Sunday, 22 December 2013

Vikings Online Course


Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers 

22 January to 5 April 2014


Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers is an online archaeology course run by the University of Oxford's Department of Continuing Education.
The course runs for ten weeks and successful completion carries an award of ten CATS points. Students write two short assignments as part of the course.
Online forums for each unit enable students to discuss the topic being studied, and help from the online tutor is always available
You can find more details here...
You can find details of other online archaeology courses here...

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Double graves with headless slaves


In the Viking era, a number of slaves were beheaded and then buried together with their masters. New methods of skeleton analysis reveal more about the life of the poor more than a thousand years ago.

In 1975, three intact skeletons from the Iron Age were found on the Tommeide farm in Tomma. Naumann interprets this as a family grave. - Despite possible kinship between them, probably as members of the same household, the child nevertheless had a diet that was different from that of the two adults during the last years of their lives. (Photo: Anne Stalsberg, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet)

How was life for common people in Norway during the period 400–1050 AD? Can we learn more? Yes, according to Elise Naumann, research scholar in archaeology. By using isotope analysis to examine ancient skeletons, she has made several remarkable discoveries. The research results from the analysis of skeletons found at Flakstad in Lofoten have also been reported in the American newspaper USA Today.

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Isotope analysis reveals diet of beheaded Viking slaves


In the Viking era, a number of slaves were beheaded and then buried together with their masters. New methods of skeleton analysis reveal more about the life of the poor more than a thousand years ago.

Isotope analysis reveals diet of beheaded Viking slaves
In 1975, three intact skeletons from the Iron Age were found on the Tommeide farm in Tomma. Naumann interprets this as a family grave. - Despite possible kinship between them, probably as members of the same household, the child nevertheless had a diet that was different from that of the two adults during the last years of their lives [Credit: Anne Stalsberg, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet]
How was life for common people in Norway during the period 400–1050 AD? Can we learn more? Yes, according to Elise Naumann, research scholar in archaeology. By using isotope analysis to examine ancient skeletons, she has made several remarkable discoveries. The research results from the analysis of skeletons found at Flakstad in Lofoten have also been reported in the American newspaper USA Today.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Building is underway at The new Wessex Gallery of Archaeology, The Salisbury Museum

Anglo-Saxon satchel mount c.700 AD. Gold and Silver foils with repoussé decoration. 
Found with the burial of an Anglo-Saxon ‘princess’ at Swallowcliffe, Salisbury.
Amesbury Archer Gold Hair Tresses - 2,300 BC. The oldest gold objects found in Britain, 
Copyright Ken Geiger/National Geographic.
Polished macehead made from gneiss found with a cremation burial at Stonehenge,  3,000 – 2,500 BC.

Building is underway at The new Wessex Gallery of Archaeology, 
The Salisbury Museum

Building has begun on the new Wessex Gallery at the Salisbury Museum, which will make it clear for the first time exactly why Salisbury and it’s nearby World Heritage Sites hold a unique place in British history.

The new gallery will be of international importance, telling the story of Salisbury and the surrounding area from prehistoric times to the Norman Conquest. Realm Projects, the Nottinghamshire based builders who worked on the Hepworth Wakefield and The Jewish Museum, have been contracted to complete the works.

“By Christmas this year the major construction work will be complete,” said museum director Adrian Green with a gleam in his eye. “In roughly seven months, the new Wessex Gallery will be ready.”

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Sunday, 1 December 2013

Treasure trove reveals Iron Age town


Västra Vång in Blekinge is now a sleepy rural community on Sweden’s southern Baltic coast. It has never been mentioned in ancient or medieval writings. So why are gold figurines and bronze busts turning up there?

Perhaps the locals should have had suspected there was a wealth of history in the soil beneath them. Several discoveries in the past and more recently show that long ago, this spot was out of the ordinary. 
Burial mounds from the Viking Age abound here. In the 1860s residents dug up a six kg Viking treasure consisting of jewellery and over 4,000 silver coins. But archaeologists are now making discoveries that suggest this place was a significant, but unmapped centre.
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Monday, 18 November 2013

VIKING RUNESTONE FOUND ON MEDIEVAL SCHOLAR’S FARMLAND

The runestone found at Naversdale, Orphir. (Picture:www.theorcadianphotos.co.uk)

