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Double Viking Boat Burial Discovered in Norway

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Norway Viking BroochTRONDHEIM, NORWAY—The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) announced the discovery of a single grave in central Norway containing the poorly preserved remains of two people who had been interred on separate occasions. The original burial dates to the eighth century A.D. and consists of a boat measuring nearly 32 feet long, in which the remains of a man and weapons were found. Some 100 years later, this burial was carefully excavated, and the remains of a woman were placed in a boat measuring about 26 feet long, which was then carefully fitted into the older, larger vessel. Buried with the woman were two large shell-shaped brooches made of gilded bronze, a crucifix-shaped brooch made from an Irish harness fitting, a pearl necklace, two scissors, a spindle whorl, and a cow head. NTNU archaeologist Raymond Sauvage said only the wooden keel of the smaller boat survived, but the boats’ rivets revealed their positions in the grave. The two people were likely related, Sauvage explained. The researchers hope to be able to extract information about the woman’s appearance, health, and where she lived from her few remaining skull bones. NTNU historian Aina Heen Pettersen added that the crucifix-shaped brooch may have been crafted from an Irish harness fitting acquired during a trade expedition or a raid, reflecting the status of the woman’s family. To read about boat burials of slain warriors found on an Estonian island, go to "The First Vikings."

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