Saturday, 18 January 2020

2 Viking age swords unearthed in Ciepłe, northern Poland


N.B. There are further images, but no text on this site.

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The real Vikings: the early medieval world behind the hit drama


The exploits of Norse warrior Ragnar Lothbrok and his kin in hit TV drama Vikings has brought fresh interest to the myths and figures of the early medieval world. As the final series continues, Professor Howard Williams explores how the show’s sweeping ambition has tackled historical issues of the Viking era while creating an immersive world – one with more reality than you might think…

From 2013 to the sixth and final series, now airing, History Channel’s Vikings has brought a hit multi-season historical drama about the early Viking world to international audiences. Following the adventures of the legendary figure Ragnar Lothbrok (or Loðbrók) and his sons including Bjorn, Ubba and Ivar, writer Michael Hirst portrays a 9th-century world of seaborne conflict, far-flung connections and family feuding on an unprecedented scale. Despite numerous films over the years, occasional documentaries and an ongoing rival BBC drama series The Last Kingdom, nothing can compare in scale and duration to Vikings in bringing the early medieval world to global television viewers.

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Confirmed: Norway’s Gjellestad Ship Is From The Viking Age


The Gjellestad ship grave was discovered by georadar survey in 2018.
Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

Archaeologists from Norway’s Museum of Cultural History have confirmed that the Gjellestad Viking ship grave discovery in southeast Norway is almost certainly from the early days of the Viking age.

The 2018 discovery by the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) made headlines around the world. Several longhouses and at least one ship burial were discovered by new ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technology. While the site was known to be of importance during the Viking era, the dating of the ship had been an educated guess, until now.

Dating a Viking ship grave

“The investigations happily confirm our hypothesis from 2018, when we found the ship by ground-penetrating radar (GPR),” said Knut Paasche, head of Digital Archaeology at NIKU.

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Saturday, 11 January 2020

Viking Colonies Collapsed Through Over Hunting Walruses


The mysterious disappearance of Greenland's Norse colonies sometime in the 15th century may have been down to the overexploitation of walrus populations for their tusks, according to a study of medieval artifacts from across Europe.

Founded by Erik the Red around 985 AD after his exile from Iceland (or so the Sagas tell us), Norse communities in Greenland thrived for centuries - even gaining a bishop - before vanishing in the 1400s, leaving only ruins.

An Economy Built on Walrus Ivory

Latest research from the universities of Cambridge, Oslo, and Trondheim has found that, for hundreds of years, almost all ivory traded across Europe came from walruses hunted in seas only accessible via Norse settlements in south-western Greenland.

Walrus ivory was a valuable medieval commodity, used to carve luxury items such as ornate crucifixes or pieces for games like chess and Viking favorite hnefatafl. The famous Lewis chessmen are made of walrus tusk.

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Viking runestone linked to fears of climate change: study

Credit: University of Gothenburg

One of the world's most famous runestones is now believed to have been erected by Vikings fearing a repeat of a previous cold climate crisis in Scandinavia, a new study said Wednesday.

The Rok stone, raised in the ninth century near the lake Vattern in south central Sweden, bears the longest runic inscription in the world with more than 700 runes covering its five sides.

It is believed to have been erected as a memorial to a dead son, but the exact meaning of the text has remained elusive, as parts are missing and it contains different writing forms.

The stone refers to the heroic acts of "Theodoric," which some scholars believe refers to Theodoric the Great, a sixth century ruler of the Ostrogoths in what is now Italy.

Researchers at three Swedish universities now suspect the inscriptions are more of an allusion to an impending period of extreme winter, as the person who erected the stone tried to put their child's death into a larger perspective.

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The Vikings erected runestone out of fear of climate catastrophe

Credit: University of Gothenburg

Several passages on the Rok stone – the world’s most famous Viking Age runic monument – suggest that the inscription is about battles and for over a hundred years, researchers have been trying to connect the inscription with heroic deeds in war. Now, thanks to an interdisciplinary research project, a new interpretation of the inscription is being presented. The study shows that the inscription deals with an entirely different kind of battle: the conflict between light and darkness, warmth and cold, life and death.

