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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Saturday, 28 September 2019

A Warming Climate Threatens Archaeological Sites in Greenland

The site of Brattahlid, the eastern settlement Viking colony in southwestern Greenland founded by Erik the Red near the end of the 10th century A.D. 
(Werner Forman / Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

In Norse mythology, there are many myths that once known, are now lost. But the Norse, of course, left behind more than their tales. They also left behind their things and, in places like Anavik, on the western coast of Greenland, their dead.

And long before Vikings came to Greenland, the indigenous Inuit people left behind mummies, as well as hair with intact DNA.

Elsewhere in the Arctic, on an icy island called Spitsbergen, there’s a place called the Corpse Headlands, where there are graves filled with the bodies of 17th and 18th century whalers. When archeologists excavated the site in the 1970s, they found down-filled pillows, mittens, and pants sewn together from pieces of other pants.

The Arctic’s ice helps preserve these snippets of human history. But snippets of organic material rot when it’s hot, and new research is finding that as the world warms, remains like those at Anavik and Corpse Headlands will decompose before archaeologists are ever able to unearth them.

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Monday, 16 September 2019

Church of Scotland sues for share of $2.5 million Viking treasure trove unearthed on church land

Treasures from the Galloway Hoard are displayed at the National Museums of Scotland on 
October 26, 2017 in Edinburgh.

The Church of Scotland is suing a man for a share of a $2.5 million Viking treasure trove he discovered with a metal detector on church land in 2014.

Retired businessman and detectorist Derek McLennan uncovered the 10th-century hoard in a field in the Dumfries and Galloway region of western Scotland.

The treasure trove, known as the Galloway Hoard, is regarded as one of the richest and most significant finds of Viking objects ever found in the United Kingdom. It included rare silver bracelets and brooches, a gold ring, a bird-shaped gold pin and an enameled Christian cross.

"I unearthed the first piece, initially I didn't understand what I had found because I thought it was a silver spoon and then I turned it over and wiped my thumb across it and I saw the Saltire-type of design and knew instantly it was Viking," McLennan told the BBC at the time of the discovery.

Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish culture secretary, noted that the Galloway Hoard "is one of the most important collections ever discovered in Scotland," and "opens a window on a significant period in the history of Scotland," according to National Museums Scotland.

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Treasure hunter sued by Church of Scotland over record £2million haul of Viking relics he found on their land

Derek McLennan is being sued by the Church of ScotlandCredit: PA:Press Association

The metal detector buff now faces a legal challenge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh over cla­ims he hadn’t responded to church pleas for their share of the cash.

One source said last night: “There was an indication he was going to pay the church a finder’s fee. That’s why he is being taken to court.

“The church has been unable to get a hold of him. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything that would preclude him from being in touch, it appears to be a choice.

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Church sues metal detectorist for share of £2m Viking treasure trove unearthed on its land

The Church of Scotland is taking legal action for a share of a Viking hoard 

The Church of Scotland is taking legal action for a share of a Viking hoard worth almost £2 million found on land it owns.

Metal detectorist Derek McLennan uncovered the 10th-century hoard, which includes silver bracelets and brooches, a gold ring, an enamelled Christian cross and a bird-shaped gold pin, in a Dumfries and Galloway field in 2014.

National Museums Scotland raised £1.98 million to acquire the treasure trove of items for the nation.

Rules on discoveries in Scotland mean only the finder receives payment, differing from the rest of the UK, where awards are split with the land owner.

But it was reported at the time the church would share in the proceeds.

Church trustees are now taking legal action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

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Thursday, 22 August 2019

Viking migration left a lasting legacy on Ireland’s population

Big roads and construction projects in Ireland have unearthed a treasure trove of data 
for archeologists.   Shutterupeira/Shutterstock

The early medieval period in Ireland (400-1200AD) was a time of key importance. It was a turning point in European history and the origin of much contemporary Irish culture and identity. Ireland, the early medieval “land of saints and scholars”, had much cultural and economic growth during the 5th and 6th centuries. Elsewhere in Europe there were unstable populations in the wake of the fall of Rome.

