05 December 2020

Left handed Viking sword Discovered in Norway Dig

 Excerpt from the Smithsonian magazine details the discovery of several Viking Age graves in Norway, one of which contained a warrior and his sword. The hypothesis on the swords placement beside the warrior is a stretch, but interesting. (Ed.)

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Left handed Viking sword Discovered in Norway Dig


The 1,100-year-old sword found in Norway measures about three feet long. (Courtesy of NTNU University Museum)

Vikings’ weapons were often buried on the opposite side of where their owners had held them in life, pointing toward belief in a “mirror afterlife.”


Norwegian Archaeologists Unearth Grave of Left-Handed Viking Warrior

SMITHSONIANMAG.COM
SEPTEMBER 4, 2020

Archaeologists conducting excavations in Vinjeøra, Norway, recently uncovered a group of ninth- or tenth-century Viking graves—including one whose unusual layout suggests it may contain the cremated remains of a left-handed warrior.

Most swords found in Viking burials are placed on the right side of the grave, explains George Dvorsky for Gizmodo. But this individual was interred with his weapon on his left side.

In combat, Vikings held their sword with one hand while wielding a shield on the other arm. Right-handed fighters kept their scabbard, or sheath, hanging on the left side to facilitate reaching across and pulling out their blade. When these warriors died, they were buried with their sword and scabbard on the right side in a reversal of how they had appeared in life.

“The idea is that this placement must reflect some beliefs that were important in the mortuary rites,” excavation manager Raymond Sauvage, an archaeologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), tells Live Science’s Laura Geggel. “Other [Viking] items are often found to be placed mirrored of what is normal. Several archaeologists therefore believe that this may reflect a belief that they understood the afterlife to be mirrored of the normal world.”

Researchers from NTNU are excavating the area ahead of expansion of a highway, according to a statement. So far, finds include the overlapping graves of several warriors—including the probably left-handed Viking—and a burial thought to hold the ashes of an early Viking woman.

The archaeologists made this gender determination based on the presence of artifacts such as an oval brooch, a pair of scissors and several colored beads.

 Combined, the proposed woman’s cremated remains weigh just over four pounds, or the estimated weight of a whole body. Most Iron Age burials contain only half a pound of material. For now, Gizmodo notes, the archaeologists don’t have an explanation for the discrepancy.

 Read more…


28 November 2020

Viking Shield Technology Revealed in New Breakthrough Study


An excerpt from an article in Ancient Origins that promises to increase our knowledge of Viking shield technology.

In the past when archaeologists opened a warrior’s grave, little remained of the shield but the iron boss. Now they have a bit more to postulate.

 For example, how do you feel about shield walls? Did the Vikings use them in combat? I don’t know either, but the author of the link furnishing the reader with a contemporary opinion on a 1000+-year old battle tactic doesn’t think so. Who knows? (Ed.)

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 14 OCTOBER, 2020 - 13:59 ASHLEY COWIE

Viking Shield Technology Revealed in New Breakthrough Study

 

How exactly the Vikings and their Iron Age ancestors made their war shields has always been a mystery, but a new study explains this in detail and shines light onto a traditionally shadowy aspect of ancient Nordic warcraft and weaponry.

Dissolving Myths: Vikings Did NOT Hide Behind Shield Walls

A Deadly Formula - Why Viking Weapons and Armor Were So Effective

Viking Re-enactor Nearly Kills Partner During Swordplay

Iron Age and Viking Age cultures in Northern Europe crafted shields from thin wooden boards that were reinforced with animal skins before battles. Until now these covers were only ever considered in aesthetic terms, but a new research project demonstrates how these shield covers “increased strength and enhanced structural integrity.”

 

A well-preserved fragment from the edge of a Viking Age shield was excavated from a grave in Birka (Sweden). The fragment consists of a wooden core which is reinforced with tanned sheep skin (leather) on both sides and an additional layer of tanned cattle skin (leather) around the edge. (Rolf Warming / Society for Combat Archaeology )

 




21 November 2020

Viking longhouse discovered on Iceland

 The following excerpt from an article posted by Ancient Origins tells us about the exciting discovery of a Viking longhouse on Iceland from clues passed down in the Norse sagas of the period. (Ed.)