The Rok runestone, erected in Ostergotland around 800 CE, is the world's most famous runestone from the Viking Age, but has also proven to be one of the most difficult to interpret. This new interpretation is based on a collaboration between researchers from several disciplines and universities.

“The key to unlocking the inscription was the interdisciplinary approach. Without these collaborations between textual analysis, archaeology, history of religions and runology, it would have been impossible to solve the riddles of the Rok runestone,” says Per Holmberg, professor in Swedish at the University of Gothenburg, who led the study.

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Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Burial site ties major Viking swords find to warriors from Rävala

An archeological dig in Tõnismäe. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Last year, Estonia's largest Viking sword fragments find was unearthed on the country's northern coast. Burial artefacts found in the same area this year suggest that the swords were used by local warriors from the ancient county of Rävala.

Archeologist and keeper of the numismatic collection of the Tallinn University Archeological Research Collection Mauri Kiudsoo told BNS that the burial site discovered this year lied just a few dozen meters from last year's find and that both the grave and the sword find date back to the 10th century. "These finds are linked," Kiudsoo said. "The brooch we found confirms the hypothesis that the swords were used by local warriors from the ancient county of Rävala."

Archeologists discovered an in-ground burial site on the north Estonian coast, once the territory of the ancient county of Rävala, earlier this year. While the grave had been plowed over, archeologists came across fragments of spearheads, bridles, scythes and single-edged combat knives. The site also revealed a crossbow-shaped brooch with heads modeled after a poppy capsule that had been disfigured in a fire and a pair of spring scissors.

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Monday, 9 December 2019

Archaeological Study Tour to Orkney


EMAS Study Tour to Orkney
14 – 23 April 2020
There are still a few places left on the EMAS Archaeological Society Study Tour to Orkney.

However, hotel places are very limited, so an early reply is advised.

You can find further details on the EMAS website.

Further details...

Friday, 29 November 2019

It Cleans Up Nicely: Scottish Viking Hoard Reveals New Secrets


Around the time the Irish were stamping out the Viking presence in their country, local lore says the Scots and Vikings also fought a battle near Galloway, Scotland. In 2014, a metal detectorist took that legend, swept the area, and discovered a hoard of more than 100 “strange and wonderful objects” that are at least 1,000 years old. Now those Viking hoard relics have been cleaned up and experts say “the richest collection of rare and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland” is providing new and valuable information.

Extensive Conservation work on the Viking Hoard
Dr. Martin Goldberg, principal curator of archaeology and history at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, told The Scotsman that conservation work has “completely transformed” the appearance of some of the artifacts. It is also providing researchers with “a better understanding now of the international range of hoard.” He says:

“There were always clues about the origins of some of the material and the amazing trajectories that brought them across Europe and Asia to be buried in Galloway. But we are learning more about the specifics about where things have come from and how old various things might be and for how long the hoard may have been accumulated for. We’re sticking to AD 900 for the burial but some objects are looking like they are several centuries older.”

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Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Ancient Viking ship discovered buried next to church using breakthrough georadar technology

The Edøy ship was found next to a church on Edøya island in western Norway 
( Manuel Gabler, NIKU )

A Viking ship believed to be over 1,000 years old has been discovered buried next to a church in Norway. 

Archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) announced they had found the ship, believed to have been used in a traditional ship burial, using “breakthrough” large-scale high-resolution georadar technology.

The remains of the 17m vessel are buried just below the top-soil, at Edøy church on Edøya island in western Norway.

Archaeologists have suggested parts of the structure may have been damaged by ploughing.

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Unusual Viking Grave Includes Nested Boats Buried 100 Years Apart

Artist's illustration of the 8th-century Viking man's burial (Arkikon)

Archaeologists don’t know why the two vessels were buried on top of one another, but the practice may be linked with property rights

Last month, archaeologists excavating the Skeiet Viking farm in Vinjeøra, Norway, unearthed an unexpected burial: namely, a boat containing the remains of a woman nested inside of a second boat occupied by the body of a man laid to rest some 100 years earlier.

As researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) reported in a recent announcement detailing the find, the Viking woman died during the latter half of the 9th century A.D. Her remains were buried in a 23- to 26-foot-long boat filled with grave goods including the head of a cow, two pairs of scissors, weaving tools and a pearl necklace. Two large shell-shaped brooches and a crucifix-shaped brooch made from a decorative Irish harness fitting were pinned on the woman’s dress.