Until now it was assumed that this Irish Golden Age was followed by stability and consolidation, and a steadily increasing population, despite disruption caused by Viking raids throughout the 9th century. Irish society at this time was also in a state of flux. The Vikings eventually established a network of towns that stood apart from the rural “native” Irish world.

A new analysis of the archaeological record, however, reaches a set of rather different conclusions. In our study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, we found that the Irish population had actually been in a serious decline for almost two centuries before the Vikings arrived. Our research reveals how ancient migrations of Vikings left a lasting legacy in the modern population.

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Monday, 12 August 2019

Unearthed Viking ‘drinking hall’ offers ‘unparalleled’ opportunity to study Norse history


A Viking "drinking hall" that may have been used by a high-ranking chieftain 800 years ago has been unearthed in Orkney, archaeologists have said.

The site, which is believed to have been a high-status Norse hall from as far back as the 10th century, was discovered at Skaill Farmstead in Westness, Rousay.

Westness is mentioned in the Orkneyinga Saga - a historical narrative of the archipelago - as the home of Sigurd, a powerful 12th century chieftain.

Researchers said the area offers an “unparalleled” opportunity to study eating habits in the region over a millennia. 

The discovery is the culmination of years of work by a team from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) to find the building.

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Thursday, 8 August 2019

Archaeologists find 'Viking drinking hall' during Orkney dig

The site was explored for a number of years before the discovery
Image copyrightPA MEDIA

Archaeologists have found what could be a Viking drinking hall during a dig in Orkney.

The site, at Skaill Farmstead in Westness, Rousay, is believed to date back to the 10th Century and may have been used by the chieftain Sigurd.

Stone walls, benches, pottery and a fragment of a Norse bone comb were found during the excavation.

It is hoped the site could reveal much about diet, farming and fishing from the Norse period to the 19th Century.

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Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Norse Hall Discovered at Skaill, Rousay, Orkney

kaill farmstead looking towards St Marys kirk and Midhowe Broch. Photo: Bobby Friel @Takethehighview

A large Norse hall has been discovered during excavations at Skaill Farmstead, on the island of Rousay, Orkney. The hall probably dates to the 10th to 12th centuries AD and was discovered below a more recent farmstead.

A team of archaeologists from the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, Rousay residents and students have been digging at the site for a number of years, investigating the later stages of the farm complex and its middens (waste heaps), with a particular focus on past diet, farming and fishing practices.

Project co-director Dr Ingrid Mainland said “We have recovered a millenia of middens which will allow us an unparalleled opportunity to look at changing dietary traditions, farming and fishing practices from the Norse period up until the 19th century.”

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Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Were the Vikings Smoking Pot While Exploring Newfoundland?

The L'Anse aux Meadows archaeological site is the only confirmed Viking settlement in Newfoundland.
Credit: Yves Marcoux/First Light/Getty Images Plus

The discovery of cannabis pollen near a Viking settlement in Newfoundland raises the question of whether the Vikings were smoking or eating pot while exploring North America.

The researchers also found evidence the Vikings occupied this outpost for more than a century, way longer than previously believed.

Located in northern Newfoundland, the site of L'Anse aux Meadows was founded by Vikings around A.D. 1000. Until now, archaeologists believed that the site was occupied for only a brief period. The new research, published today (July 15) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that the Vikings lived there possibly into the 12th or even the 13th century.

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Thursday, 18 July 2019

Orkney - an archaeologist's paradise

Make your way all the way to the very top of Scotland, and you’ll find John O’Groats. Keep going and you’ll reach Orkney, a collection of 70 small islands and home to some of the most gorgeous scenery in the British Isles.

The islands also have a rich Scandinavian heritage: settled by the Vikings in the ninth century, Orkney is, says Dr Jane Harrison, Lecturer in Archaeology at OUDCE, ‘an archaeologist’s paradise’. Dr Harrison began working on a dig in the islands in 2004, with Dr David Griffiths, Associate Professor in Archaeology at OUDCE, who directed the Birsay-Skaill Landscape Archaeology Project, and Dr Michael Athanson, an archaeologist and map specialist at the Bodleian. The three have just published a major book about the work, Beside the Ocean: Coastal Landscapes at the Bay of Skaill, Marwick, and Birsay Bay, Orkney: Archaeological Research 2003-18 (Oxbow Books, 2019).

