27 May 2019

Rare and Historic Viking Ship Burial in Norway

I had to use an excerpt from an article  posted two months ago this time around, because the field work season hasn't begun in Viking country as yet, so we must make do.

Perhaps this year the field work can revolve around something important rather than the current thrust to find a female Viking warrior, even if a few lies are necessary, no matter what. 

As always the complete article may be read at the source by clicking the title link or the Read more link at the end of this short excerpt. (Ed.)

March 25, 2019

Sea Stallion, North Sea on the way to Dublin
Using ground-penetrating radar, archaeologists have identified a Viking ship burial in Vestfold County, Norway.

After using georadar or ground-penetrating radar (GPR), archaeologists have identified what they believe is a rare and historic Viking ship burial in Borreparken, which can be found in Vestfold County, Norway.

As Forbes reports, this particular burial site is already quite famous for its many Viking treasures, including the Oseberg and Gokstad ships, which are now safely preserved in Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum.

Announcing the stunning find of the new Viking ship in Norway, Ola Elvestuen, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, attended a press conference at the Midgard Viking Center in Horten. He called the discovery “historic.”

As Elvestuen also noted, while seven Viking ships dating from between 800 and 1,050 A.D. have already been discovered in Norway, three of these were found specifically in Vestfold.
“This is a new find that will be noticed throughout the world. In the past, fifteen ship finds from the Viking Age were found in Europe. In Norway, seven discoveries have been made, three of which are in Vestfold.”

19 May 2019

Viking: rediscover the legend

This review, posted in Current Archaeology advises us that spectacular finds continue to be made by archaeologists throughout the UK, and elsewhere. These objects are currently on tour and are displayed in British museums.(Ed.)


Review – Viking: rediscover the legend

Posted by
Kathryn Krakowka

March 21, 2019

British Museum, Early Medieval, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, York Museum Trust

Found in 2012, the Hingham Hoard contains silver jewellery and coins from the reign of King Edmund, who was killed after losing in battle against the invading Viking Great Army. (IMAGE: Anthony Chappel-Ross)

An exhibition tracing the Vikings through the British Isles has reached the final stop on its two-year tour. Lucia Marchini headed to Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery to learn more about Norsemen in Norfolk and beyond.

A fragment of a 9th-century stone cross from a church in North Yorkshire carries on it a dramatic image: a central figure, armed with a large sword, seemingly drags a captive woman. This scene vividly conjures up a popular perception of the Vikings, but it is far from being the whole picture, as Viking: rediscover the legend – a British Museum and York Museum Trust partnership exhibition, featuring material from the collections of both institutions – explores.

Another stone cross on show at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery (the exhibition’s final venue) tells a different story. Presenting a mix of imagery, with the combination of angels and interlocking beasts reflecting Anglo-Saxon Christian and Norse religious traditions, the limestone cross from Newgate, York, was carved between AD 925 and 975. Many Vikings in the British Isles adopted Christianity while still retaining some of the beliefs from their homelands. This fusion can be seen also in their coinage, with some showing Christian symbols on one side and pagan motifs on the other. Even the adoption of coins (which were more prevalent in England) in preference to ingots for trade, highlights their pragmatic approach towards commerce and how they adapted to maximise trade in new lands.
The spectacular Ormside bowl, an 8th-century ecclesiastical vessel presumably looted from a church, was found in a Viking burial in 1823. (IMAGE: York Museums Trust)
Interactions between early medieval Scandinavia and Britain, and the legacy of these Norse newcomers, are charted through spectacular hoards and individual artefacts from the British Museum, York Museum Trust, and Norwich Castle Museum’s own collections. The juxtaposition of iron ship-rivets from Norway with a double-edged iron sword and a gold arm-ring, both found in Yorkshire, offers a neat snapshot of the means and motivation for the early expeditions across the North Sea, as well as the resistance put up by the locals. The 9th-century Anglo-Saxon sword was found by a nine-year-old boy, who was playing next to Gilling Beck, near Richmond; he was later awarded a Blue Peter badge (also on show) for his discovery. The sword’s handle is finely decorated with geometric patterns and plant designs in copper-alloy. The arm-ring from York, containing more than 300g of gold, is a substantial object and an unusual one in its choice of material – silver was much more commonly used in items of this kind. It may have been given by a ruler to an important follower in recognition of their service and loyalty.Among other treasures, raiding parties were seeking Anglo-Saxon silverwork, often adorned with intricate designs that were first practised on pieces of bone. One remarkable example of Anglo-Saxon art and probable loot is the stunning Ormside bowl. It is an 8th-century ecclesiastical vessel that had been taken from a church and adapted, to be found centuries later, in 1823, in the burial of a Viking warrior. This exquisite artefact is decorated with gilded bronze and silver, blue glass, and silver studs, as well as a mix of motifs combining Anglo-Saxon-style creatures and Continental-style vines. It is one of several key objects in the exhibition that are accompanied by ‘dig deeper’ sheets offering more detailed information.