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Rare box-shaped Viking brooch found in Northeastern Estonia

Archaeological site. Photo is illustrative. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

A fully preserved early Viking-era brooch found in Northeastern Estonia this spring is one of two such items that have been discovered in Estonia. It is believed to have belonged to a woman born on the island of Gotland who moved to present-day Estonian territory later on in her life.

The bronze box-shaped brooch was found in the Ida-Viru County village of Varja.
Mauri Kiudsoo, archaeologist and keeper of the archaeological research collection at Tallinn University (TLÜ), told BNS that the brooch found at Varja was cast as a single piece.

The decorative item has been wholly preserved, with only slight damage to the surface, likely as a result of the cultivation of land, Kiudsoo said. The pin, which was apparently made of steel, is also missing.

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Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Viking Ship Over 1,000 Years Old Found in Eastern Norway


Archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) have discovered a historic treasure using technology from Guideline Geo.

A high-resolution georadar has discovered traces of a ship burial and a village that probably date to the Merovingian or Viking Period at Edoy in Møre and Romsdal County in Norway, the NIKU said in a statement. 

n 2018, the same georadar technology was used to find a Viking ship grave at Gjellestad. The remains of the vessel were located just below the topsoil, in an area where there was previously a burial mound. The subsequent dig earlier this year reportedly showed that some of the keels were still intact and in good condition.

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Monday, 25 November 2019

Local historians win national award for Norse dig

Duddon Valley History Group

The Duddon Valley Local History Group has been named community archaeology group of the year by the Council for British Archaeology, under the Marsh Awards scheme

It was given particular praise for the excavation of three potential Norse Longhouses in the Duddon Valley at Seathwaite.

At the same ceremony, the lead archaeologist for the Lake District National Park, Eleanor Kingston, was also given an award - she was judged to be the community archaeologist of the year.

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Sunday, 24 November 2019

Painstaking clean-up of Scottish Viking hoard unlocks new secrets


A painstaking clean-up operation on a haul of Viking-age treasures found buried on church land in Scotland is unlocking new secrets about their origins.

Growing evidence is emerging that the contents of the Galloway Hoard, which was discovered by a metal detectorist five years ago, have been drawn from across Europe and Asia

Tiny traces of linen, silk, wood and leather have been analysed during two years of detective work on the hoard has helped develop theories that some objects are several centuries older than previously thought.

The careful wrapping of more than 100 gold, silver and jewelled treasures is set to shed new light on how long it was accumulated for before being buried in Galloway nearly 1,000 years ago.

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Viking Ship Burial Discovered on Norwegian Island


As technology is advancing, it is allowing us to know more about our past. Researchers in Norway have used it to identify a Viking ship burial on an island. The ship's outline was detected, and researchers have been able to study the buried vessel without even digging into the soil.

The exciting discovery was made after a survey of a historic church on the small Island of Edøy, which is located 70 miles (85 km) west of Trondheim in western Norway. The survey was conducted by a team of local experts and members of the NIKU (Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage). The team used georadar technology to map the area around the historic Church.

High-Tech Archaeology
Georadar uses radar pulses to create images of the area beneath the topsoil. It can help to identify the outlines of larger structures and objects. It is a non-invasive form of investigation and allows archaeologists to make exciting discoveries without excavating . This technology was developed by the LBI ArchPro Institute in Austria and its partners and it has been used successfully around the world.

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Friday, 22 November 2019

Mysterious Viking boat graves unearthed in central Norway

The oldest grave is from the 8th century. But why were they buried together? 
Illustration: Arkikon

Two people died roughly 100 years apart. Nevertheless, they were buried together. In boats.

In the second half of the 9th century, an important woman dies at the farm now known as Skeiet at Vinjeøra, in central Norway. Her dress is fastened at the front with two large shell-shaped brooches of gilded bronze along with a crucifix-shaped brooch, made from an Irish harness fitting. She is then placed in a boat, about seven or eight metres long. Grave goods are also buried along with body, including a pearl necklace, two scissors, a spindle whorl– and a cow head.