The dig location, at the Bay of Skaill on Orkney’s west coast, is ‘stunning’ says Dr Harrison, though often windy: ‘It can be a bit rough but very beautiful.’ From an archaeologist’s point of view, what makes Orkney so interesting is that ‘a lot of the sites are in rural areas that haven’t been touched by development’. Orkney was one of the first areas to be settled by the Vikings when they moved out of Scandinavia, but until the OUDCE team started work, only a small number of their settlement sites had been scientifically investigated. This meant there was a very rich history waiting to be discovered.

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Monday, 15 July 2019

A Man, a Horse And a Dog Found in Extremely Rare Boat Burial Unearthed in Sweden


Not one, but two incredibly rare boat burials have been excavated in Uppsala, Sweden. One of these was still intact, with remains inside of not just a human, but also a dog and even a horse, all in good condition. According to archaeologists, it is a remarkable find, and indicates the burial of a high-status male.

"This is a unique excavation," said archaeologist Anton Seiler of Swedish archaeology firm The Archaeologists. "The last excavation of this grave type in Old Uppsala was almost 50 years ago."

Ship burials are found all across Europe, particularly in Scandinavian countries, but that doesn't mean they were common. They seemed to have been reserved for the upper echelons of society, those of the very highest status. These elite individuals were interred inside a ship, or a smaller boat, often loaded with rich grave goods.

The addition of horses, dogs, and hunting birds was also not uncommon.

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


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Climate change threatens Greenland's archaeological sites: study

Students and scientists investigate materials found at the Norse site Iffiartarfik
[Credit: Roberto Fortuna, National Museum of Denmark]

In Greenland, climate change isn't just a danger to ecosystems but also a threat to history, as global warming is affecting archaeological remains, according to a study published Thursday.

There are more than 180,000 archaeological sites across the Arctic, some dating back thousands of years, and previously these were protected by the characteristics of the soil.

"Because the degradation rate is directly controlled by the soil temperature and moisture content, rising air temperatures and changes in precipitation during the frost-free season may lead to a loss of organic key elements such as archaeological wood, bone and ancient DNA," the report, published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports, stated.

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Sunday, 7 July 2019

Viking Burial Ships Uncovered in 'Sensational' Archaeological Find


Archaeologists have discovered two Viking burial ships in the Swedish municipality of Uppsala.

A find of this type is rare in the country. In fact, only around ten discoveries of this kind have been made to date in the Scandinavian nation, according to researchers.

"This is a unique excavation, the last burial ship was examined 50 years ago," Anton Seiler, an archeologist who works with several Swedish museums, told The Local.

The two vessels—which Saeiler describes as a "sensational" find—were excavated near the grounds of a vicarage in the village of Gamla Uppsala last fall.

These types of burials, where individuals were placed in full-sized boats, were not available to the common folk. They are thought to have been reserved for individuals with high status.

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


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Viking Grave Discovery In Sweden Leaves Archaeologists Stunned

A member of the Arckeologerna team at the grave site in Sweden.

Arckeologerna, National Historical Museums

Swedish authorities have announced the first viking boat grave discoveries in the country in more than fifty years. Archaeologists taking part in a routine dig in Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala), 46 miles (74km) north of Stockholm, were shocked as they unearthed the viking boat graves that included human remains.

There are only a handful of known burial sites of this kind in the country. While rare in Sweden, discoveries of viking burial sites have become more frequent elsewhere in Scandinavia. Last year, Norwegian archaeologists found remains of longhouses and at least one ship lying just below the topsoil near Halden in the south-east of Norway. Just months later, another ship discovery was made on the shores of the Oslofjord at the Midgard Viking Center in Horten.


