This article focuses on one of the two big mounds at Haugar in Tønsberg, Norway, and the role they played in the constitution of the Norwegian kingdom. The monument we will discuss is dated to the ninth century AD. We argue that the stratigraphy represents the rituals performed. There are no finds of grave-goods, but the mound contains an enormous layer of charcoal. Our ambiguity towards designating all mounds as ‘graves’ seeks to open a wider range of explanations of the symbolism in these constructions commonly defined as graves. The monuments look like symbolic charcoal kilns, necessary to the smith's iron-making. Are the symbolic charcoal kilns a materialized association of a ritual transformation of the society, embedding death, monument, charcoal and iron? According to Snorri Sturlason, two of the sons of Harald Hårfagre (Finehair), the first king of Norway, were buried in these mounds in the tenth century AD. An examination of the medieval writer Snorri illuminates the political motives and the ideological use of the mounds in the 1230s among the elite in Norway.