So far, there is nothing extraordinary about this burial ritual. It is only when the boat is buried that the Vinjeøra Vikings do something that will intrigue archaeologists more than 1000 years into the future.

Instead of digging a new grave for the woman, a boat grave from the 8th century is carefully excavated. This is a larger boat, probably between nine and ten metres long. It contains the body of a man buried with weapons. The boat with the woman is gently placed inside the man’s boat, and then they are both buried.

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Mysterious Viking boat graves unearthed in central Norway

The oldest grave is from the 8th century. But why were they buried together?
[Credit: Arkikon]

In the second half of the 9th century, an important woman dies at the farm now known as Skeiet at Vinjeora, in central Norway. Her dress is fastened at the front with two large shell-shaped brooches of gilded bronze along with a crucifix-shaped brooch, made from an Irish harness fitting. She is then placed in a boat, about seven or eight metres long. Grave goods are also buried along with body, including a pearl necklace, two scissors, a spindle whorl– and a cow head.

So far, there is nothing extraordinary about this burial ritual. It is only when the boat is buried that the Vinjeora Vikings do something that will intrigue archaeologists more than 1000 years into the future.

Instead of digging a new grave for the woman, a boat grave from the 8th century is carefully excavated. This is a larger boat, probably between nine and ten metres long. It contains the body of a man buried with weapons. The boat with the woman is gently placed inside the man’s boat, and then they are both buried. Who were the two and why were they buried together, even though they died 100 years apart?

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Metal detectorists convicted of trying to sell £3m Viking treasure hoard on black market


A pair of metal detectorists have been convicted of stealing a hoard of Viking coins and jewellery potentially worth £3m – much of which is still missing.

George Powell and Layton Davies covered up their once-in-a-lifetime discovery of a collection dating to King Alfred the Great’s reign 1,100 years ago, and planned to sell it off in small batches.

Prosecutors said the items, many of which were Anglo Saxon but were typical of a Viking burial hoard, were dug up at Eye Court Farm near Leominster, Herefordshire, on 2 June, 2015.

Contained in the hoard was a ninth century gold ring, a dragon’s head bracelet, a silver ingot, a crystal rock pendant dating to the fifth century and up to 300 coins. Only 31 coins have been tracked down.

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Viking treasure thieves who stole hoard worth £12m with metal detectors are jailed



Metal detectorists George Powell and Layton Davies have been jailed at Worcester Crown Court for stealing a Viking treasure hoard, worth up to £12 million.

The pair failed to declare the "invaluable" and "emblematic" collection of buried coins and jewellery, which date back 1,100 years.

Powell, 38, who was described as having the "leading" role, was jailed for 10 years while Davies, 51, a former caretaker, received eight-and-a-half years behind bars.


The items, many of which were Anglo Saxon but are typical of a Viking burial hoard, were dug up on Herefordshire farmland on June 2, 2015.

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Metal detectorists convicted of trying to sell £3m Viking treasure hoard on black market


A pair of metal detectorists have been convicted of stealing a hoard of Viking coins and jewellery potentially worth £3m – much of which is still missing.

George Powell and Layton Davies covered up their once-in-a-lifetime discovery of a collection dating to King Alfred the Great’s reign 1,100 years ago, and planned to sell it off in small batches.

Prosecutors said the items, many of which were Anglo Saxon but were typical of a Viking burial hoard, were dug up at Eye Court Farm near Leominster, Herefordshire, on 2 June, 2015.

Contained in the hoard was a ninth century gold ring, a dragon’s head bracelet, a silver ingot, a crystal rock pendant dating to the fifth century and up to 300 coins. Only 31 coins have been tracked down.

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Thursday, 21 November 2019

Detectorists hid find that rewrites Anglo-Saxon history

 Coins and jewellery from the hoard found by George Powell and Layton Davies. Photograph: .

An expert gasped when he saw coins unearthed by two men now convicted of theft

On a sunny day in June 2015 amateur metal detectorists George Powell and Layton Davies were hunting for treasure in fields at a remote spot in Herefordshire.

The pair had done their research carefully and were focusing on a promising area just north of Leominster, close to high land and a wood with intriguing regal names – Kings Hall Hill and Kings Hall Covert.