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2 SEPTEMBER, 2020 - 13:59 ASHLEY COWIE

Viking longhouse discovered on Iceland

In 2013 archaeologists in Iceland came across an ash pile which led to excavations that began in 2017 at Arnarfjörður, near the church town Auðkúla in Iceland. The ash pile led to the discovery of a 10th century farming settlement and over the last three years the archaeologists have been unearthing the layers of evidence. Now, at the end of the 2020 excavation season, an entire earthen house and hut have been uncovered.

 The archaeological site at Arnarfjörður was identified in 2017 with the discovery of an ash pile. In the summer of 2020, archaeologists excavated the 10th century farming settlement. (Margrét Hallmundsdóttir / RUV)

Following the Clues in Ancient Sagas

Written in the first half of the 12th century, Landnámabók is the oldest ever written source to have been discovered detailing the early settlement of Iceland. This epic work of history presents a list of the first Icelandic inhabitants and their families, including 3,000 proper names and 1,400 place names. According to  Landnámabók, the earliest settler in Svínadalur was Eyvindur Audkúla, and around 1300 AD Kolbeinn Bjarnason Auðkýlingur became a Jarl (Earl). From these ancient entries archaeologists have slowly uncovered what they believe is the early 10th century settlement mentioned in the saga.

According to RUV, archaeologists in Iceland discovered an earth house in which they found a large furnace with cracked rocks. In an adjacent hut measuring 23 meters long, a traditional log fire was discovered. Back in 2019, the hut was found after a drill core study and further survey ditches were created this summer. According to Dr. Margrét Hallmundsdóttir, the archaeologist leading the study, the hut is "very large, and the floor is at least seventeen meters long.” Not only is another hut believed to be located nearby, but an iron workshop, a cowshed and three further houses are expected to be located within dig site that they were all connected with iron mining over 1000 years ago.

Read more...


11 November 2020

Largest ever study of Viking genetics

 An excerpt from Medievalists features their report on a paper submitted by a group of archaeologists in Denmark, on the Viking genome. 

I think you will find the article thought provoking and interesting. (Ed.)

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Largest ever study of Viking genetics

The largest genetic study of the Vikings ever done has just been published, and offers surprising discoveries about the medieval warriors, including that they may not be quite as Nordic as hitherto believed.

The researchers, led by scholars from the Univerisity of Copenhagen, have sequenced the genome of 442 bone fragments from the Viking Age, from throughout Europe and Greenland. They were found from archaeological sites dating between the Bronze Age to the about year 1600, and their data was compared to modern-day individuals. The results were reported in the journal Nature.


“The Vikings had a lot more genes from Southern and Eastern Europe than we anticipated.” explains Eske Willerslev, Professor at Lundbeck Foundation Center for Geogenetics at the GLOBE Institute at the University of Copenhage. “They frequently had children with people from other parts of the world. In fact, they also tend to be dark-haired rather than blond, which is otherwise consider an established Viking-trait,” n, Eske Willerslev, explains.

The new study also reveals that generally Vikings were a lot more genetically diverse than the peasant societies on the Scandinavian mainland. “The Vikings lived in coastal areas, and genetically speaking, they were an entirely different people to the peasant societies living further inland,” adds co-author Ashot Margaryan. “The mainland inhabitants had a lot less in common with the Vikings than the peasants who lived in Europe thousands of years ago. You could almost say that genetically speaking, the peasants missed out on the entire Iron and Bronze Age.”

13 October 2020

Viking Temple to Thor and Odin Unearthed In Norway

News from Ancient Origins on the discovery of a Norse temple to the gods at a farm in western Norway where several other exciting discoveries have been made by archaeologists.. (Ed.)

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8 OCTOBER, 2020 - 20:55 ED WHELAN

Viking Temple to Thor and Odin Unearthed In Norway

The Viking Age has fascinated people for generations and now we have a newly discovered ancient Viking temple that has finally shed some new light on Norse religion . Believe it or not, there is a lot we don’t know about these fearsome warriors and daring explorers. For example, scholars know relatively little about specific Viking religious practices. For this reason, the discovery of this ancient Viking temple in Norway, dedicated to the Norse Gods, is an exceptionally important discovery.

