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A strange funeral ritual from the Viking Age

A strange funeral ritual from the Viking Age

Archaeologists have found a highly unusual burial ritual in Norway - and they do not really know what their findings mean. So let's start from the beginning.

At the end of the 9th century, a Viking woman died in the town of Vinjeøra, which is located approximately in the middle of the country. She was buried in a fine dress, which on the front of her chest was closed with several large bronze brooches. In addition, jewelery, scissors - and a severed cow head lay around her.

According to the researchers, this suggests that she has not been a anyone-anyone. It writes Norwegian SciTech News.

So far so good. And so far, it's actually a pretty normal funeral, considering the year.

But now it becomes mysterious: the Vikings chose not to bury the woman in a burial mound. Instead, they opened another tomb where a man a hundred years earlier had been buried in a large boat.

The Vikings thus placed the deceased woman in a smaller boat and placed it on top of the large one. To then close the grave again.

The archaeologists at the NTNU Science Museum in Trondheim, who have found the tomb, call it a mystery. For whom were the man and the woman? And why were they buried on top of each other - every hundred years?

Almost all the wood from the boats has rotted away, but the many boat rivets that held the wood together still lay in their original places. And they showed the researchers that there were two different boats on top of each other.

“I had heard of up to several graves with boats before, but I had never heard of a boat being buried in another boat. Hopefully it is possible for us to examine DNA from the skulls so that we can get more information, «says Raymond Sauvage, archaeologist at the NTNU Science Museum.

In addition, archaeologists have already studied one of the woman's brooches, which indicates that she originally came from Ireland.

Woman's Brooches

One of the cross-like brooches that the Viking woman wore when she was buried. Vikings typically used jewelry and the like to signal status in society. (Photo: Raymond Sauvage)

The man in the big boat had been buried with a spear, a shield and a certain type of sword. Through the studies of these, researchers were able to date this tomb back to the 8th century.

Raymond Sauvage points out that it is probably no coincidence that the man and the woman have been buried together. "They have probably been related to each other. The Vikings of that time from Vinjeøra probably knew with great certainty where they had buried people, because the information had been passed down through generations," Raymond Sauvage explains.

In addition to the two boats that were buried on top of each other, and the interesting grave finds, the researchers are also enthusiastic about the location of the grave itself - or the graves. It is located on the edge of one of the largest hills in the area close to the edge of a cliff. As a kind of lookout post over the fjord. "The connection between the two boat graves and the connection between the graves and the location on the mound is extremely interesting," the researcher explains.

The above is selected and summarized by Videnskab.dk. The article is written by "other writers" and published on 21-11-2019.

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