Viking Findings: Historical Values and Mysterious Tales

Every cut into the Earth reveals something about the past. In most parts of Scandinavian countries, archaeologists can find out some traces of the Viking community. Thanks to the Viking tradition of burying things, we now have artifacts to learn more about their culture. The Viking findings not only have the historical values but they also carry the mysterious tales.

5 Fascinating Viking Findings and Excavations

The purpose of archaeology is not only to learn about the life of ancient people but also learn why how they survived and what mistakes they made leading to their collapse. Though these following Viking findings do not answer the later questions, they are fascinating enough for us to learn about the Viking traditional culture.

Oseberg burial mound

Around the beginning of the 20th century, the sons on the Oseberg farm happened to dig out something belonging to the past. Archaeologists quickly came and bring out valuable artifacts. It was actually the Viking burial mound and the archaeologists called it Oseberg burial mound for its geographic position.

What made the Oseberg site unique was both its luxurious items and the owners of the burial mound. The figures that rest inside the burial were two women: one around her 40s and the other around her 70s. For the luxury of the grave, archaeologists concluded that they once were the people in the high social rank.

Archaeologists next to the Oseberg burial mound around the beginning of the 20th century
Archaeologists in the 20th century attempted to dig out the Oseberg ship

By far, mysteries are still all around when we read about the Oseberg burial mound. We are yet to know who the two women were. The Oseberg tapestry depicting a man with the horned helmet confuses the scholars because it makes the scholars rethink about the historical existence of the horned helmet. The archaeologists also wonder what are the purpose of the Oseberg animal head posts.

BJ581 burial site in Birka

Birka is among the hottest archaeological sites. By far, there have been up to 3,000 graves detected in Birka. The BJ 581 in Birka was the unique but confusing burial site.

When archaeologists found the BJ 581, they were so excited about the items inside that they forgot the figure buried. The items inside BJ581 suggested that the grave owner was a great warrior. Because there were shields, axes, swords, and two horses accompanied that figure.

BJ 581 in Birka was one of the most famous Viking grave. Because it was dedicated to a Viking femal warrior
Inside the BJ581 in Birka. The figure was buried with weapons and two horses accompanied her in her afterlife.

Many years after the excavation, the archaeologists were astonished once again for the result of skeleton examination. It revealed that the skeleton belonged to a woman living in the Viking community. This finding raised the question about the historical existence of the Viking shieldmaidens who were the female warriors.

Tissø Tyr’s lake

Tissø is the 4th biggest lake in Denmark. It lies to the west of Zealand. Archaeologists found traces of Viking community in this spot. The cool thing is that they found the cult of Tyr Norse God of honor and justice there.

Tisso lake was the lake of Tyr Norse God of honor and justice
Traces of Viking worshiping house in the bank of Tisso lake. Under the bed of the lake, archaeologists found out many artifacts sacrificed to the gods and ancestors by the Vikings. 

Many attempts were put into this place. The archaeologists found out amulets like Thor hammer pendants, small statue of Freya or valkyries, etc. On the hill miles away from the residence, they excavated animal bones and many objects suggesting this was also a worshiping and sacrificing spot.

Skuldelev ships

The excavation of the Skuldelev ships consisted of up to five Viking ships in one spot.

The Vikings sank these five Viking ships intentionally at Skuldelev, Denmark. The ships were to protect the Viking town against the attack from the enemies in the sea. Three ships were towed and sank first and many years later the other two sank in the same spot.

The spot of 5 Skuldelev ships. The archaeologists first thought there were 6 ships so they named them number “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6”. But later, it turned out that the ship number 4 was part of number 2. And there were actually 5 ships sinking in this spot. 

All ships dated back to the 11th century. But they varied from the small cargo vessels to the huge warship. They were built from different places as well. All five Skuldelev ships provide interesting information about the Viking shipbuilding tactics. The modern shipbuilders reconstructed the five replica of the Skuldelev ships.

Great Army mass grave in England

In 1970, archaeologists dug out the mass grave of more than 300 individuals. They first thought the mass grave belonged to the Viking Great Army who invaded England. But the radiocarbon dating suggested that the grave belonged to post-Viking era. Needless to say, this ruined the enjoyment of the archaeologists who doubted where the Viking Great Army was after wintering in Repton in 873.

Skeletons from the mass grave belonging to the Viking Great Army
Skeletons from the mass grave belonging to the Viking Great Army that once invaded England

But the new result revealed that the radiocarbon dating was not precise. When one individual consumed too much fish, it made the radiocarbon dating result go wrong. And the bones from the mass grave really dated back to the nine century, exactly the time when the Viking invaded England.

The mass grave suggested that the Great Army of the Vikings consisted of both genders: 80% for male and 20% for female. Nearly all the skeletons inside this mass grave suffered from violent injury.

Conclusion

Overall, the Viking findings have the value as a source of information that other fields of study cannot explain clearly enough. Information from the Viking findings and excavation educate us about what the Vikings were through and how much the Norse sagas affected their life. Finally, let us not dismiss from the simple and pure joy of discovering the greatness of the Viking community and the mystery about this tribe.

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