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Possible Viking-Era Grave Discovered in Estonia

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

TŌNISMÄE, ESTONIA—Estonian Public Broadcasting reports that a tenth-century A.D. burial site has been found in the ancient county of Rävala, near Estonia’s northern coast, where cenotaphs made of Viking sword fragments were discovered last year. Mauri Kiudsoo of Tallinn University said the grave had been damaged by plowing, but archaeologists were able to recover fragments of spearheads, bridles, scythes, and single-edged combat knives, in addition to a crossbow-shaped brooch with poppy heads that had been damaged by fire and disfigured with spring scissors, which were also recovered from the grave. “It cannot be claimed absolutely, but it is likely the two cenotaphs are dedicated to Rävala warriors who perished in one or two battles or campaigns far from home,” Kiudsoo said. It had been previously suggested that the monuments commemorated the deaths of Scandinavian warriors. Although the same types of swords were used by people living across the Baltic Sea region, jewelry was crafted in local styles. “Crossbow-shaped brooches were usually worn by warriors from southwestern Finland and northwestern Estonia,” Kiudsoo explained. The construction style of the grave also indicates it was dug by Rävala residents. For more on Viking-era discoveries in Estonia, go to "The First Vikings." 

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