Wednesday 31 January 2018

Unique Viking runes discovered in Denmark

Runologist and senior researcher Lisbeth Imer takes a closer look at the newly discovered runes.  (Video: Kristian Højgaard Nielsen)

“These are the runes we’ve been missing,” says archaeologist.

A comb with a runic inscription of the word “comb,” perhaps doesn’t sound so sensational. But it is.

The comb dates to the early Viking Age around 800 CE. Just a handful of runic texts from this period exists.

The comb was discovered during excavations of a Viking Age market place in Denmark’s oldest town Ribe.

Alongside the comb, archaeologists also discovered a runic inscription on a small plate of bone or antler.

Together, the two objects reveal details from a crucial period of Viking history, says archaeologist and excavation leader Søren Sindbæk from Aarhus University, Denmark.

“These are the runes we’ve been missing. We’ve waited generations to be able to dig into this,” says Sindbæk.

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Viking-Era Stone Carved with Runes Found in Norway

This whetstone (a stone used for sharpening knives) has letters known as runes engraved on it, archaeologists found. Discovered recently during excavations in Oslo, the stone dates back to the Middle Ages, a time when the Vikings flourished in Norway
Credit: Karen Langsholt Holmqvist/NIKU

A stone carved with symbols known as runes and dating to the Middle Ages has been discovered during an excavation ahead of a railway-construction project in Oslo, Norway.

The runes, which were found engraved on a whetstone (a stone used for sharpening knives), date to sometime around 1,000 years ago when the Vikings (also called the Norse) flourished in Norway. The runic writing system conveyed a language and could be used to record and convey information as well as cast spells. Each rune formed a letter or sign and a combination of runes could spell out a word. Who engraved the runes on this newly discovered stone is unknown.

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Sunday 21 January 2018

Bronze Age Arrows and a Viking Sword – The 2017 Fieldwork Was Awesome!

The Storfonne ice patch, photographed in September 2014 during a major melt. Notice the light grey lichen-free zone surrounding the ice. This area was exposed by ice melt in the last 15-20 years. Photo: Lars Pilø, Secrets of the Ice/Oppland County Council.

Both sites had only seen short visits prior to this field-season. This had resulted in a number of artifact recoveries, especially arrows, found close to the melting ice. However, we knew that there were other finds on these sites, and that they were lying on the surface, exposed to the elements. The main job would be to rescue these artefacts. To achieve this, we planned to conduct a systematic and thorough survey of the lichen-free zone (where the ice has melted recently) surrounding the ice on both sites.

The Lauvhøe ice patch

The Lauvhøe ice patch was up first. The earliest finds from this site were reported in 2007: three arrows, dating to the Iron Age and the medieval period. Even with these remarkable finds, the site had to wait ten years for a proper systematic survey. This may sound harsh, but with the short time window available for surveys each year, other sites with more and older finds had to be surveyed first. Lauvhøe’s turn had finally come this year.

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Monday 15 January 2018

Viking centre discovered in Cork city predates Waterford settlement

The latest discoveries at the South Main Street site confirm Cork’s significance in the Hiberno-Norse world, archaeologist says

Cork was a significant centre for Vikings in Ireland with an urban centre that predates the Viking settlement in Waterford, a new report on the excavation of the city’s event centre has revealed.

According to the report by Cork City Council executive archaeologist, Joanne Hughes, the latest discoveries at the South Main Street site confirm Cork’s significance in the Hiberno-Norse world.

In the report presented to members of Cork City Council, Ms Hughes said that excavation of the site by archaeologist Dr Maurice Hurley for developers BAM, was highly revealing about Cork’s past.

She explained that the site of the former Beamish and Crawford Brewery adjacent to the south channel of the Lee had been divided into three separate sections for excavation purposes.

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