In what has been described as an “amazing coincidence”, a viking runestone with a religious inscription has been discovered on a farm owned by archaeologist Dr Sarah Jane Gibbon, an expert on Norse church history.
Found by Dr Gibbon’s father, Donnie Grieve, a retired teacher from Harray, the runes on the broken stone are a 19-character Latin passage of part the Lord’s Prayer — “who art in heaven hallowed”.
Measuring approximately 8cm by 24cm, it was discovered by Mr Grieve at Naversdale farm in Orphir while he was gathering building stone from a field on September 26.
He said: “I recognised it right away as being runes. It’s very recognisable and very clear.
“It’s unusual, because it’s a Latin inscription — part of the Lord’s Prayer. I don’t think there’s any record of any inscription like that in Orkney or Shetland, so it’s unusual.
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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Thousand-year old swordsman rises from the earth


Archaeology hobbyists were stunned when they unearthed a remarkable historical find from a field in Janakkala, southern Finland. The ancient grave site appeared to be that of an early crusader buried with two swords from different eras.

The well-preserved grave contained an uncharacteristically large 12th-century sword as well as what appeared to be a Viking-age blade that may have been part of a cremation ceremony.
The amateur historians were using a metal detector in a field in Hyvikkälä, Janakkala, which had showed signs of pre-historic settlement. After uncovering a few minor objects, the metal detector picked up a spear tip and an axe blade. After some digging, the group discovered a broken sword. At this point, the hobbyists broke off their work to alert the National Board of Antiquities (NBA).
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Thursday, 7 November 2013

UNRAVELLING THE SOCIAL HIERARCHY WITHIN VIKING SOCIETY


Six Late Iron Age (AD 550–1030) graves were discovered in the northern Norwegian island of Flakstad and partially excavated in the period 1980–1983. There were ten individuals making up three single burials, two double and one triple and unusually for this region the bones were in a good state of preservation.
Although much of the contextual information had been lost due to farming activity, the double and triple burials contained one intact individual in each, along with the post-cranial bones of the other occupants. This situation has been interpreted as decapitated slaves buried with his/her master and the theory is supported by a number of double burials found within Norse societies indicating this practice.
Elise Naumann from the University of Oslo led a study to investigate stable isotope and ancient mitochondrial DNA fragments in order to better understand the social status, geographical and/or familial links within the Flakstad group.
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Monday, 4 November 2013

Viking Graves Yield Grisly Find: Sacrificed Slaves


Viking graves in Norway contain a grisly tribute: slaves who were beheaded and buried along with their masters, new research suggests.

In Flakstad, Norway, remains from 10 ancient people were buried in multiple graves, with two to three bodies in some graves and some bodies decapitated. Now, an analysis reveals the beheaded victims ate a very different diet from the people with whom they were buried.

"We propose that the people buried in double and triple burials might have come from very different strata of society, and that slaves could have been offered as grave gifts in these burials," study co-author Elise Naumann, an archaeologist at the University of Oslo in Norway, wrote in an email.

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PERSIAN SILK IN VIKING BURIALS

Detail of the silk textiles from the Persian region that were found in the Oseberg ship. 
Photo: KHM-UiO

The silk trade was far more comprehensive than we have hitherto assumed and recent research may change our perceptions of the history of the Norwegian Vikings.

After four years of in-depth investigation of the silk trade of the Viking Age, Marianne Vedeler, Associate Professor at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo has found that the Norwegian Vikings maintained trade connections with Persia and the Byzantine Empire through a network of traders from a variety of places and cultures who brought the silk to the Nordic countries.

One hundred small silk fragments

In the Oseberg ship, which was excavated nearly a hundred years ago, more than one hundred small silk fragments were found. This is the oldest find of Viking Age silk in Norway. At the time when the Oseberg silk was discovered, nobody conceived that it could have been imported from Persia. It was generally believed that most of it had been looted from churches and monasteries in England and Ireland.
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Norwegian Vikings purchased silk from Persia


The Vikings did not only go West to pillage and plunder. Most of the silk found in the Oseberg ship may have been purchased by honest means from Persia.

