31 May 2020

1,000-Year-Old Buried Viking Ship Will be Raised!

Here is a follow-on article from Ancient Origins on the Viking ship burial found in Norway.

I posted the first article on this blog on the subject back in January, 2020.

Archaeologists and the Norwegian government intend to excavate the site to save the ship from impending destruction by natural events. (Ed.)


6 MAY, 2020 - 16:33 ED WHELAN
Norwegian archaeologists have announced a plan to raise a buried Viking ship from the earth. The vessel is from a ship burial that is over 1000 years old. It is the first time in over a hundred years that a buried Viking ship has been excavated. But the experts have declared the excavation necessary and are in a race against time to salvage and preserve the very rare and important vessel.

The Gjellestad Viking Ship was found near Halden in southern Norway in 2018. It was discovered during a georadar survey , conducted by NIKU, overseen by Knut Pasche. Georadar technology allowed researchers to scan and image the vessel that had been buried here sometime between the 8th and the 10th century AD. They determined that it measures 65 feet (19.8 meters) and is made of oak.

Live Science quotes Sigrid Mannasaker Gunderson, an archaeologist with the local county, that the “vessel was likely made for travelling long distances at sea.” It is possible that it once had a mast and oars. Images show that there may be grave goods in one section of the buried ship.

02 May 2020

The History of Vikings in Derbyshire

From the Derbyshire Life and Countryside, UK, comes this interesting article on what archaeological information is gleaned from the coins contained in Viking coin hoards. (Ed.)



Part of the Tutbury coin hoard, British Museum

The History of Vikings in Derbyshire

Coins are ‘very small texts’ for Dr Gareth Williams, curator of early medieval coins and Viking material at the British Museum. They are full of clues to the history of a particular period and he can read them like a book. A historian by profession, he says the joy of working in a museum as opposed to a university department is that you can share your knowledge with a much wider range of people – a passion for communication that he shares with his wife, Lesley Smith, curator of Tutbury Castle.

We’re at Tutbury on a winter’s day, with the rain falling and the ancient castle wreathed in mist. Dr Williams has come into prominence at this particular time in relation to the large Viking hoard of gold jewellery, a silver ingot and coins discovered by two amateur metal detectorists in Herefordshire in 2015. The finders, George Powell and Layton Davies, were convicted and jailed in November last year for failing to declare the find as the law demands; for attempting to sell items from the hoard – only 30 coins have been recovered, along with the jewellery – and for denying that they had secreted coins worth millions.

The hoard was hidden in all likelihood by a Viking warrior as his army retreated into the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia following the victory of Alfred the Great in the year 878. Such hoards were generally buried for safety and ‘because the Vikings did not always trust each other’, Dr Williams suggests. ‘Alliances could change and members of an army could later find themselves on the opposite side, so it was worth burying your wealth when you were encamped, even if it was just overnight.’

He cheerfully confesses to a mixture of huge excitement and ‘a bit of irritation’ when he learned of the hoard in that summer of 2015: excitement because initial reports suggested it was something very special, and irritation because he was working on a book about hoards and the last thing he wanted was another one which ‘could upset everything you have got straight in your head…’. It didn’t do that. What the coins did, he rejoices, was to establish a clear connection between two kings, Alfred the Great, King of Wessex from 871-879, and Ceolwulf II (874-879), one of the lesser known kings of the independent kingdom of Mercia.


23 April 2020

Meet Ratatoskr, mischievous messenger squirrel to the Viking gods

This is a total departure for this blog, but archaeology is not active at the moment, so some Norse mythology may be called for because we seem to be living a nightmare of mythic proportion on planet Earth. (Ed.)


Meet Ratatoskr, mischievous messenger squirrel to the Viking gods

A depiction of Ratatoskr in a 17th-century illuminated manuscript.
A depiction of Ratatoskr in a 17th-century illuminated manuscript. (Johanna Olafsdottir)

April 13, 2020 at 2:05 p.m. MDT

When one ponders the case of Ratatoskr, the most celebrated squirrel in Norse mythology, one must eventually confront a question: Why is there a horn growing out of his forehead?

You can see it in a 17th-century illuminated manuscript in the collection of the Arni Magnusson Institute for Icelandic Studies in Reykjavik. A drawing shows the symbol around which all Norse mythology is organized: the famed Ygdrasil, or World Tree. The tree is populated by various fearsome creatures. At the bottom left is Ratatoskr, looking like a dog with a horn coming straight out of his noggin.

“We have no text to explain [this] for us,” said Gisli Sigurdsson, a professor in the department of folklore at the University of Iceland’s Magnusson Institute.

We will speculate about that horn in a bit, but first, a crash course in Norse mythology and the role a squirrel plays in it: The Viking age began around A.D. 800 and ended about 300 years later. During that time, Norsemen (and women) poured forth from Scandinavia, pillaging and colonizing their way across Britain, through the scattered islands of the North Atlantic, into Iceland and Greenland and venturing as far as North America.

04 April 2020

Fantastic Voyages: Myth, Legend, and the Recreation of Ancient Boats

This excerpt comes from an article in Deeper Blue, a SCUBA diving travel publication. I encourage the reader to click one of the links I have provided to read the entire article. The author did a good job, and her article is very interesting. (Ed.)


by Gemma Smith
March 12, 2020
Viking Long ship
 The ancient Vikings have long been admired both for their daring and their expertise in boatbuilding. There have been several modern reconstructions of Viking boats including the 30 meter (98 ft) long Sea Stallion which sailed in 2007 successfully from the Danish port of Roskilde 900 miles to Dublin, Ireland. It landed to a much warmer welcome than its predecessors had evoked more than 1000 years before! The Skjoldungen, a replica of the Skudelev 6 discovered sunk in Roskilde fjord, Denmark in 1962 sailed up the southwest coast of Greenland as part of an experimental archaeology trip.

