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Why did Vikings bury two people in boats one hundred years apart?

Middle Eastern archaeologists have discovered an unusual Viking tomb in which a boat grave was placed on top of another. Alone that's pretty weird – but it's even stranger considering that two burials are separated by 100 years.

That Vikings sometimes buried their dead The interior of boats is well documented, but the new discovery, in which two boat-graves were superimposed, is exceptionally rare and little known.

The unusual tomb setting was discovered last October during road maintenance and commissioned by a team of archaeologists from the NTNU Science Museum according to a ScienceNorway article commissioned ] by the NTNU Norwegian University of Science and technology. The site is located near the village of Vinjeøra in central Norway.

A video from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) (with Norwegian captions) shows the burials of Viking boats.

The graves hold two bodies, a man and a woman. The older grave with a Viking dates from the 8th century AD, while the newer grave of a Viking woman from the 9th century AD comes from. The Vikings dug up the original tomb after about 100 years laid the second boat grave on top and then buried both again, reports ScienceNorway. The reason is not clear, but the archaeologists have good reason to believe that the persons were related.

"It is reasonable to assume that the two were buried together to mark the family's property at the farm, in a society where most things were not recorded."

"I had several boat graves It must be buried in a grave mound, but never a boat buried in another boat, "NTNU archaeologist Raymond Sauvage, the project manager for the excavation, told ScienceNorway. "Since then I have learned that in the 1950s in Tjølling in the south of the Norwegian county of Vestfold some double boat graves were found. Nevertheless, this is essentially an unknown phenomenon. "

Most of the wood comes from the two boats, but the archaeologists found the remaining rivets at their original positions so they could visualize the placement of the rivets boat graves. The boats were buried together in a large burial mound that jutted out of the landscape. The site is on the edge of a cliff overlooking a fjord, so it was probably an impressive view, according to Sauvage .

Artistic conception of the male Viking boat grave burial.
Image : Arkikon

Little information was given about the man, but he was found buried beside his shield and a single-edged sword. His weapon dates from from the Merovingian period in Northern Europe, reports ScienceNorway.

The woman's boat was about 7 to 8 meters long. She was buried in a necklace with a cruciform pendant, and her dress was fastened to the front with a pair of large scalloped gilded bronze brooches. Around her body were various grave goods, including a string of pearls, a pair of scissors, a spindle whip and the head of a cow.

The cruciform pendant in the woman's grave.
Picture : Raymond Sauvage, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet

The ground on which the boat graves were found was not suitable for the storage of mortal remains, but scientists could extract a piece of the woman's skull Deliver DNA and deliver the material for isotopic analysis, the latter determining diet and place of origin.

It is quite possible that these two individuals were related, although they were separated by 100 years. According to the archaeologists, the Viking community would probably know the original inhabitant of the boat grave. The Vikings did not keep any written records, but the knowledge of the family could be passed down from generation to generation.

Through years of extensive agriculture, the burial mound has been largely wiped out. However, the team plans to return to this site next summer to find more artifacts.

Georadar scan of a 1,000-year-old Viking ship in Norwegian Romsdal
Image : NIKU

Similar news has an archaeological team of the Norwegian Institute of Cultural Research (NIKU) and other facilities using ground radar traces of a 1000-year-old Viking ship buried in Møre in Norwegian Romsdal. The ship is estimated to be 16 to 17 meters long. Georadars may also have detected signs of ancient settlement, but further investigation is needed to be sure.

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