Norwegian Vikings purchased silk from Persia
Silk textiles from the Persian region were found in the Oseberg ship. Among the motifs, we can see parts of special birds associated with Persian mythology, combined with clover-leaf axes, a Zoroastrian symbol taken from the Zodiac. The textiles have been cut into thin strips and used for adornment on clothing. Similar strips have also been found in other Viking Age burial sites [Credit: KHM- UiO]
The Norwegian Vikings were more oriented towards the East than we have previously assumed, says Marianne Vedeler, Associate Professor at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo in Norway. After four years of in-depth investigation of the silk trade of the Viking Age, she may change our perceptions of the history of the Norwegian Vikings. The silk trade was far more comprehensive than we have hitherto assumed.

The Norwegian Vikings maintained trade connections with Persia and the Byzantine Empire. A network of traders from a variety of places and cultures brought the silk to the Nordic countries. Her details are presented in the book “Silk for the Vikings”, to be published by Oxbow publishers this winter, but in this article you can glimpse some of her key findings.


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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Pre-Viking Age Monuments Unearthed Near Burial Ground In Sweden


Archaeologists in Sweden said Thursday they have unearthed the remains of unusually large wooden monuments near a pre-Viking Age burial ground.
As archaeologists dug in preparation for a new railway line, they found traces of two rows of wooden pillars in Old Uppsala, an ancient pagan religious center. One stretched about 1,000 yards (1 kilometer) and the other was half as long.
Archaeologist Lena Beronius-Jorpeland said the colonnades were likely from the 5th century but their purpose is unclear. She called it Sweden's largest Iron Age construction and said the geometrical structure is unique.
"It is a completely straight line and they have dug postholes every 20 feet (6 meters)," she said. "They have had an idea of exactly where this line is going and where to build it. It is a fairly modern way of thinking and we don't have many traces of these sorts of constructions from that time."
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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Uppsala unearths pagan road of old kings


Archaeologists digging in old Uppsala have discovered what appears to be a remarkable display of power of a fifth century Swedish chieftain. Massive posts marked the ancient road in perfect alignment for more than a kilometre. 

"It's exciting because we’ve never seen anything like it in these parts before," Robin Lucas, archaeologist at Uppland Museum, told The Local.

The archaeologists, who were excavating the area in preparation for a new railroad line, discovered 144 post-holes two metres wide and a metre deep in a perfectly straight line spanning a kilometre in Old Uppsala. The post holes are placed precisely six metres from each other.

"It appears to be a processional road leading to Old Uppsala, which was the seat of the early Swedish kings," Lucas said. 


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Pre-Viking Age monuments uncovered in Sweden


Archaeologists in Sweden said Thursday they have unearthed the remains of unusually large wooden monuments near a pre-Viking Age burial ground.

Pre-Viking Age monuments uncovered in Sweden
Archaeologists in Sweden have uncovered this 1km-long row of wooden poles which is
believed to be from the 5th Century, but their purpose is unclear [Credit: flygfoto]
As archaeologists dug in preparation for a new railway line, they found traces of two rows of wooden pillars in Old Uppsala, an ancient pagan religious center. One stretched about 1,000 yards (1 kilometer) and the other was half as long.

Archaeologist Lena Beronius-Jorpeland said the colonnades were likely from the 5th century but their purpose is unclear. She called it Sweden's largest Iron Age construction and said the geometrical structure is unique.


Read the rest of this article...

Friday, 18 October 2013

Unique pre-Viking Age monuments uncovered at Old Uppsala pagan ceremonial site in Sweden


Archaeologists in Sweden said Thursday they have unearthed the remains of unusually large wooden monuments near a pre-Viking Age burial ground.
As archaeologists dug in preparation for a new railway line, they found traces of two rows of wooden pillars in Old Uppsala, an ancient pagan religious center. One stretched about 1,000 yards (1 kilometer) and the other was half as long.
Archaeologist Lena Beronius-Jorpeland said the colonnades were likely from the 5th century but their purpose is unclear. She called it Sweden’s largest Iron Age construction and said the geometrical structure is unique.
Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A VIKING WHITEWASH

Peter Steen Henriksen and Sandie Holst excavate Denmark's oldest lime kiln. Photo: National Museum.

It was already known that Iron Age Danes whitewashed their houses and halls with lime to protect clay walls against wind and weather. However it wasn’t clear whether they created their their own lime, or if it was sourced from elsewhere.
Now Danish National Museum archaeologists have found the answer in the rich Viking settlement at Tissø, Zealand. In the spring of 2013 they excavated the first lime kiln from the Danish Late Iron Age, the oldest found in Denmark.

