Gudme was occupied from around 250 to 650 AD. It consisted of a magnate's residence surrounded by a sort of dispersed town of fifty smaller farms, likely home to around 500 people in all. The name, which goes back to Medieval times, seems to mean "home of the gods." In the 1990s archaeologists uncovered the grand hall that was at the center of the site, 47 m long and 10 m wide (155 x 33 feet). Look closely at this image and you can see that the post molds (the dark stains left by the decayed posts) are bigger around than the person standing next to them; the roof of this hall was held up by large trees. The posts were not evenly spaced but arranged so as to create a single large room in the center, no doubt where the lord lounged on his High Seat to receive his followers and hear bards extol the deeds of his ancestors. Nearby was another exceptional building, smaller but equally well built, that was probably a temple. Those were the only two buildings in the center of the site; all the barns, sheds, and so on were relegated to the surrounding farms.
The site is very impressive, and the argument that was the home of a king or jarl on the medieval model is strong. It seems notable that the site had such strong connections to Rome. Roman influence certainly played a part in the rise of Scandinavian kings, although how direct and important that influence was are disputed. Some think the Romans pretty much created these kings by singling out certain chieftains for favor and gifts, while others think that certain local lords enhanced their status by cornering a big part of the trade in luxury goods with the south.
Uppåkra in southern Sweden is a much older site, going back to the Bronze Age. Around 450 AD it also became the seat of a king or jarl. A mighty hall was built, more than 40 meters (130 feet) long, and it was surrounded by dozens of other structures.