Offerplats Finnestorp, Västergötland, Sweden, 5th century, AD

 In the bogs of Finnestorp in Västergötland, Sweden, offerings of weapons and other military equipment took place there following victorious battles on a few occasions over the centuries.  Since the year 2000, a large project with multiple excavations, research and publications, has focused on the offerings of military equipment at Finnestorp, Västergötland, in south-western Sweden (Nordqvist 2017). The offering site is situated on the border between the parishes of Larv and Trävattna. The site is located in a central part of the province in an extensive wooded wetland, forming a natural border between two rich agrarian plains, the Skara Plain to the west and Falbygden to the east. The Finnestorp site is characterised by an abundance of Migration Period finds.

At the site in 2004, a late 5th century buckle, made of gilded silver, was discovered among the war-booty deposited there.
On the faceplate at the end of  the prong is depicted the head of a man, mouth open, apparently poised to drink.  Each time the prong is lifted, the man's mouth touchs the “water” in the basin below.  Bengt Nordqvist, the chief archaeologist on the dig, has convincingly interpreted the scene as Odin drinking from Mimir's well, as he hung by his feet from the Ash Yggdrassil's, (Hávamál 138-141, C. Larrington tr.), as demonstrated in a series of articles on Odin by Jere Fleck in the 1970s.
  Veit ek, at ek hekk
vindga meiði á
nætr allar níu,
geiri undaðr
 ok gefinn Óðni,
sjalfr sjalfum mér,
á þeim meiði,
er manngi veit
hvers af rótum renn.  
138.  I know that I hung
on a windswept tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear,
dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which
no man knows
from where its roots run  
  Við hleifi mik sældu
né við hornigi;
nýsta ek niðr,
nam ek upp rúnar,
æpandi nam,
 fell ek aftr þaðan.     
139. With no bread did they refresh me
 nor a drink from a horn,
downwards I peered;
I took up the runes,
screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there.
  Fimbulljóð níu
nam ek af inum frægja syni
Bölþorns, Bestlu föður,
ok ek drykk of gat
ins dýra mjaðar,
ausinn Óðreri.  
140. Nine mighty spells
I learnt from [Mimir], the famous son of
Bolthor, Bestla's father,*
and I got a drink of
the precious mead,
I, soaked from Odrerir.
*Bestla: Odin's mother; Bestla's father, Bolthor: Odin's maternal grandfather, Ymir-Aurgelmir;  his son, Mimir (cp. Vafþrúðnismál 32), is therefore Odin's mother's brother, a particularly close relationship in Germanic society (Tacitus, Germania ch. 20).
  Þá nam ek frævask
 ok fróðr vera
ok vaxa ok vel hafask,
orð mér af orði
orðs leitaði,
verk mér af verki
verks leitaði. 
141. Then I began to quicken
and be wise,
and to grow and to prosper;
one word from another word
 found a word for me,
one deed from another deed
 found a deed for me.
The face bears a moustache and tattoos, forming a line from the eye, and three circles at each cheek consisting of two concentric circles each.  The right eye may be blind.  Around the well we find small triangles with a circle at the top. We also find these circles in the “water” of the well. This ornamentational stamp is also found on horse tack and other items recovered from the bogs at Finnestorp.

Decorative mounts, clasps and pendants are some of the different forms of finds. Other categories include sword pommels, scabbards and beads, saddle and strap mounts, as well as parts of bridles. There are large quantities of unburnt horse bones. Most of the offering sites are located on elevations in the wetland, which may have been small islands when the offerings took place. Although single finds are found in low lying land, they are few and sparsely spread over the area. Remains of firepits are found on three of the four islands in the wetland. All placed near the water's edge, these firepits are small, irregular, shallow and diffuse.
The sacrificial site at Finnestorp is closely akin to similar deposits made in lakes or bogs (“bog finds”), known from Denmark, southern Sweden and Schleswig. Corresponding finds of a similar character are known in the Baltic States and in Poland. Often described as war booty, in reality, they mainly contain military equipment. The majority of the offerings consist of equipment carried by warriors and their war-horses. Several mounts are punch-decorated in high-quality Sösdala style.  About half of the objects recovered at Finnestorp are horse tack. Among the many bones are primarily those of horses, but humans, pigs and sheep are also represented.  At Finnestorp, objects have been found made of gold, silver, bronze, iron and wood. Wooden artefacts include poles cut with an axe.

According to Bengt Nordqvist,  the find material is roughly subdivided into three categories.

1) Personal equipment: finger-ring in gold, clasps, belt mounts (buckles, strap ends), belt bag (mini-buckle and pendant), etc. In all over 100 objects belong to this category.

2) Weapons: sword (blade, pommel, hilt), sword scabbard (chape and mouthpiece), mounts of sword belt, lance and spear heads, arrow heads and possibly a throwing axe. A total of just under 200 objects belong to this category.

3) Horse tack: mounts of saddles and bridles. Decorative mounts, strap junctions and strap ends come from headstalls. Mounts including rein chains are from the snaffle. Saddle remains are mounts and rings with staples. Probably all of the pelta-shaped pendants belong to saddles. In all nearly 300 objects belong to this category.

Most finds were deposited between the late 2nd century and the end of the 5th century. Currently, these sacrifices of military gear are interpreted as votive offerings made in sacred lakes or bogs after a victorious battle, (Worsaae 1865:65ff.).  This is a setting that followers of Odin would have known well. 

 Information compiled from published research by Bengt Nordqvist &  Troels Brandt