Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Viking queen may be exhumed for clues to killing

OSLO, Norway (Reuters) -- The grave of a mysterious Viking queen may hold the key to a 1,200 year-old case of suspected ritual killing, and scientists are planning to unearth her bones to find out.

She is one of two women whose fate has been a riddle ever since their bones were found in 1904 in a 72 feet longboat buried at Oseberg in south Norway, its oaken form preserved miraculously, with even its menacing, curling prow intact.

No one even knows the name of the queen, but the Oseberg boat stirred one of the archeological sensations of the 20th century two decades before the discovery of the tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings.

Scientists now hope to exhume the women, reburied in the mound in 1947 and largely forgotten, reckoning that modern genetic tests could give clues to resolve whether one was the victim of a ritual sacrifice.

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