An Early Viking Settlement And A Rare Ancient Viking Temple

Recently, a group of archaeologists, from the University Museum of Bergen, have been excavating a massive site on the Ose farm near Ørsta, in western Norway. Their work is part of a recovery project before the construction of a massive new housing project in the area. The experts believe that the site was an early Viking era settlement that dates to 1200 years ago, based on the remains of longhouses found there. Traces of an even earlier agricultural settlement were also found.




The site of the newly discovered rare ancient Viking temple found in Norway with an imagined reconstruction of the actual building. ( University Museum of Bergen )

However, the most exciting discovery made at the site was that of a pagan temple . Evidence of Viking religion and especially places of worship are scarce in Scandinavia. Typically, evidence of religious worship before the coming of Christianity consists of artifacts. Life in Norway reports that “Now for the first time, firm traces of a house of worship have been found in Norway.”

Read more...



28 September 2020

The Little Ice Age and Its Giant Impact on Human History

This Ancient Origins excerpt is from an article about what science refers to as the Maunder Minimum, a normal cycle of extreme weather that has happened before and will happen again.

The Medieval Warm Period preceded the Maunder Minimum, or Little Ice Age and the considerably warmer conditions during that warming period gave the Viking Age its impetus, allowing them to sally forth from their previously ice locked fjords much sooner each year on raiding and trading voyages. 

It is thought by some that the Little Ice Age would have ended the 400+-years of the Viking Age in what is now northern Europe as the area became gripped by the extreme cold. 

Currently we are not even halfway in the 500-year weather cycle that followed the featured event. Nobody reading this will live to see what happens to the Earth towards the end of this cycle, a period of gradual planetary warming.

The sun is in control, not we humans, and those alive toward the end of the current cycle will see much warmer planetary conditions, naturally caused by the sun and/or massive volcanic eruptions. (Ed.)

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The Little Ice Age and Its Giant Impact on Human History
25 SEPTEMBER, 2020 - 18:05 B. B. WAGNER

The Little Ice Age is a period tentatively defined as running from the 13 th/14th to the 19 th century in which the northern hemisphere of Earth endured a limited but substantial cooling period. Now please be forewarned, the Little Ice Age (LIA) should not be confused with the Medieval Warm Period, or the Last Glacial Period , since it carries its own unique events that may have changed the course of history for many human cultures around the globe.

Unlike the previous ice ages and warm periods, which caused havoc to the environment and forced humanity to change its survival methods, the Little Ice Age had varying effects. Some regions of the world were severely affected, leading to war, famine, disease, and even abandonment. While other areas became plentiful and prosperous, both benefiting and lending favorable conditions to strengthen various human civilizations. Though there is no conclusive evidence to explain why this phenomenon happened, there is a working hypothesis to what may have caused it.

The primary culprit may have been the 1257 Mount Salamas eruption, which took place in Lombok, Indonesia. After this one single event, countries around the world were affected in different ways. It appears that the eruption shaped culture and technology for the societies that experienced it. And perhaps, these changes had a significant impact on these cultures and countries themselves.

22 September 2020

 The medieval Vikings may not be exactly what we have always thought they were. (Ed.)

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DNA Study Investigates Viking Identities

Friday, September 18, 2020

Västergötlands Museum)


COPENHAGEN, DENMARK—Science Magazine reports that a team of researchers led by Eske Willerslev of the University of Cambridge and the University of Copenhagen sequenced the genomes of people who lived in Scandinavia during the Viking Age, and the genomes of people who had been buried elsewhere in Europe, including Italy, Ukraine, and Greenland, in the Viking style or with Viking grave goods, from about A.D. 750 to 1050. The study suggests that Scandinavians were more likely to have black hair than those who live in the region today, and they rarely mixed with each other. “We can separate a Norwegian person from a Swedish person from a Danish person,” explained Søren Sindbæk of Aarhus University. The researchers also found that Vikings from Norway tended to travel to Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland; Vikings from Sweden traveled to the Baltics, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine; and Vikings from Denmark headed to England. Several remains in Norway buried in the Viking style were found to have been indigenous Saami people, and no Scandinavian DNA was detected in the genomes of people buried in Viking-style graves on the Orkney Islands. But, some Vikings buried in Scandinavia had Irish and Scottish parents. “These identities aren’t genetic or ethnic, they’re social,” commented archaeologist Cat Jarman of the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo. To read about investigations into the origins of the residents of a major Viking town in Sweden, go to "Land of the Ice and Snow."

