Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Archaeologists open Viking grave to seek secrets of women buried there

OSLO, Norway: Archeologists opened a Viking burial mound on Monday, seeking to learn more about two women — possibly a queen and a princess — laid to rest there 1,173 years ago.

In 1904, the mound in southeastern Norway's Vestfold County surrendered one of the country's greatest archaeological treasures, the Oseberg Viking longboat, which is now on display at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.

The ship, which measures more than 20 meters, or 65 feet, was buried in 834 in the enormous mound at the Slagen farm as the grave ship for a rich and powerful Viking woman, according to the Viking Ship Museum.

The remains of the two women, one believed to have been in her 60s and the other in her 30s, were first exhumed during the ship excavation. They were reburied in the mound in 1948 — in a modern aluminum casket placed inside a five-ton stone sarcophagus — in hopes that future scientific methods might reveal their secrets.

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