Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A Viking treasure

A boat burial on the peninsula of Ardnamurchan, in Scotland, reveals just how noble the Vikings were.

Bad weather can have its comforts. “Bitter is the wind tonight, / It tosses the sea’s white tresses,” wrote an Irish monk more than 1,000 years ago, “I do not fear the fierce warriors of Norway, / Who only travel the quiet seas.”

A warrior of the sort he feared found his last resting place on the peninsula of Ardnamurchan, north of Mull and south of Skye. His newly discovered grave has astonished archaeologists, for it is the first Viking boat burial found on mainland Britain. There he lies with axe, sword and spear. He must have been a leader among Norsemen to gain this noble grave.

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