IN THE CURRENT ISSUE

30 August 2020

Archaeology Student Finds Viking Trading Post in Norway

It has been a dry spell insofar as posts to this blog are concerned, but here's an excerpt from an article in Smithsonian Magazine to give you something to obsess about other than the worldwide CCP-19 (Chinese Communist Party)virus scam. (Ed.)

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Archaeology Student Finds Viking Trading Post in Norway

Artifacts unearthed at the site include jewelry, coins and pieces of silver

 

Artifacts found at the site include jewelry from Asia (left) and an inscribed weight possibly imported from Ireland. (Julie Holme Damman / Arctic University Museum of Norway / Tor-Ketil Krokmyrdal)

By Alex Fox

SMITHSONIANMAG.COM
JULY 24, 2020

 A graduate archaeology student has discovered a previously unknown Viking trading post in northern Norway, report Torgeir Skeie and Laila Lanes for Norwegian broadcast network NRK.

 As detailed in his newly published master’s thesis, Tor-Ketil Krokmyrdal of the University of Tromsø—the Arctic University of Norway used a metal detector to locate objects dated back to the Viking Age at the Sandtorg farm in Tjelsund, located between Harstad and Narvik.

Sandtorg farm in Tjelsund

Per David Nikel of Forbes, the artifacts include jewelry, coins and pieces of silver used as currency, as well as objects likely imported from the British Isles, Finland and mainland Europe.

Read more…

14 July 2020

The Baltic Finns were Vikings too, but the world ignores it

This excellent article excerpted from Estonian World focuses us on a largely ignored part of Viking history. The author points out that the word Viking is not an ethnicity, rather it is what they were called by others. We do not know what they called themselves, so the author is correct, Viking is not an ethnicity. It can be argued that the term should apply to all the seafaring people of the Baltic Seacoast. 

Assuming that Swedish and Finnish seafarers both have been referred to as Vikings, why not Finnic Estonia, after all that country is just across the narrow Baltic Sea from Sweden, and the area was no doubt part of the trade and pillaging routes followed by everybody from everywhere.

Männi is also correct in saying that archaeologists are not receptive to new ideas. Think how damaged their bloated opinions of themselves would be if they had to retract something, or correct something. Why the masses would then know that it was all guesswork anyway.

Regardless of your opinion on the matter, the author, Archaeologist Marian Männi, makes a good case that Estonia, at the least, should be included with Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, and Poland, as being the Viking's homelands. (Ed.) 


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By Marian Männi / July 12, 2020 




The Estonian archaeologist, Marika Mägi, argues that the Baltic Finns – the people who lived in the territories of modern Finland and Estonia – were Vikings, too, but the world ignores this fact.

This article is published in collaboration with Research in Estonia.

A scientist’s long crusade for making the world see the hidden part of the Viking history. The Estonia and Denmark-based Tallinn University archaeologist, Marika Mägi, has spoken about the Viking Age sailors for many years, but still compares it with banging her “head against the wall”.

It is because she does not speak about the Norsemen, the Scandinavian Vikings, but the ones who lived a bit to the east, along the eastern Baltic Sea shores. And this is often uncomfortable to hear for other scientists and Viking experts, because it forces them to rethink their knowledge. If the world would accept the crucial role of the Baltic region in Viking communication, many stories would have to be retold and many knowledge gaps refilled. And that’s hard work. 

When Mägi points out that they missed a piece in the puzzle, her listeners politely nod and go on ignoring the region. Why make the effort?
The Baltic region, as usual, is seen like an empty void between Scandinavia and Russia.

But this is simply not the truth.



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.)

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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.)

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Derbyshire

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.

Read more...

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.)

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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)


By 
Columnist
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.)

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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.)

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By

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.)  

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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.)

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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.



29 February 2020

Mysterious Tombs of Medieval Warriors Revealed Their Secrets

An excerpt from a SOMAG News article with more info on the graves of the four Viking warriors recently found in Poland, (Ed.)

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Viking Graves in Poland
Mysterious Tombs of Medieval Warriors Revealed Their Secrets
By Matthew Cage
January 30, 2020

Four warrior graves were found in archaeological excavations in Poland. The tombs in the medieval room are thought to belong to an elite group of soldiers. For many civilizations in the Middle Ages, soldiers were among the upper class people.

