Skeletons of twin infant Vikings discovered in Sweden
This close-up shot shows one of the burials found in the tombs in Sweden. They are believed to be Christianized Vikings who lived about 1,000 years ago. (Image credit: Photo courtesy Uppdrag arkeologi)
Seven Viking tombs holding well-preserved skeletons, including possible twin infants, have been discovered in the Swedish town of Sigtuna.
The archaeologists discovered the 1,000-year-old remains of eight people — four adults and four children — inside the tombs; they were likely Vikings who had converted to Christianity. "The Christian character of the now-excavated graves is obvious because of how the tombs were laid out," said Johan Runer, a project manager with Uppdrag arkeologi, a cultural resource management company, which led excavations of the site.
Most of the people had been buried flat on their back in an east-west position, whereas people who followed traditional Viking beliefs in this area of Sweden at this time tended to be cremated, Runer said.
They also found deposits of charcoal and in some cases partially burnt caskets, suggesting fire rituals were involved in at least four burials. "Such phenomena are rather common in Christian Viking period graves, but previously rather rare in Sigtuna," Runer told Live Science in an email.