Sunday 19 August 2012

Bornais finds shed light on Iron Age and Viking life

Animal bones used in games and potentially in rituals to predict the future were found at Bornais

Powerful figures from the late Iron Age through to the end of the Vikings were drawn to a sandy plain on South Uist, according to archaeologists.

Bornais, on the west side of the island, has the remains of a large farmstead and a major Norse settlement.

The area has produced large numbers of finds, including what have been described as exotic items from abroad.

Green marble from Greece, ivory from Greenland and bronze pins from Ireland have been among the finds.

A piece of bone marked with an ogham inscription, an ancient text that arrived in Scotland from Ireland, was also found.

Archaeologists said the items provided a detailed picture of life in the first millennium AD.

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Saturday 18 August 2012


This is the first skull from the 2012 dig with a mortal wound caused by a spear or an arrow

This is the first skull from the 2012 dig with a mortal wound caused by a spear or an arrow. Credit: Curator Ejvind Hertz, Skanderborg Museum


‘It’s clear that this must have been a quite far-reaching and dramatic event that must have had profound effect on the society of the time,’ explains Project Manager Mads Kähler Holst, professor of archaeology at Aarhus University.

For almost two months now, Dr Holst and a team of fifteen archaeologists and geologists have been working to excavate the remains of a large army that was sacrificed at the site around the time of the birth of Christ. The skeletal remains of hundreds of warriors lie buried in the Alken Enge wetlands near Lake Mossø in East Jutland, Denmark.

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Friday 10 August 2012

Lost Viking Military Town Unearthed in Germany?

A battle-scarred, eighth-century town unearthed in northern Germany may be the earliest Viking settlement in the historical record, archaeologists announced recently.

 Ongoing excavations at Füsing (map), near the Danish border, link the site to the "lost" Viking town of Sliasthorp—first recorded in A.D. 804 by royal scribes of the powerful Frankish ruler Charlemagne. Used as a military base by the earliest Scandinavian kings, Sliasthorp's location was unknown until now, said dig leader Andres Dobat, of Aarhus University in Denmark.

 Whether it proves to be the historic town or not, the site offers valuable insights into military organization and town planning in the early Viking era, according to the study team. Some 30 buildings have been uncovered since excavations began in 2010.

Sunday 5 August 2012

Medieval silver treasure found on Gotland

A silver treasure from the 12th century has been found on the Baltic island Gotland, where over 600 pieces of silver coins have been unearthed, according to reports in local media.

"This is an amazing find. It’s unbelievable that treasures of this scale exist here on Gotland,” Marie Louise Hellquist of Gotland’s County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen) told local newspaper Hela Gotland.

The medieval treasure was uncovered last Monday, as the landowner was moving soil. Some 500 pieces of coin were discovered in the field, and following further searches conducted once archaeologists arrived on Wednesday, that figure has swollen considerably.

“In total we’ve reached 650 pieces, so far,” Hellquist said.

Silver coins were not the only items discovered, as both jewellery and a raw silver artefact, which archaeologists believe to be part of an ancient axe, have been found at the site.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Denmark’s past viewed from above

This field once housed a large Viking settlement. The centre of the picture shows vestiges of a Viking Age house with long curved walls. Other remnant houses are also visible in the cornfield, along with vestiges of pit houses.

There’s a lot to learn about the past by studying the land from high above. See a series of stunning aerial archaeology photos here.

Since 2009 archaeologists have been using small aircraft to map nine areas in Denmark that are of particular interest to archaeologists and historians.

The project is called 'The past as viewed from the sky – air archaeology in Denmark' and will initially run until 2013.

But what can aerial photos possibly tell us about the past?

What Vikings really looked like

Were Vikings really dirty savages who wore horned helmets, or did they look like we do today? Here’s what the experts say.

There’s no shortage of myths about the appearance of our notorious Viking ancestors.

To find out more about these myths, ScienceNordic’s Danish partner site,, asked its Facebook readers to list their favourite myths about what the Vikings looked like.

We have picked out five myths from the resulting debate and asked researchers to help us confirm or bust these myths.
Armed with this information, our graphic designer then took a shot at drawing some examples of our infamous forefathers, which you can see in our picture gallery.

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Fant 1500 år gammelt hus som trolig tilhørte høvding

Det er oppdaget seks flatmarksgraver i området som skal graves ut i ukene som kommer. Det mørke feltet i bakken viser en av dem.
FOTO: Cato Guhnfeldt

Det 1500 år gamle jernalderhuset hadde et monumentalt inngangsparti med stor trapp. Dette ble i forrige uke gravd frem av arkeologer.

Bygningen er den største som er avdekket i Rogaland i løpet av de siste tiårene, i et område hvor det har stått i alt 30-35 bygninger og bodd mennesker i minst 1000 år. De levde av jordbruk, dernest fangst og fiske foruten handel.

Minst ni innganger

- Da vi hadde avdekket høvdingbygningen i en lengde av 50 meter, steg pulsen. Da vi passerte 60 meter, begynte vi å se på hverandre. Hva i all verden var dette? forteller utgravningsleder Even Bjørdal fra Arkeologisk museum/Universitetet i Stavanger.
Den avdekkede kjempebygningen er et såkalt treskipet stolpehus. 65 meter langt, 7 meter bredt, med minst ni innganger, kanskje flere, har bygningen vært brukt som bolig, til fest og matlaging, trolig også til produksjon av metallgjenstander som bronsesmykker og redskaper/våpen.