Burning slaked lime

The researchers examined a kiln used to burn slaked lime around the the middle of 800s CE. National Museum archaeologist Sandie Holst explained that, “We knew in advance that the great halls and buildings of Fuglede farmhouse were whitewashed because of previously excavated daub with traces of white chalk, but now we have proof that the limestone was burned in the immediate area” .
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Monday, 7 October 2013

1500 YEAR OLD SWEDISH FORTRESS MASSACRE REVEALED

Archaeologists at Lund University have found what they describe as a moment frozen in time by a brutal massacre, leaving a fort untouched since the 5th century.

Excavation of the Iron Age Sandby borg (ringfort) on Öland, an island off the southeastern coast of Sweden,  has revealed a number of bodies, lying where they fell, in one case, it seems that a couple were cut down from behind as they ran through the house, another body lies in a doorway. The project has been running since 2010 and is directed by Helene Victor for the Department of Archaeology in the local Kalmar Läns museum. It was initially reported last year that the site contained the remains of the unfortunate inhabitants.

Migration period

During what is termed the Migration Period in Scandinavia it was customary to cremate the dead, and it is rare to find uncremated remains. The archaeological site therefore offers important clues about the period, and although five bodies have been discovered in one house alone, human bones have been found in other parts of the fort, making it highly likely that many more bodies are yet to be uncovered.
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1,500 year old massacre found in Sweden


Archaeologists at Lund University have found what they describe as a moment frozen in time by a brutal massacre, leaving a fort untouched since the 5th century.
1,500 year old massacre found in Sweden
An archaeologist works to uncover one of the skeletons found lying within the
5th-century fort on the Swedish island of Öland [Credit: Lund University]
“There are so many bodies, it must have been a very violent and well organized raid”, says Helene Wilhelmson, a PhD student in historical osteology, who was astounded when the skeletons kept emerging from the Sandby fort site on Öland, an island just off the Swedish coast.

During the Migration Period in Scandinavia it was customary to burn the dead, and very few uncremated remains have previously been recovered. The archaeological site therefore offers important clues about the period, and five bodies have been discovered in one house alone. Human bones have been found in other parts of the fort, making it highly likely that many more bodies are yet to be dug out.


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Monday, 30 September 2013

VIKINGS: LIFE AND LEGEND

Roskilde 6 - VIKING exhibition at the National Museum of Denmark 
© The National Museum of Denmark

mighty warship that sailed nearly 1,000 years ago during the reign of Cnut the Great, will stand at the centre of the British Museum’s Viking exhibition in 2014.
The Viking expansion from their Scandinavian homelands during this era created a cultural network with contacts from the Caspian Sea to the North Atlantic and from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. The culture of the Scandinavians can be viewed in a global context which will highlight the multi-faceted influences arising from extensive cultural contacts. The exhibition will capitalise on new research and thousands of recent discoveries by both archaeologists and metal detectorists.

Masterpiece of ship technology

These new finds have changed our understanding of the nature of Viking identity, trade, magic and belief and the role of the warrior.  Above all, it was the maritime character of Viking society and the extraordinary shipbuilding skills that were key to their achievements. In order to highlight this, the centre of the exhibition will house the surviving timbers of a 37-metre-long Viking warship, the longest ever found and never before seen in the UK.
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Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Vikings are coming...British Museum to launch Vikings: Life and Legend in March 2014

Silver-inlaid axehead in the Mammen style, AD 900s. Bjerringhøj, Mammen, Jutland, Denmark. Iron, silver, brass. L 17.5 cm. © The National Museum of Denmark.

LONDON.- In March 2014 the British Museum will open the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery with a major exhibition on the Vikings, supported by BP. The exhibition has been developed with the National Museum of Denmark and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) and focuses on the core period of the Viking Age from the late 8th century to the early 11th century. The extraordinary Viking expansion from the Scandinavian homelands during this era created a cultural network with contacts from the Caspian Sea to the North Atlantic, and from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. The Vikings will be viewed in a global context that will highlight the multi-faceted influences arising from extensive cultural contacts. The exhibition will capitalise on new research and thousands of recent discoveries by both archaeologists and metal-detectorists, to set the developments of the Viking Age in context. These new finds have changed our understanding of the nature of Viking identity, trade, magic and belief and the role of the warrior in Viking society. Above all, it was the maritime character of Viking society and their extraordinary shipbuilding skills that were key to their achievements. At the centre of the exhibition will be the surviving timbers of a 37-metre-long Viking warship, the longest ever found and never seen before in the UK. Due to its scale and fragility it would not have been possible to display this ship at the British Museum without the new facilities of the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery. 