But in their wildest dreams they could not have imagined what they were about to find when the alarm on one of their detectors sounded and they began to dig.

Powell and Davies unearthed a hoard hidden more than 1,000 years ago, almost certainly by a Viking warrior who was part of an army that retreated into the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia after being defeated by Alfred the Great in 878.

There was gold jewellery including a chunky ring, an arm bracelet in the shape of a serpent and a small crystal ball held by thin strips of gold that would have been worn as a pendant. Beneath the gold were silver ingots and an estimated 300 silver coins.

The law is clear: such finds should be reported to the local coroner within 14 days and failure to do so risks an unlimited fine and up to three months in prison. Any reward may be split between the finder, land owner and land occupier.

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UK metal detectorists guilty of theft after concealing £3m hoard

A ring, crystal pendant and ingot found in the haul. Photograph:

Two metal detectorists who unearthed an astonishing hoard of gold jewellery, silver ingots and coins buried more than 1,000 years ago by a Viking warrior in Herefordshire face prison after being found guilty of theft.

George Powell and Layton Davies should legally have declared the find, estimated to be worth more than £3m, but instead they began to show it to dealers and tried to sell parts of it off.

Among the jewellery, which dated from the fifth to ninth centuries, was a ring, an arm bracelet and a small crystal ball held by strips of gold that would have been worn as a pendant.

The jewellery and one ingot have been recovered but the vast majority of the 300 Anglo-Saxon coins that police believe were found remain unaccounted for, to the frustration and anger of historians who see the hoard as hugely important.

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Detectorists stole Viking hoard that 'rewrites history'

Most of the estimated 300 coins believed to be in the hoard are still missing
BRITISH MUSEUM

Two metal detectorists stole a £3m Viking hoard that experts say has the potential to "rewrite history".

George Powell and Layton Davies dug up about 300 coins in a field in Eye, near Leominster, Herefordshire, in 2015.

They did not declare the 1,100-year-old find, said to be one of the biggest to date, and instead sold it to dealers.

They were convicted of theft and concealing their find. Coin sellers Simon Wicks and Paul Wells were also convicted on the concealment charge.

The hoard included a 9th Century gold ring, a dragon's head bracelet, a silver ingot and a crystal rock pendant. Just 31 coins - worth between £10,000 and £50,000 - and some pieces of jewellery have been recovered, but the majority is still missing.

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Two metal detectorists convicted of stealing a £3 million Viking hoard of coins and priceless jewellery

A coin which was part of a £3 million Viking hoard CREDIT: PA

Two metal detectorists have been convicted of stealing a £3 million Viking hoard of coins and priceless jewellery - much of which is still missing.

George Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, failed to declare an "invaluable" collection of buried treasure dating back 1,100 years to the reign of King Alfred the Great.

Prosecutors said the items, many of which were Anglo Saxon but are typical of a Viking burial hoard, were dug up on Herefordshire farmland on June 2, 2015.

Among the priceless hoard was a ninth century gold ring, a dragon's head bracelet, a silver ingot, a crystal rock pendant dating to the fifth century and up to 300 coins, some dating to the reign of King Alfred.

Only 31 of the coins have been recovered, although mobile phone photographs - later deleted, but recovered by police - showed the larger hoard, still intact, in a freshly dug hole.

Powell and Davies were also convicted alongside two other men, 60-year-old Paul Wells and Simon Wicks, 57, with conspiring to conceal the find.

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Detectorists stole Viking hoard that 'rewrites history'

Most of the estimated 300 coins believed to be in the hoard are still missing
BRITISH MUSEUM

Two metal detectorists stole a £3m Viking hoard that experts say has the potential to "rewrite history".

George Powell and Layton Davies dug up about 300 coins in a field in Eye, near Leominster, Herefordshire, in 2015.

They did not declare the 1,100-year-old find, said to be one of the biggest to date, and instead sold it to dealers.

They were convicted of theft and concealing their find. Coin sellers Simon Wicks and Paul Wells were also convicted on the concealment charge.

The hoard included a 9th Century gold ring, a dragon's head bracelet, a silver ingot and a crystal rock pendant. Just 31 coins - worth between £10,000 and £50,000 - and some pieces of jewellery have been recovered, but the majority is still missing.

