'Sensational' Viking boat graves discovered

  09 July 2019    Read: 824

Two Viking boat graves have been uncovered in Sweden in what archaeologists are describing as a “sensational” discovery, AP reports. 

One grave, which was intact, contained the remains of a man, a horse and a dog, according to archaeological service Arkeologerna (The Archaeologists), which announced the finds. A sword, spear, shield and an ornate comb were also uncovered within the grave. The Archaeologists is part of Sweden’s National Historical Museums.

The graves were discovered last fall during the excavation of a vicarage near the historic city of Uppsala and excavated during the last month.

“This is a unique excavation, the last excavation of this grave type in Old Uppsala was almost 50 years ago,” said archaeologist Anton Seiler in a statement, who works for The Archaeologists.

Boat burials were a common tradition in the Iron Age into the Viking Period. Prior to the latest discoveries, however, only around 10 boat burials have been uncovered in Sweden.

“It is a small group of people who were buried in this way. You can suspect that they were distinguished people in the society of the time since burial ships in general are very rare,” said Seiler in the statement.

The archaeologist also noted that boat burials are rarely excavated. “We can now use modern science and methods that will generate new results, hypotheses and answers,” he explained.

Some artifacts from the latest find will go on display at the Gamla Uppsala Museum and at the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm.

In 2017, experts discovered a possible Viking boat grave in Trondheim, Norway.

Viking-era discoveries have thrilled archaeologists across Scandinavia and the Baltic in recent years. An incredible Swedish grave containing the skeleton of a Viking warrior, long thought to be male, was recently confirmed as female. Last year, a Viking “Thor’s hammer” was discovered in Iceland and archaeologists in Norway used ground-penetrating radar technology to reveal an extremely rare Viking longship.

Also in 2018, an 8-year-old girl discovered a 1,500-year-old sword in a Swedish lake and an incredible trove of silver treasure linked to the era of a famous Viking king was discovered on an island in the Baltic Sea. Hundreds of 1,000-year-old silver coins, rings, pearls, and bracelets were found on the German island of Ruegen.

In 2017, an incredibly well-preserved Viking sword was found by a reindeer hunter on a remote mountain in Southern Norway. In 2016, archaeologists in Trondheim, Norway, unearthed the church where Viking King Olaf Haraldsson was first enshrined as a saint.

Separately in 2016, a tiny Viking crucifix was found in Denmark.

The wreck of a 12th-century ‘Viking-style’ ship discovered in a German port is also revealing its secrets thanks to high-tech 3D-scanning technology.

A 900-year-old Viking chess piece that was bought for less than $10 in the 1960s was recently sold at auction for $924,000.

The extremely rare chess piece was bought for 5 U.K. pounds ($6.30) in 1964 by an antique dealer in Edinburgh, Scotland, and then passed down through this family. For years, the Chessman was kept in a drawer at the home of the antiques dealer’s daughter.


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