The ship, known as Roskilde 6, was excavated from the banks of Roskilde fjord in Denmark during the course of work undertaken to develop the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum in 1997. Since the excavation, the timbers have been painstakingly conserved and analysed by the National Museum of Denmark. The surviving timbers – approximately 20% of the original ship - have now been re-assembled for display in a specially made stainless steel frame that reconstructs the full size and shape of the original ship. The construction of the ship has been dated to around AD 1025, the high point of the Viking Age when England, Denmark, Norway and possibly parts of Sweden were united under the rule of Cnut the Great. The size of the ship and the amount of resources required to build it suggest that it was almost certainly a royal warship, possibly connected with the wars fought by Cnut to assert his authority over this short-lived North Sea Empire. 

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British Museum to show Viking treasures from North Yorkshire

The Vale of York viking hoard, which is going on show at the British Museum

A MAJOR new exhibition featuring Viking finds from North Yorkshire will take place at the British Museum next year.
Vikings: Life And Legend is the first major exhibition on Vikings to be held at the London museum for more than 30 years, and will include artefacts from the Vale of York alongside items from around the UK and Ireland, and the museum’s own collection.
The Vale of York Hoard, which was found by metal detectorists near Harrogate in 2007, will be shown in its entirety for the first time since it was found and jointly acquired by the British Museum and York Museums Trust.
The hoard includes 617 coins, six arm rings and a quantity of bullion and hack-silver, and is considered the largest and most important Viking hoard to be found since 1840’s Cuerdale Hoard, part of which will also will also be included in the exhibition.
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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Viking ship to arrive at British Museum in 'flat pack'

The 37-metre warship was built in southern Norway around 1025, and deliberately sunk in Denmark in the mid-11th century

The longest Viking ship ever found will arrive at the British Museum in a "flat pack" from Denmark early next year, curators have revealed.
The 37-metre ship is the centrepiece of the museum's Vikings: Life and Legend exhibition which opens in March 2014.
"It's essentially an enormous Meccano set which can be put together," curator Gareth Williams told the BBC.

Start Quote

As you might expect of a Scandinavian-designed ship, it comes flat packed”
Gareth WilliamsCurator
It is the British Museum's first major exhibition on Vikings for more than 30 years.
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Monday, 23 September 2013

Odd tale of headless Norse men: Slaves buried with the rich

This Viking man, in his 20s, was buried with a headless woman, who was in her 20s or 30s.
(Photo: Elise Naumann)

About 1,000 to 1,200 years ago, a Viking man still in his 20s was laid to rest on a craggy island in the Norwegian Sea. A new analysis of his skeleton and others buried nearby — several without their heads — suggests a haunting possibility: Some of the dead may have been slaves killed to lie in the grave with their masters.

Slavery was widespread in the Viking world, and scientists have found other Viking graves that include the remains of slaves sacrificed as "grave goods" and buried with their masters, a custom also practiced in ancient China and elsewhere. But the newly analyzed site is one of a very few Viking burials to include more than one slave, says the University of Oslo's Elise Naumann, a Ph.D. student in archaeology who led the research.

"These are people who had values very different from our own," says Naumann, whose study was published online in the Journal of Archaeological Science last week. "There were probably a very few people who were the most privileged, and many people who suffered."

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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

New evidence of Dingwall's Viking past to be revealed


New evidence confirming Dingwall's origins as a Viking power base are to be revealed at a public meeting in the Highland town later this month.
Dingwall's Cromartie car park is believed to be the site of a "thing", the meeting place of a medieval Norse parliament.
Archaeologists excavated part of the car park last year.
A report on the dig, including the results of radiocarbon dating, will be presented at the meeting.
Highland Council said some "exciting answers" to questions about the town's Viking past will be revealed.
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Thursday, 12 September 2013

Ploughed field find was silver Viking ring


A man who found a dirty piece of metal in a field has discovered he is actually the lucky owner of a silver Viking ring.

Ploughed field find was silver Viking ring
The ring was found close to the remains of a medieval church [Credit: BBC]
David Taylor, from County Down, Northern Ireland, discovered a bracelet-shaped object while helping lift stones from a field. His wife thought it was a bull ring and told him to throw it out. A coroner's court has now found the ring to be treasure trove.

