Intact Viking boat grave discovered

Tomb of a Viking with grave goods is only the tenth boat grave in Sweden

View of the thousand year old boat grave (left), to the grave goods included a shield and a decorated comb. © Arkeologerna
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Rare find: Archaeologists have discovered an intact boat grave from the time of the Vikings in the Swedish town of Uppsala. So far only ten such graves in Sweden are known. In the boat lay the bones of a man, together with those of a dog and a horse. Among the grave goods included a sword, a spear, a shield and a decorated comb, as the researchers report.

About a thousand years ago, the Vikings dominated large parts of northern Europe. They had a wide trading network, navigated their ships to Greenland and North America and were feared as warriors and conquerors. Especially in Scandinavia many settlements and Viking graves testify to the way of life of the "Northmen". However, much less common are boat graves - burials where the dead and their grave goods were buried in a ship. In Sweden, only about ten such burial places are known.

Archaeologists at the excavation of the Bwikinger boat grave. © Arkeologerna

Boat grave under medieval cellar

Accordingly, the find of two other boat growers in the Swedish town of Uppsala one of which is still completely intact. "This is extremely exciting for us, because boat graves are so rarely found and excavated, " explains Anton Seiler of the archaeological team of the Natural History Museums of Sweden. The researchers discovered the two boat brokers during excavation work on a medieval cellar and well of the old rectory.

Among the younger relics, the archaeologists stumbled upon the two Viking graves. One of the graves is damaged, possibly by the construction of the medieval cellar. The other grave is still intact - a rare case of fortune, as the researchers emphasize. For this is the first opportunity to apply modern scientific methods to a fresh grave find of this kind.

Buried with dog and horse

In the intact boat grave the archaeologists found the remains of a man, next to him the bones of a horse and a dog apparently his faithful companions in death. The dead man had also been given personal possessions, including a sword, a spear, a shield and a decorated comb. The wooden planks of the ship are largely decayed, but some wood remains and iron nails are still preserved. display

The researchers assume that the dead man was a man of high standing, because only then did he receive the honor of a boat tomb: "It was only a small group of people who were buried in this way, " explains Sert Seiler. "We suspect that they were outstanding people in their society, because generally such boot burials are extremely rare." Most Viking warriors got a cremation at that time.

"This is a unique find, the last of its kind was made in this area almost 50 years ago, " says Seiler. "Now we can study these findings with modern scientific methods, which will give us completely new results, hypotheses and answers."

Source: Arkeologerna

- Nadja Podbregar