Four mysterious tombs discovered in Poland reveal the secrets of medieval warriors. According to researchers, the 11th-century tombs were found in a cemetery in the village of Ciepłe in northern Poland. Analyzing the remains and items buried with soldiers, experts discovered that the warriors were of Scandinavian origin.

Dr. from the Gdańsk Archeology Museum. “There were four very richly equipped graves in the middle of the cemetery. They were probably warriors, given the guns and riding equipment found next to their bodies,” Sławomir Wadyl said. According to Wadyl, those buried in the central part of the cemetery represented the elites in social life, as evidenced by the structure of their tombs and equipment.

Read more...

18 February 2020

Viking Ulfberht Sword



This week we have featured an article from Ancient Origins about a very famous sword, perhaps made by Viking smiths, composed of a steel difficult to replicate today. 

This may be the most famous sword blade of the Viking era, but it is thought that the steel that was forged into these magnificent blades originated in the Rhineland of Germany, not Scandinavia.(Ed.)


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Viking Ulfberht Sword
Viking Ulfberht blades were forged with crucible steel and have the curious inscription ‘VLFBERHT' on the blade. Dated between the ninth and 11th centuries, according to an article on War History , today’s best blacksmiths have had a hard time reproducing this material, which is more superior to what is found in average medieval swords. The sharpness of the blades means wielders could easily cut through bones and lower-quality weapons with one blow, which raises the question, 'How did Viking warriors develop such an advanced sword with such a pure metal that was hundreds of years ahead of the Viking technologies of the time?



Ulfberht sword (ninth century), found in 1960 in the Old Rhine close to Friesenheimer Insel, Mannheim. Germanic National Museum in Nuremberg. ( Anagoria/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

The scientists who have tested the swords calculated that crucible steel, with its high carbon content (up to 1.2%) meant it was necessary to have heated the metals to a temperature of 1,600° C. This indicates the Ulfberhts were about 800 years ahead of European methods of achieving such high temperatures, which were not figured out until the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century.

Read more…

09 February 2020

Roman Coin Found in Norway

Discovery of a Roman coin in northern Norway from the time of Emperor Marcus Aurelius is detailed in an article excerpt from Sputnik News.

Not only does archaeology not know how far the Roman Empire extended into the north, they don't know how far one of Earth's greatest civilizations went in any other direction. Most discoveries made over the centuries gave archaeologists enough information that they could give the public an educated guess on what it all means.

A guess is something you might have to take back at some point, and that is the case here. (Ed.)

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Roman coin from the time of Emperor Marcus Aurelius

Roman Coin Found in Northern Norway May Redraw Historic Trade Map
© CC0
SOCIETY
06:33 GMT 20.01.2020


The Roman coin was found only 15 centimetres deep in the soil; it dates back to the time of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and is the northernmost find of its kind, signalling that trade contacts in the area date back to the Iron Age.

In just a few days, hobby archaeologist Ben-Harry Johansen found a 2,000-year-old coin and a richly decorated 1,000-year-old Viking sword at Våg in the municipality of Dønna on the Helgeland coast, national broadcaster NRK reported.

“The coin lay only 15 centimetres into the earth, in the so-called plough layer, where people with metal detectors are allowed to search,” Ben-Harry Johansen recalled with excitement.

Researchers described finds of this calibre as extremely rare, especially at the amateur level.

According to Caroline Fredriksen, a research fellow at the Department of Archaeology and Cultural History at the Science Museum at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, both the coin and the sword are very important finds.
“The sword is special because it has decor with silver and copper inlay. Most people did not possess such great swords in the Viking Age. And the coin is the northernmost Roman coin we have found in Norway,” Fredriksen told NRK.

Ben-Harry Johansen's coin dates back to the time of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), according to Fredriksen. Marcus Aurelius, also a Stoic philosopher, ruled from 161 to 180 and was the last of the “Five Good Emperors”, as well as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire.
“This finding suggests that Dønna had international contacts as early as the Iron Age. The findings show that Nordland was part of the Iron Age trade network,” Fredriksen concluded.

According to the research, metal detectors used for hobby purposes are becoming increasingly trendy in Norway, and the metal search associations are reporting increasing interest. This is reflected in the the number of historical discoveries that increased dramatically over the past decade. This, in turn, has raised objections from a number of professionals, as well as the police.