Almost 18 months ago, Mr Taylor noticed the strangely-shaped object lying on a stone in his brother-in-law's freshly ploughed field near Kircubbin on the Ards peninsula.


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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

'Bull ring' was silver Viking ring treasure


A man who found a dirty piece of metal in a field has discovered he is actually the lucky owner of a silver Viking ring.
David Taylor, from County Down, Northern Ireland, discovered a bracelet-shaped object while helping lift stones from a field.
His wife thought it was a bull ring and told him to throw it out.
A coroner's court has now found the ring to be treasure trove.
Almost 18 months ago, Mr Taylor noticed the strangely-shaped object lying on a stone in his brother-in-law's freshly ploughed field near Kircubbin on the Ards peninsula.
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Man finds Viking ring in Northern Ireland field


A man in Northern Ireland says an object his wife mistook for an old bull ring turned out to be a silver Viking ring from between the 10th and 12th centuries.

David Taylor of County Down said he found the object while lifting stones in a field near Kircubbin and his wife told him it was an old bull ring and he should throw it out, the BBC reported Monday.

"I just knew by the shape of it, it was something," Taylor said.

Taylor said experts identified the object as a silver Viking ring from between the 10th and 12th centuries.

University College Cork archaeologist John Sheehan said the ring was found near the ruins of a medieval church and may have been stolen from Viking settlers.

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Friday, 16 August 2013

Oxford Experience 2014


The programme for the Oxford Experience Summer School is now online.  Registration will not begin until late September, but now is the time to start planning your courses for next summer.

You can find the programme here...

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Vikings ‘ransacked Church gold for jewellery’


Pagan Vikings, who ransacked early Irish churches, melted and transformed sacred objects into jewellery.

Research by a University College Cork scholar has made new discoveries about the “Viking loot” from Ireland. 

He traced how sacred objects were turned into jewellery by Vikings in Norway, Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. 

There are no plans, however, to seek to have returned to Ireland the crosiers that were turned into brooches and chalices that became jewellery boxes, ransacked over two centuries from the “soft targets” of the churches. 

However Dr Griffin Murray of the Department of Archaeology at UCC will tell an international Viking Conference in Shetland this week that he would like to see Irish treasures “taken by the armful” returned in the form of a temporary exhibition. 


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Friday, 26 July 2013

Viking Jewelry Unearthed in Denmark

A copper alloy piece of jewelry found at a Viking-age site in Denmark shows an animal figure with a beadlike chain around its neck.

Several pieces of Viking jewelry, some of which contain gold, have been uncovered at a farm site in Denmark that dates as far back as 1,300 years.

Although the Vikings have a popular reputation as being raiders, they were also farmers, traders and explorers, and the craftsmanship seen in this jewelry demonstrates their artistic skills.

Archaeologists working with volunteers used metal detectors to find the jewelry in different spots throughout a farmstead on Zealand, the largest island in Denmark. The remains of the site, which is now called Vestervang, date from the late seventh to the early 11th centuries.

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Friday, 19 July 2013

Viking legends to retell stories of old at Jorvik Centre

The gathering of legendary Viking heroes at the Jorvik Centre, clockwise from top, Eric Bloodaxe, warrior woman Lathgertha, Aud the Deep Minded, King Cnut the Great, King Harald Bluetooth and King Orry of Man
NINE heroes and a skeleton will take up residence at the Jorvik Viking Centre to give visitors an insight into the great deeds and battles of the past.
Legendary warrior and campaigner Eric Bloodaxe, warrior woman Lathgerda, warrior man Sweyn Forkbeard, adventurer Harald Hardrada, explorer Leif the Lucky and King Harald Bluetooth of Denmark are among nine big names from Viking and pre-Norman English history who will be among the star attractions of the centre’s Heroes exhibition.
They will answer questions from visitors and talk to them in between taking over its Twitter feed.
The exhibition will also include items to illustrate the lifestyle of a Viking hero, including a skeleton unearthed at Fishergate which may belong to a warrior killed at the Battle of Fulford in 1066 and several tenth century stones that may have covered a grave of a fallen hero or rich patron.
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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A tantalizing hint of an ancient trading town


