the legendary warrior. It was said that the spirits of the dead would gather around the mound at night, and that the sound of their feasting and revelry could be heard for miles around.
The legend that this particular burial mound is the place where Bjorn Ironside is buried probably first saw the light in the 18th century when some historians claimed that this was the site of Bjorn Ironside’s grave. However, there is little evidence to back this up. Archaeological excavations of the site have revealed that the mound was indeed a burial site, and that it likely dates back to the Viking Age. While it is impossible to say for certain whether the burial was that of Bjorn Ironside himself, the presence of valuable grave goods and the location of the mound near the shore of Lake Malaren suggest that it was the final resting place of a wealthy and powerful individual.
Bjorn Ironside (Járnsíða) was the son of legendary Viking Ragnar Lothbrok. Bjorn earned possibly as much fame, and perhaps he achieved even more fame as he founded a dynasty of Swedish Kings.
One of the numerous stories related to Bjorn was of a time when he and his men attempted to take the city of Luna, near Pisa in Italy. Having mistaken Pisa for Rome, he and his men did not fail to take advantage of the situation by taking the area anyway. After Pisa, he and his men went further inland to the city of Luna. Luna having high and nearly impenetrable walls, Bjorn came up with the genius plan to fake his death as well as faking his desire for a deathbed conversion and “baptism”. He knew that the leaders of Luna would see the “soul” of such high-value Heathen warlord as a prize. The city officials allowed his coffin to be brought within the city to be given a proper “Christian” burial. Four of his men were allowed to carry his coffin inside the city. Once inside, Bjorn burst free of his coffin, threw the weapons he concealed to his men, the five of them fought their way to the gates and opened them for the rest of his men to come through.
The highlighted picture is of the burial mound of Bjorn Ironside. The burial mound was done in the traditional fashion. Sitting atop the mound was a runestone. A drawing of the only remaining fragment is attached.
The Burial Mound of Bjorn Ironside is freely accessible and lies just off the Björn Järnsidas väg.