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Thursday, 4 July 2019

Viking men were buried with cooking gear


Scientists often imagine that men’s and women’s roles during the Viking Age were clearly differentiated, archaeologist Marianne Moen says. “The illustrations show women making food and holding children, while men were active, in battle,” she says. But maybe this wasn’t the way things were. The illustration is from “Vikinger i vest” (Vikings in the West), published in 2009. 
(Illustration: Peter Duun)

What were gender roles like during Viking times? A Norwegian archaeologist thinks we often misinterpret the past based on our current cultural assumptions.
Marianne Moen says that gender roles during Viking times weren’t nearly as differentiated as we might think.

“I think we need to move away from distinguishing between men’s and women’s roles during the Viking times,” she said. Moen has completed her PhD on Viking Age gender roles at the University of Oslo. Her research shows that upper-class men and women generally were buried with the same types of items — including cooking gear.

Moen went through the contents of 218 Viking graves in Vestfold, a county on the southwest side of Oslo Fjord, and sorted the artefacts she found according to type. Many of the graves were richly equipped with everything from cups and plates to horses and other livestock.

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Monday, 3 June 2019

Long-lost Lewis Chessman found in Edinburgh family's drawer


A medieval chess piece that was missing for almost 200 years had been unknowingly kept in a drawer by an Edinburgh family.

They had no idea that the object was one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen - which could now fetch £1m at auction.

The chessmen were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 but the whereabouts of five pieces have remained a mystery.

The Edinburgh family's grandfather, an antiques dealer, had bought the chess piece for £5 in 1964.

He had no idea of the significance of the 8.8cm piece (3.5in), made from walrus ivory, which he passed down to his family.

They have looked after it for 55 years without realising its importance, before taking it to Sotheby's auction house in London.

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Lewis chessmen piece bought for £5 in 1964 could sell for £1m

The newly discovered medieval Lewis warder chess piece was missing for almost 200 years. Photograph: Tristan Fewings/Sotheby's/PA

A small walrus tusk warrior figure bought for £5 in 1964 – which, for years, was stored in a household drawer – is a missing piece from one of the true wonders of the medieval world, it has been revealed.

The Lewis chessmen were found in 1831 in the Outer Hebrides and became beloved museum collections in London and Edinburgh. They have also become well known in popular culture from Noggin the Nog to Harry Potter.

But of the 93 pieces found, five were known to be missing. Until now. On Monday the auction house Sotheby’s announced it had authenticated a missing piece and would sell it in July with an estimated value of between £600,000 and £1m.

The missing piece, measuring 8.8cm in height, is a Lewis warder and – 55 years ago – was purchased for £5, about £100 in today’s money.

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Monday, 27 May 2019

Sensasjonell runestein funnet i Østfold

Karoline Kjesrud jobber for å identifisere runene på den slitte runesteinen. 
(Foto: Kulturhistorisk museum, Universitetet i Oslo)

Arkeologer har funnet en runestein som stammer fra 400-tallet, i Øverby i Rakkestad.

Det er uvanlig å finne runesteiner, og så gamle runesteiner er oppsiktsvekkende, mener Danmarks ledende ekspert på runer, Lisbeth Imer.

Den eldste danske runesteinen er fra starten av 700-tallet.

– Det er litt av en sensasjon. Vi er grønne av misunnelse her i Danmark, sier Imer, som er seniorforsker ved det danske Nationalmuseet.

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Wednesday, 22 May 2019

A gold serpent pendant from Viking Age Denmark

Photo: Southwest Jutland Museums.

This beautiful serpent pendant was recently discovered near Gørding in Denmark by Jean Stokholm and Doris Birch Mathiesen. Fashioned out of gold and decorated using the filigree technique, it most likely dates from the the 10th century AD.

It was originally suspended via a loop formed out of gold wire that was ornamented with a pair of green glass beads. Serpent pendants such as this one are known from across Viking Age Scandinavia and it has been suggested that they may have been associated with fertility or the god Odin (see Graslund, p. 126). This new find now forms part of the Southwest Jutland Museums.

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Sunday, 19 May 2019

The riddle of Winchester Cathedral's skeletons

A reconstruction of Queen Emma's bones is on display but her skull is not completely intact making it too difficult to create a 3D model of her
Image copyright WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL

For centuries bones believed to be the remains of Anglo-Saxon and early Norman rulers and bishops have been kept in mortuary chests in Winchester Cathedral.

