The Vikings’ Wide Reach


May/June 2017

Trenches Scotland Viking Ax HeadTrenches Scotland Viking Boat BurialRecent analysis of the only intact Viking boat burial ever discovered on the British mainland has revealed new information about the identity, culture, and origins of the interred individual. The tenth-century grave, which belonged to a high-status warrior, was first discovered in 2011 in western Scotland. Isotope analysis of two teeth indicates that the occupant of the grave was likely born in Scandinavia. The grave assemblage included several weapons, typical of Viking warrior burials, and other items related more to daily life such as food preparation and farming. The artifacts came from a wide range of sources, including Ireland, Scotland, and Scandinavia, underscoring the broad geographical connections of the well-traveled warrior. Says University of Leicester archaeologist Oliver Harris, “This burial helps us learn about how Viking people were interacting and eventually settling in this part of Scotland at the time.”