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Four convicted over theft of £3 million Viking treasure trove that could hold key to English history

George Powell and Layton Davies were convicted at Worcester Crown Court of stealing a £3 million hoard of Viking coins and jewellery ( PA )

Four people have been convicted over the theft of £3 million of Viking treasure which could unlock secrets to the early days of a united England.

A trove of 300 coins and rare pieces of jewellery from the 9th century AD were sold to private collectors before historians and museum experts could glean the history from the find.

Probably buried by the retreating Vikings, the cache was dug up 1,100 years later by metal detectorists George Powell, 38, and Layton Davies, 51, on Herefordshire farmland, in 2015.

The pair have now been convicted at Worcester Crown Court of stealing the find, illegally concealing it from the authorities and then selling off coins to private collectors.

A jury also found two other men, 60-year-old Paul Wells and Simon Wicks, 57, guilty of conspiring to conceal the hoard.

Wicks was also found guilty of helping sell off the coins for cash.

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Sunday, 17 November 2019

Mysterious battle which 'saved England from the Vikings' WAS fought near Liverpool


A bloody conflict which saw the Anglo Saxons fend off the Vikings and Celts took place in Wirral, near Liverpool, archaeologists say.

Their claim reiterates past theories about the 937AD battle but there has been ongoing debate about its true location, with 40 possible sites suggested.

Researchers in 2017 were convinced it had happened in South Yorkshire.  

But now after researching medieval manuscripts and carrying out land surveys, experts believe they have found the true battlefield in Wirral, northwest England.

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EMAS Archaeological Study Tour to Orkney



EMAS Archaeological Study Tour to Orkney
14 – 23 April 2020
Guide: David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot
The 2020 EMAS spring study tour will be to Orkney. We will travel by coach from Baker Street, London stopping overnight at Middlesbrough and Inverness and visiting archaeological sites on the way.
We will be based in Kirkwall, and will visit sites on Orkney Mainland and the islands of Egilsay, Rousay and Wyre. The sites that we will visit include Maes Howe, Skara Brae, Midhowe Broch, the Brough of Birsay, Cubbie Roo’s Castle, the Earl’s Palace at Birsay and Kirkwall Cathedral.
The cost of this study tour will be £1036 per person for people sharing a twin room, and £1305 per person for a single room.
Please note that hotel accommodation is limited and applications must be received by  30 November at the latest.
Click here for a complete itinerary

Monday, 11 November 2019

Stave churches in Norway older than thought


Hopperstad Stave Church in Sogn og Fjordane county is dendro-dated to 1131-1132. Previously, the date was estimated at 1125-1250 
[Credit: Jan Michael Stornes]

Recently, researchers have used a different measurement method called photodendrometry. With this technique, the material can be photographed in place. The method has the advantage of not needing to take core samples, and scientists can photograph large amounts of material in a protected building and procure larger amounts of data. This provides more precise knowledge of the estimated construction date, because it allows wood that cannot be core sampled to also be dated.

Through the Stave Church Preservation program headed by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, dendrochronologists at NTNU received money to study the country's stave churches more closely. The program has yielded results.

"We now know the age of some stave churches almost to the year," says Terje Thun. He is an associate professor at the NTNU University Museum in Trondheim. Thun is one of the country's foremost experts in dendrochronology, or tree ring dating.

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Sunday, 3 November 2019

The Viking warrior WOMEN: Scientists reconstruct the face of 1,000-year-old female with a 'battle wound' on her skull who was buried with a hoard of weapons in Norway

Scientists reconstructed the face of the female warrior who lived more than 1,000 years ago by anatomically working from the muscles and layering of the skin

Scientists have re-created the face of a female Viking warrior who lived more than 1,000 years ago. 

The woman is based on a skeleton found in a Viking graveyard in Solør, Norway, and is now preserved in Oslo's Museum of Cultural History.

While the remains had already been identified as female, the burial site had not been considered that of a warrior 'simply because the occupant was a woman', archaelogist Ella Al-Shamahi told The Guardian. 

But now British scientists have brought the female warrior to life using cutting-edge facial recognition technology. 