Over the years the skeletal remains have been mixed up and moved around, resulting in some confusion over whose they are.

Fresh research has now dated the contents of the chests and established that the only bones from a mature female are likely to be those of Queen Emma of Normandy.

But that is only the first piece in a puzzle researchers from the University of Bristol are now trying to solve.

They will use DNA extracted from the bones to try to establish the identity of the other 22 people whose remains were in the wooden caskets.

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Friday, 17 May 2019

'Queen's bones' found in Winchester Cathedral royal chests

The six chests have been found to hold the remains of at least 23 individuals
JOHN CROOK / WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL

Bones held in mortuary chests in Winchester Cathedral could include those of an early English queen, researchers have found.

The contents of six chests have been analysed and radiocarbon-dated.

University of Bristol biological anthropologists found they contained the remains of at least 23 individuals - several more than originally thought.

One is believed to be that of Queen Emma who was married to kings of England, Ethelred and Cnut.

Although the chests, originally placed near the high altar, had inscriptions stating who was supposed to be within them, it was known the names bore no relation to the actual contents.

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Thursday, 16 May 2019

Bones unidentified for centuries may belong to one of England’s most historically important queens

Anglo-Saxon bones dating back 1,000 years ( Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral )

Early England’s forgotten monarchs are set for a high-profile comeback – more than 1,000 years after they died.

Scientists are investigating the remains of up to 18 Anglo-Saxon kings and queens to try to determine their identities, potentially including the pivotal figure of Queen Emma. Emma of Normandy was the wife of two kings and the mother of two others, and one of the most significant figures of late Anglo-Saxon England.

The trove is believed to be the largest assemblage of medieval royal skeletal material ever scientifically analysed anywhere in the world.

For hundreds of years, some 1,300 royal and other high status bones have been kept in elaborate wooden caskets in what was, back in Anglo-Saxon times, England’s de facto capital city, Winchester.

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Arctic Vikings Field School- Igaliku, South Greenland


Arctic Vikings Field School- Igaliku, South Greenland
Institute for Field Research
June 22 to July 23 2019
This field school is a four-week adventure in a rugged environment that will provide students with a crash course in Arctic Archaeology. Participants will learn how to identify sites and features through landscape survey, perform “keyhole” excavations, and learn how to document their observations quickly and efficiently. Students will not only learn about archaeological field methods but will also have the chance to interact with the local community and gain insight into emerging issues regarding the impact of global climate change on cultural resources in the Arctic. Due to the ongoing issues surrounding the loss of organic deposits in South Greenland, emphasis will be placed on rapid and efficient intervention techniques in the field. This program is RPA certified (Register of Professional Archaeologists) and will benefit students who plan to pursue cultural resource management work in the future.

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Thursday, 11 April 2019

Archeologists believe Norway find is rare Viking ship burial

This handout picture released on March 25, 2019 by Vestfold Fylkeskommune shows Funnplass, 
where a ship's grave probably originated from the Viking Age has been discovered on a plain among the burial mounds in Borreparken in Vestfold, eastern Norway

Archeologists believe they have found a rare Viking ship burial site in a region of Norway known for its Viking-era treasures, Norwegian officials said Monday.

Using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), experts found a ship-shaped anomaly near other Viking burial mounds in the Borre Park in Vestfold county, southeast of Oslo.

"The GPR data clearly show the shape of a ship, and we can see weak traces of a circular depression around the vessel. This could point to the existence of a mound that was later removed," Terje Gansum, leader of the department for cultural heritage management in Vestfold county, said in a statement.

He said researchers would carry out further investigations to try and assess the size of the preserved find.

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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Norway finds another Viking ship


The fields and forests of Borre in Vestfold run along the west side of the Oslo Fjord, in a county that has produced Norway’s other famed Viking ships. 
PHOTO: Vestfold fylkeskommune


On an open field along the Oslo Fjord, among grave mounds from the Viking Age, archaeologists have found what they believe is another buried Viking ship. The discovery was made with the help of georadar that shows a ship-shaped object.

