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While Excavating 1000-yo Viking Ship, Norwegians Find Remnants of Elite Society


Further ground penetrating radar scans of the area surrounding the Gjellestad Viking ship burial in Norway discovered in the fall of 2018 have revealed that it was only a later addition to a traditional burial, banquet, and religious complex dating back to the West fall. Roman empire.

Antique Publications Ltd / L Gustavsen

The remains of three longhouses, a banquet hall, 13 smaller burial mounds, and a temple sitting in the field around Jell Mound, the second largest known earthen burial mound in Norway, and one that was first used were identified. time like a halt. cemetery of the society in 550 CE.

Together they form a hitherto unknown “central place”, sites that Scandinavian archaeologists classify as places of great importance to the pre-Christian inhabitants of the peninsula.

Excavations, both academic and amateur, of the Jell Mound and the surrounding areas have produced high-value goods, many of which are now on display in Norwegian museums and include weapons and jeweled personal items.

Researchers suggest that, as can be seen in other burials or political traditions in cultures and nations of the past, linking one’s political or cultural authority to older traditions or places / people of authority was a solid way to consolidate power.

“We believe that the inclusion of a ship burial in what was probably an existing, long-lived mound graveyard was an effort to associate with an existing power structure.” said Lars Gustavsen, lead author of the research paper on additional structures and mounds at the site.

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Indicative of the emergence of a central place at a time when control of land was changing, Gjellestad’s relevance as a political arena was maintained and reinforced with the addition of a ship burial, the ultimate expression of status, wealth and connection in Iron Age Scandinavia ” read paper.

Better impossible

The discovery of a partially intact ship burial is as good as it sounds in European archeology, and the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo houses the only three excavated, all discovered in the 19th century.

The Gjellestad ship is the first to be excavated in over 100 years, and was discovered in a field in southern Norway near the Swedish border in Østfold county by archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute of Cultural Heritage Research. He was buried 1,200 years ago, roughly a decade after the Viking era erupted into violent life with the assault on the English monastery of Lindisfarne in AD 793.

“For the first time in 100 years, we will now excavate a Viking ship. We are very excited about the result, ”Sveinung Rotevatn, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, told state broadcaster. NRK. “It is urgent that we get this boat off the ground.”

Antique Publications Ltd./NIKU

The urgency comes from a fungal growth that is rapidly rotting the ship’s wood. The government awarded $ 1.5 million for the Gjellestad excavation last year.

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In the mid-20th century, according to the Smithsonian, farmers unknowingly built a drainage pipe over the ship’s resting place in the middle of their field. The air leaked to the ground and allowed a destructive fungus to proliferate and devour part of the boat that had not been destroyed so much by time as by the unfortunate discovery of the locals in centuries past.

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If the excavation is quick and clean, historians can guess what kind of ship it is, as the Vikings used different ships to trade, raid, and transport. Measuring 60 feet long, it is not the smallest style of ship built during the Viking era, but not the largest either, such as the famous Gokstad Y Oseberg the boats are approximately 18 and 10 feet longer respectively.

(CLOCK NIKU’s video on the discovery of the Gjellestad Viking ship below).

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