And scientists found the woman was buried with a hoard of deadly weaponry including arrows, a sword, a spear and an axe. 

Researchers also discovered a dent in her head, which rested on a shield in her grave, that was consistent with a sword wound.  

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Meet Erika the Red: Viking women were warriors too, say scientists

Ella Al-Shamahi comes face to face with the Viking woman’s skull. Photograph: Eloisa Noble/National Geographic

Think of a Viking warrior and you probably imagine a fearsome, muscular, bearded man. Well, think again. Using cutting-edge facial recognition technology, British scientists have brought to life the battle-hardened face of a fighter who lived more than 1,000 years ago. And she’s a woman.

The life-like reconstruction, which challenges long-held assumptions that Viking warrior heroes such as Erik the Red left their women at home, is based on a skeleton found in a Viking graveyard in Solør, Norway, and now preserved in Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History. The remains had already been identified as female, but her burial site had not been considered a warrior grave “simply because the occupant was a woman”, according to archaelogist Ella Al-Shamahi.

As they worked on reconstructing her face for a 21st-century audience, scientists found that not only was the woman buried amid an impressive collection of deadly weaponry, including arrows, a sword, a spear and an axe, she also had suffered a head injury consistent with a sword wound. Her head, resting in her grave on a shield, was found to have a dent in it serious enough to have damaged the bone.

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Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Scanners throw laser light on the 'dark ages' in Orkney

One rune carving is on a stone hidden by grass at the base of a wall in ruins of 
the Bishop's palace

The latest laser scanning technology is being used to investigate ancient inscriptions left on Orkney by the Picts and the Vikings.

Experts from Sweden hope their software will make it possible to recognise the work of individual carvers.

The study may tell us more about the transition between the different groups who occupied sites like the Brough of Birsay over hundreds of years.

The team are hoping for preliminary results by the start of 2020.

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Monday, 21 October 2019

Viking Warrior Women and the Public Archaeology of Death


Talk: Viking Warrior Women and the Public Archaeology of Death

Chester: Saturday 26 October, 10.00–11.00 

Talk synopsis: This talk introduces the ‘public archaeology of death’: the popular culture and politics of archaeological investigations of the dead. Focusing on recent research and public debates regarding ‘Viking warrior women’ to highlight the ethical challenges archaeologists face in digging, displaying and debating death in the digital age.

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Thursday, 17 October 2019

Research reveals secret of who owned the Galloway Hoard

Ecgbeorht rune on silver arm-ring [Credit: National Museums Scotland]

Dr Adrian Maldonado, Glenmorangie Research Fellow at National Museums Scotland, said: "It’s really exciting to be able to reveal the first major research finding from the conservation of the Galloway Hoard, a message left by one of the individuals who deposited the hoard 1100 years ago.

We don’t know any more about Egbert than his name right now but there’s something really tantalising about connecting the Galloway Hoard with a named person. Egbert is a common Anglo-Saxon name, and with more research on the rest of the contents of the hoard, we will be able to narrow down its dating and suggest some candidates from the historical record."

"If the hoard belonged to a person or group of Anglo-Saxon speakers, does it mean they were out raiding with other Vikings? Or that these Viking hoards were not always the product of Scandinavian raiders? There are other explanations, but either way this transforms our thinking on the ‘Viking Age’ in Scotland."

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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Thousand Year Old Arrowhead Found In Hardanger

The arrowhead is about 12cm long. Photo: Hordaland fylkeskommune

This 12cm-long iron arrowhead was found high up in the mountains near Eidfjord, at the end of the Hardangerfjord.

As glaciers melt and the ground changes, historical artefacts are turning up more frequently. The latest find in the mountains of Hardanger paints an interesting picture.

Around one thousand years ago, a reindeer hunter was out hunting 1,400 metres above sea level at Store Ishaug in Eidfjord, just north of what is now Hardangervidda National Park. He had with him a bow and arrow on his hunt for reindeer. But his aim was poor, and he lost an arrow into the snow.

In September 2019, a local out for a walk near his mountain cabin stumbled across the arrowhead, laying on the floor next to a snowflake. “I immediately realized that it was something special, something from before they used rifles,” said Ernst Hagen.