The ship’s form was actually first spotted nearly two years ago, but many examinations were needed in order to confirm that it’s another Viking ship. Ola Elvestuen, Norway’s government minister in charge of climate and the environment, announced the discovery on Monday along with the local Vestfold County Governor Rune Hogsnes.

“It’s not every day we find a new Viking ship, so this is really exciting,” Hogsnes told reporters at a press conference Monday morning. “For us locals it’s no surprise. A lot of treasures from the Viking times are hidden under the turf in our county.”

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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Home of 7th Century princess unearthed in Coldingham

The dig concentrated on ground around Coldingham Priory in the Borders
DIGVENTURES/AERIAL-CAM

Archaeologists believe they have found remains of the long-lost home of a 7th Century princess in the Borders.

A monastery was founded near the village of Coldingham by Princess Æbbe nearly 1,400 years ago.

It was destroyed by Viking raiders in the 9th Century and previous attempts to pinpoint its location have failed.

However, excavations led by DigVentures have found traces of a large, narrow ditch which they believe was the boundary of the religious settlement.

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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Yes, That Viking Warrior Buried with Weapons Really Was a Woman

An illustration of what the female warrior may have looked like.
Credit: Drawing by Tancredi Valeri; Copyright Antiquity Publications Ltd.

The ancient warrior was given a prestigious Viking burial, complete with deadly Viking weapons, a bag of gaming pieces (possibly to represent military command) and two horses, one bridled for riding. This mighty warrior — long thought to be be a man — made headlines in 2017 when researchers in Sweden announced that the individual was, in fact, a woman.

The intense scrutiny that followed caught the researchers by surprise.

The barrage of questions from the public and other scientists was unrelenting: Were the researchers sure they had analyzed the right bones? Was there more than one body in the burial, of which one was surely a man? And if the warrior's sex was indeed female, is it possible they were a transgender man? [See Images of the Viking Woman Warrior's Burial]

Now, in a new study published online yesterday (Feb. 19) in the journal Antiquity, the researchers of the original study have reaffirmed their conclusion that this mighty individual was a woman. The new study addresses all the questions people raised, and more.

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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Archaeologists Make 'Very Special' Viking Era Discovery in Norway


Gjellestad, Norway: The site of the discovery
ERICH NAU, NIKU


Almost one thousand years after the end of the Viking Age, Norwegian archaeologists have made a sensational find near Halden in the south-east of Norway. The burial mound and adjacent field harbour several longhouses and at least one ship burial.

Digital data visualizations reveal the well-defined 20-meter-long ship-shaped structure, with indications that the lower part is well preserved. Incredibly, the ship lies just below the topsoil, with just 50cm separating it from the fresh air.

The discovery was made quite by accident when a local farmer wanted to dig ditches to solve an ongoing drainage problem in a boggy field. In previous years trenches in the area had turned up items of interest, so archaeologists from Østfold county decided to try a non-intrusive method of analysis before giving the work the go-ahead.

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Vikings Were Fearless. Except When It Was Too Cold

Aerial view of the Greenland ice sheet from a helicopter.
Credit G. Everett Lasher / Northwestern

Greenland was balmy when the Vikings invaded, a new study based on isotopes in flies has proven, and they left as the glaciers bore down

Vikings evoke many associations, none of which involve relaxing on the seaside and smelling flowers on a balmy evening. The Scandinavian warriors are more usually perceived as being roughnecks in horned helmets who laughed off subzero temperatures. And maybe they did, but a new study by Northwestern University, published this week in Geology, has proven the theory that when the Vikings braved the violent northern seas and conquered Greenland from auks in the 10th century, the island’s climate was less merciless and more Mediterranean.

Also, the Vikings suddenly disappeared from Greenland in the middle of the 15th century, just as the warm snap was ending and the glaciers were sweeping down. A combination of factors seems to have crushed the formerly prosperous settlement, but cold seems to have been key. They could either go native and become horn-helmeted Inuits, or leave. They left.

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