Mysterious Viking ship double burial discovered

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A mysterious Viking ship double burial has been discovered in Norway, puzzling experts.

Last month, archaeologists excavating a site in Vinjeroa, central Norway, discovered the boat grave of a woman who died in the second half of the 9th century. According to Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Archaeologists, however, were surprised to find that instead of digging a new grave for the woman, she and her boat were placed inside a larger boat grave dating from 100 years earlier. The largest boat, which measures between 29.5 feet and 32.8 feet long, contains the remains of a man who was buried with his weapons.


While most of the boats’ wood rotted away, their rivets were still in place, so archaeologists were able to identify the twin boat burial. The man had been buried with a spear, a shield and a sharp sword.

An artist’s illustration of the oldest tomb, which dates to the 8th century AD
(Illustration: Arkikon)

Talk to Norwegian science news, Raymond Sauvage, an archaeologist at the NTNU University Museum in Trondheim, who led the excavations, explained that the sword clearly dates the tomb to the 8th century. “That’s assuming we’re not dealing with a Viking hipster,” he joked.

The burials were made in an area that housed Viking-era farmhouses. While the ground conditions aren’t ideal for preserving the bones, archaeologists have recovered part of the woman’s skull, which will be used for DNA analysis and may give an indication of what she looked like.

Sauvage told Norwegian SciTech News that the man and woman were likely related. “It’s reasonable to think the two were buried together to mark family ownership of the farm, in a society that for the most part didn’t write things down,” he added.


PhD student Aina Heen Pettersen from NTNU’s Department of Historical Studies said Norwegian science news that the crucifix-shaped brooch, which originally formed part of a harness fitting from Ireland, is also significant. “Using artifacts from Viking raids as jewelry signaled a distinct difference between you and the rest of the community, as you were part of the group that went on the voyages,” she said.

The crucifix-shaped brooch, made from an Irish harness fitting, which was in the woman's grave.

The crucifix-shaped brooch, made from an Irish harness fitting, which was in the woman’s grave.
(Photo: Raymond Sauvage, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet)

Finds from the Viking Age have thrilled archaeologists across the Nordics, Baltics and Scotland in recent years. A Swedish grave containing the skeleton of a Viking warrior, long believed to be male, has recently been confirmed to be female.

Last year, a Viking “Thor’s hammer” was discovered in Iceland and Norwegian archaeologists have 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 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, beads and bracelets have been found on the German island of Rügen.

Parts of the woman's skull were recovered from the upper boat grave.

Parts of the woman’s skull were recovered from the upper boat grave.
(Photo: Astrid Lorentzen, NTNU University Museum)

Two Viking ship graves were recently unearthed in Sweden in what archaeologists have described as a “sensational” find.

In 2017, an incredibly well-preserved Viking sword was discovered 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 consecrated as a saint.


Separately in 2016, a tiny Viking crucifix was discovered in Denmark. A 12th-century ‘Viking-style’ shipwreck discovered in a German port is also revealing its secrets thanks to cutting-edge 3D scanning technology.

The excavation site in central Norway.

The excavation site in central Norway.
(Photo: Raymond Sauvage, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet)

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

The extremely rare chess piece was purchased for £5 ($6.30) in 1964 by an antique dealer in Edinburgh, Scotland and then passed down to this family. For years, the chess set was kept in a drawer at the antique dealer’s daughter.

Experts are also unlocking the secrets of a mysterious Viking treasure discovered in Scotland. The ‘Galloway Hoard’ was found by a man using a metal detector in 2014. It was acquired by the National Museums Scotland in 2017, which describes the hoard as ‘the richest collection of rare and unique objects in the world. viking era never found in Britain or Ireland.”


Bradford Betz of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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