Perhaps the most ambitious expedition of these Viking reconstructions was undertaken by the Draken Harald Harfagre (Dragon Harald Fairhair, after a Norwegian king) in 2016. This ship set sail from Norway across the North Atlantic bound for Iceland, Greenland, Canada and the USA. A reconstruction of a Viking ‘great ship’ it carried a crew of 32 men and women of varying nationalities. The Draken Harald Harfagre is an open, clinker-built ship 35 meters (115 ft) from stem to stern, the largest reconstruction of a Viking-era ship to date. One of the aims of its builders was to explore the world as the Vikings did in the past, following the journey of the famous Leif Erikson who is believed by some to be the first European to land in America. The Draken’s landfall in Newfoundland was at St Anthony’s Harbour near the site of the Viking-era settlement at L’anse aux Meadows.

28 March 2020

Top 5 places that were raided by Vikings in Ireland

This very interesting article excerpt on the Vikings in Ireland is from a travel company, IB4UD, Ireland Before You Die, and it lists most if not all the important Viking sites in Ireland. (Ed.)



It’s believed that the first Vikings in Ireland arrived on Irish shores around the late 8th century and repeatedly invaded the Irish coastline from the 9th to the 11th century.

While it’s true that the Vikings terrorized the Irish people during their 9th to 11th-century raids on Irish towns and monasteries, they also had an undeniable and significant role in shaping and influencing many of Ireland’s largest cities which, still to this day, have strong links and ties to the Vikings.

In this article, we will list what we believe are the top five places that were raided by Vikings in Ireland.

Glendalough, Wicklow – one of Ireland’s most ancient monastic sites

Glendalough is an ancient monastic site that is located in the stunning Wicklow National Park. The monastery became a target for a widescale Viking invasion in the 9th century as the Vikings raided the monastic city in the hopes of finding valuable relics.

While this Viking raid resulted in the destruction of many sites on the monastery, Glendalough as a whole survived and continued to remain one of Ireland’s most important ancient monastic sites.
Glendalough is still a popular tourist attraction to this day and attracts thousands of visitors every year.

21 March 2020

Vikings in Ireland

I have featured other articles from Ancient Origins in the past about the incredible archaeology going on under S. Great George's Street, Dublin, Ireland, and here's another good one for your reading pleasure.

They have unearthed a great deal of artifacts from the site in the recent past, now, here is another wrinkle on the subject of Vikings in Ireland. (Ed.)  


Recent Discoveries Shedding New Light on the Fearsome Warriors that Invaded Irish Shores

20 MARCH, 2019 - 16:49 JOANNA GILLAN

As science progresses and archaeologists are forging new positive relationships with developers around Irish heritage, more secrets from Ireland’s Viking past are coming to light, and they are not just found in burial grounds, unearthed dwellings, and old settlements; they can be found in the DNA of the modern-day Irish people.

The Vikings may have only been present in Ireland for three centuries – a drop in the ocean compared to its long and dramatic history – but recent research is showing that their influence was far greater than previously realized.

The Viking Age in Ireland – Do We Need to Revise the Textbooks?
The Viking Age in Ireland is typically seen to have begun with the first recorded raid in 795 AD, taking a turning point in 841 AD when the first settlements were established in Dublin and Annagassan near Dundalk, and ending in 1014 AD with the Viking defeat at the Battle of Clontarf by the Irish High King Brian Boru (although the Vikings continued to play a role in Ireland’s history until the arrival of the Normans in 1171 AD).

Recent archaeological discoveries in Dublin have been raising questions about whether this timeline is accurate, hinting that there may be a lot more to the story. In 2003, excavations were underway as part of the expansion of the Dunnes Stores headquarters on Dublin’s South Great George’s Street, when archaeologists found the bodies of four Vikings aged between their late teens and late twenties.

11 March 2020

1500-year old Viking arrowhead found

It's a shame that many journalists think it necessary to beat the drum of climate change as being responsible for a changing climate.

Hello - that is what climate has done for all the thousands of years that we have a record of, it changes, so I agree with that part.

Anyway, this excerpt from the UK's Daily Mail is good, and way better than all the others written by hand-wringing, left-wing infected, competitive journalists from other publications, about the artifacts found as a result of catastrophic, climate change induced, glacier meltdown. (Ed.)


Viking's 1,500-year-old arrowhead that was preserved in ice is discovered after climate change melts Norwegian glacier

An ancient arrowhead dating back to the Germanic Iron Age was discovered in southern Norway, along with its arrow shaft and one of the feather in glaciers locate in southern Norway.

Archaeologist uncovered a 1,500-year-old iron arrowhead in the Norway glacier Jotunheimen
This team investigates melting glaciers in the country to find such  relics - they have found more than 2,000

The arrowhead  dates back to the Germanic Iron Age, is seven inches long and weighs a little over an ounce
PUBLISHED: 16:23 EDT, 6 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:23 EDT, 6 March 2020
Climate change has revealed a Viking's missed shot that laid hidden in a glacier for 1,500 years.

The arrowhead, made of iron, is seven inches long and weighs just a little over an ounce – and melted at the ice at one mile.

Archaeologists involved noted that climate change has made its way to the Jotunheimen glacier, which is warming temperature sand melting the ice – allowing the artifacts to be set free from their icy cage.