When archaeologists Geir Grønnesby and Ellen Grav Ellingsen found these and other artefacts during a dig in mid-Norway, they realized they had intriguing evidence of a Viking-age trading area mentioned in the Norse Sagas.
The finds came from two separate boat graves in an area in Nord-Trøndelag County called Lø, a farm in part of Steinkjer. The archaeologists, who both work at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's University Museum, were there to conduct a routine investigation required because of an upgrade to Norway's main national highway, the E6.
But instead of a simple highway dig, the researchers found themselves with a potential answer to an unsolved puzzle about a mysterious Viking trading place that is named in ancient sagas, but that has never before been located.
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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Vikings held political summits across Europe

Fancy clothes, gifts and weapons acted as important status symbols in political negotiations in the Viking Age. (Photo: Asbjørn Mølgaard Sørensen)

What do Angela Merkel and Harald Bluetooth, the Viking King of the Danes, have in common? Merkel is probably guilty of less pillaging than old Harald, but she participates in numerous political meetings throughout Europe – and so did Harald and the other Viking kings.
The kings were politicians who knew about political spin and who built up internal networks, explains Anne Pedersen, an archaeologist and curator at the National Museum of Denmark, which currently hosts a major exhibition about Vikings.
One of the main themes of the exhibition is power and international alliances:
”When the Vikings formed alliances, they did it much like we do today,” says Pedersen. “They made themselves visible on the political scene and they met with their peers at what we could call political summits where they formed networks and alliances.”
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Monday, 15 July 2013

CLUES FROM AN ANCIENT VIKING TRADING CENTRE


It was a routine archaeological dig necessitated by the expansion of Norway’s main north-south highway the E6 just north of Trondheim, the country’s third largest city. But the finds surprised archaeologists from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s University Museum, who now believe they have solved a centuries-old puzzle posed in Norse sagas.
When archaeologists Geir Grønnesby and Ellen Grav Ellingsen found a silver button and a set of balance scales along with other artefacts during a dig in mid-Norway they realized they had intriguing evidence of a Viking-age trading area mentioned in the Norse Sagas.

Boat graves

The finds came from two separate boat graves in an area in Nord-Trøndelag County called Lø, a farm in part of Steinkjer.
These finds got us thinking about the descriptions in the Sagas that describe Steinkjer as a trading place,” the researchers wrote of their findings in Vitark, an academic journal published by the University Museum. “The Sagas say that Steinkjer, under the rule of Eirik Jarl, was briefly even more important than Nidaros, before Olav Haraldsson re-established Nidaros as the king’s residence and trading city.”
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Friday, 28 June 2013

Gold Viking ingot discovered by amateur treasure hunter

A rare piece of Viking gold dating back more than a thousand years was discovered by an amateur with a metal detector in Northern Ireland, it was revealed.


The ingot is one of only a few nuggets known from Ireland, experts said Photo: PA

Tom Crawford was pursuing his hobby in farmland in Co Down last year when he found the small but precious ingot, which may have been used as currency during the 9th and 10th centuries. It is one of only a few nuggets known from Ireland, experts said.
Mr Crawford also uncovered a tiny silver ring brooch with unusual floral imprints, probably used for decoration by a man or woman during the Medieval period, a short distance away.
"It is all part of the big jigsaw of the history of this country," he told a Belfast inquest convened to establish if the find was treasure.
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Viking gold unearthed by treasure hunter in County Down

Tom Crawford found the ingot in Brickland last year

A treasure hunter armed with a metal detector has unearthed a rare piece of Viking gold that is more than 1,000 years old.
Tom Crawford was sweeping farmland in County Down last year when he found the small ingot which may have been used as currency during the 9th and 10th centuries.
Experts said only a few such nuggets had been found in Ireland.
Close by, he found a tiny silver ring brooch dating from medieval times.
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Isle of Man Viking silver declared 'treasure trove'

Four Viking silver objects have now been dug up in the same Isle of Man field


Three pieces of Viking silver dating back 1,000 years, discovered using a metal detector in the Isle of Man, have been declared treasure trove.
An inquest heard the three items, found by Seth Crowe in a field in Andreas in April, date back to between 930 and 1080 AD.
Archaeologists believe the two silver ingots and brooch fragment contain more than 60% silver.
Coroner of Inquests John Needham made the ruling at Douglas Courthouse.
Mr Crowe, 39, made the discovery having sought the permission of the landowner Leslie Faragher, some years ago.
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