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Thursday, 10 October 2019

Hoards Of Viking Coins Discovered On The Island Of Saaremaa

Some of the silver coins and other finds dating from viking-era Saaremaa. 
Source: Saaremaa museum

Located in the Baltic Sea, Saaremaa is the largest Estonian island. Archaeologists can now investigate two large hoards of silver coin that will offer new light on Vikings’ presence on the island.

The archaeological discovery was made by a licensed hobby detector, who reported the findings to the Heritage Protection Board.
According to EER Estonia, “two separate hoards were found. One of these dating to the second half of the 10th century contained silver coins which came via the Viking trade route which crossed the Baltic from the present-day Swedish island of Gotland to Saaremaa's southern coast, and then on to Lääne County and on to present-day Tallinn.”

Among the coins was also a 1,700-year-old gold bracelet that may be of Viking origin. During the Viking Age in Estonia, the area of Estonia was divided between two distinct cultural areas – Northern and Western Estonia and Southeastern Estonia.

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Another Saaremaa archaeological haul includes viking-era silver coins

Some of the silver coins and other finds dating from viking-era Saaremaa. 
Source: Saaremaa museum

Another archaeological find has been made on the island of Saaremaa, just weeks after a major haul including a 1,700-year-old gold bracelet came to light.

The recent find dates from a later era, the viking period, ERR's online news in Estonian reports, and includes a large number of silver coins, according to both the Heritage Protection Board (Muinsuskaitseamet)  and Saaremaa Museum.

As with the earlier treasure trove, the latest find was the work of a metal detector hobbyist, who, in line with Estonian law, informed the authorities.

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Thursday, 3 October 2019

Man’s name found on the 1100 year-old Galloway Hoard

The Egbert Rune. © National Museum Scotland

Egbert was here! Name discovered and deciphered from a runic inscription on the spectacular Galloway Hoard

Perhaps more than anything else in the hypothesis-filled world of archaeology, burial hoards invite the most conjecture. What does they mean? Who buried them and why?

Archaeologists in Scotland are however a step closer to answering these questions after they discovered a message left by one of the people who may have deposited the Galloway Hoard 1100 years ago.

Described as one of the most significant Viking discoveries ever found in Britain and Ireland, the hoard consists of more than 100 gold and silver objects from the Viking age and was discovered on Church of Scotland land in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway in September 2014.

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Fragments of 100 Viking swords unearthed in north Estonia

Part of the hilt of the sword of the XI-XIII centuries from Läänemaa. Picture is illustrative. 
Source: Department for the Protection of Antiquities

Archaeologists have discovered fragments of about a hundred Viking swords, the largest find of Viking swords in Estonia to date, in northern Estonia.

The fragments were found in two closely located sites in a coastal area of north Estonia, in the territory of the ancient Estonian county of Ravala, late last autumn. 

The finds consisted of dozens of items, mostly fragments of swords and a few spearheads. 

Mauri Kiudsoo, archaeologist and keeper of the archaeological research collection of Tallinn University, told BNS the two sites were located just 80 meters apart. The swords date from the middle of the 10th century and are probably cenotaphs, grave markers dedicated to people buried elsewhere.

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Sunday, 29 September 2019

Viking Age mortuary house found in central Norway

The construction style of the mortuary house is similar to that used for stave churches. 
Credit: Raymond Sauvage, NTNU University Museum

A Viking Age mortuary house was discovered during the excavation of the burial ground of one of the Viking Age farms on Vinjeøra in Hemne in Trøndelag. The house measured five by three meters. It had corner posts, and the walls were made of standing planks, in a building style similar to that used in early stave churches. Archaeologists could see that the building was solidly constructed, even though the only thing that remains is a rectangular ditch with a slight impression from the house and some retaining stones where the walls once stood.

Even though the style of building is typical of the Viking Age, this house was far from ordinary. Archaeologists think it was most likely home to a Viking grave. Hundreds of years of farming in the area have plowed away the grave that was likely found inside the structure.

"We can see that the house once stood in the middle of a burial mound. That's how we know that there probably was a grave inside the house," said Sauvage, who is project manager for the dig.

The burial mound itself is also gone, but the ring ditch that once surrounded the mound has been filled in, rather than plowed away, and is therefore still visible.

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