“In Norway, metal searching is legal, as long as you follow the Cultural Heritage Act, and are complying with the the guidelines for private metal searching,” Frederiksen explained, suggesting that there are arguments to be made for and against hobby archaeology.

37-year-old Ben-Harry Johansen and his friends go on trips with metal detectors as often as they can, but they say it's a time-consuming hobby. Still, he has found several objects of interest, including a silver bracelet, an axe and a lead cross with a runic inscription.

“I am interested in history, and there has been great activity by Vikings here on the island. Here, among other things, there is a boat tomb and several burial mounds, which I find interesting,” Johansen said. “As in Dønna, for example, where the objects found can say something about the wealth and social status of the place, but also who the people here were in contact with”.

03 February 2020

Viking Graves Found in Poland

The following excerpt from a Polish FirstNews article, regards the finding of graves containing four Viking warriors that purportedly came to northern Poland from Denmark about 1000-years ago. (Ed.)

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Viking Graves Found in Poland

The graves were found in a medieval cemetery in the village of Ciepłe, northern Poland.Z. Ratajczak
Archeologists find VIKING graves in Polish village
HISTORY | LIFE
ANNE CHATHAM JANUARY 24, 2020

Archaeologists in northern Poland have made an unexpected discovery: certain local graves from the Middle Ages belonged to warriors from Scandinavia.

The discovery was made in a medieval cemetery in the village of Ciepłe, in the Pomeranian region in northern Poland.

Some of the graves are around 1,000 years old; they belong to people who lived during the reign of Bolesław the Brave, the first King of Poland, who lived from 967 to 1025.

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Archaeology news: Researchers in Poland uncovered the remains of four Scandinavian warriors (Image: J. Szmit/Z. Ratajczyk)

28 January 2020

Rot Hastens Viking Ship's Excavation

This article excerpt comes to us from Norway - newsinenglish.no - where archaeologists have located another Viking ship burial. The difference this time is that Norway has not excavated a complete Viking Age ship in 114-years, and this one was found using ground penetrating radar - Georadar. Now that is definitely noteworthy.

Scientists hope to excavate the entire area as soon as possible out of fears that the ship could be lost due to rot, and to discover what else may be buried there. I can hardly wait for more on this developing story. (Ed.)

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January 20, 2020

Archaeologists and Norway’s director of cultural heritage are calling for rapid excavation of a Viking ship found buried in a field at Gjellestad near Halden in the fall of 2018. They’ve won initial support from government officials, setting the stage for what could be the first full-scale Viking ship excavation in Norway for 114 years.

Preliminary excavation work at the Viking ship site at Gjellestad was carried out late last summer. Now experts recommend a full-scale dig of the entire area.
PHOTO: Riksantikvaren/Lene Buskoven

“A Viking ship is so important for Norwegian history, and we have an international responsibility here,” said Ola Elvestuen, government minister in charge of culture and the environment, just after test results from the site were presented on Friday. They were extracted during careful and preliminary digging around the vessel in August and September of last year.
Samples from the so-called “Gjellestad-ship’s” keel found last year have revealed signs of mildew or dry rot, indicating that the vessel could rapidly deteriorate if left in the ground. The overall condition of the ship was described as poor.
“When it’s no longer an alternative to take care of the vessel by letting it remain in the ground, this is no longer about how much of the ship should be dug out, but about when, how and to what degree it should be done,” Elvestuen added. He fears, along with the experts, that much of the vessel may rot away unless a major excavation gets underway “in the course of quite a short time.”
Project leader Christian Glorstad of the University of Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History showed a sample of the Viking ship to Environment Minister Ola Elvestuen and Riksantikvar Hanna Geiran, Norway’s director general of cultural monuments. PHOTO: KMD
The vessel’s discovery through the use of georadar made international news in the fall of 2018. It’s believed to have been buried along with a Viking chief referred to in one of the sagas as “King Jell” in the area that’s also believed to contain five Viking langhus (literally, long houses that housed both people and animals) and at least 10 burial mounds. Two of the houses date from the years 400-500 while the ship has been linked to the early Viking period that ran from around 800-1050AD. Archaeologists have dated it to 733AD at the earliest.