Monday, November 26, 2018

New 66ft Viking Ship Found In Ostfold County Norway

Norsk Institutt For Kulturminneforskning

Sarpsborg, Østfold, 15 October 2018

Georadar detects a Viking ship in Norway

Archaeologists armed with a motorized high resolution georadar have found a Viking ship and a large number of burial mounds and longhouses in Østfold County in Norway

Here's a short video on youtube

The discoveries were made by archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) with technology developed by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI ArchPro).

The Viking ship find is just below the topsoil, at a depth of approximately 50 cm initially buried in a burial mound.

The digital data visualisations reveal a large and well-defined 20 m long ship-shaped structure. The data indicate that the lower part of the ship is still preserved. Further non-invasive investigations are planned to digitally map the unique find and the wider landscape.

The sensational find is located at Viksletta right next to the monumental Jelle mound in Østfold County, Norway. The team has discovered the traces of at least eight so far unknown burial mounds destroyed by ploughing. But with the help of georadar, the remnants and enclosing ditches of these massive monuments can still be mapped in detail.

One of the former mounds clearly shows the remains of a Viking ship initially buried in the mound.

There are clear indications that the ship's keel and floor timbers are preserved in the grave. Based on other Viking ship finds the archaeologists worked out a first hypothetical reconstruction of the ship.

- We are certain that there is a ship there, but how much is preserved is hard to say before further investigation”, says Morten Hanisch, county conservator in Østfold.

- This find is incredibly exciting as we only know three well-preserved Viking ship finds in Norway excavated long time ago. This new ship will certainly be of great historical significance as it can be investigated with all modern means of archaeology", says

Dr. Knut Paasche, Head of the Department of Digital Archaeology at NIKU, and an expert on Viking ships. 

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Secret of Viking Success? A Good Coat of Tar…

 Industrial pits led to waterproofed ships for epic pillaging raids.

The Guardian

Vikings conquered Europe thanks to an unexpected technological innovation. They learned how to make tar on an industrial scale and used it to waterproof their longships so that they could undertake large-scale, lengthy pillaging trips around Europe – and across the Atlantic, say archaeologists. Norse raiders were the original Boys from the Blackstuff, it transpires.

The discovery is the work of Andreas Hennius, of Uppsala University. In Antiquity, he reports finding critical evidence that shows output from tar pits in Scandinavia increased dramatically just as Vikings began raiding other parts of Europe. These pits could have made up to 300 litres in a single production cycle, enough to waterproof large numbers of ships. “Tar production … developed from a small-scale activity … into large-scale production that relocated to forested outlands during the Viking period,” says Hennius. “This change … resulted from the increasing demand for tar driven by an evolving maritime culture.”


Now Hennius has pitched in with his theory. Tar drove Vikings to be the hammer of the gods in Europe. He says tar has been used for millennia to waterproof boats. It was made in pits filled with pine wood, covered with turf and set on fire. Small domestic tar kilns were found in Sweden in the early 2000s. These dated to between AD100 and 400. But much larger pits were found during road construction and dated to between 680 and 900, when the rise of the Vikings began. They were originally thought to have been used for making charcoal, but Hennius’s investigation has revealed they had a different purpose: tar manufacture.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Swedish Archaeologists Uncover Brutal 5-th Century Massacre

By Aliyah Kovner
26 Apr 2018, 12:26

Excavations from an Iron Age fort in modern-day Sweden revealed brutalized human remains and other macabre traces of a massacre that stopped a small Scandinavian community in its tracks some 1,500 years ago.

Six years after the archaeological investigations began, the team has published a report of their findings in the journal Antiquity. Although only 6 percent of the site has been unearthed and analyzed, the evidence gathered thus far paints an unprecedently vivid picture of life – and death – in late 5th-century Europe, a turbulent period following the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Located on the island of Öland off the coast of southeast Sweden, the Sandby Borg ringfort resembled a large oval-shaped mound of grass and dirt encircled by crumbling stone before the archaeologists arrived. Hoping to preserve the contents of the site from recently spotted treasure hunters, the team slowly but surely revealed that the unassuming ruins belonged to a 5,000-square-meter (54,000-square-foot) village, containing 53 dwellings, enclosed by stone walls that once stood 4-5 meters (13-16 feet) high.

Within the first few years of the dig, a wealth of luxury items – including gilded brooches, fine glass beads, and imported ornaments – were indeed found at Sandby Borg, as were remnants of abundant food stores; proving that the residents were prosperous and thriving.

Objects found in one of the Sandby Borg homes. Alfsdotter et al./Antiquity, 2018

That is, until an unknown group of attackers descended upon the once-idyllic village, killing some, if not all, of the residents in their homes and on the streets, leaving the bodies to decompose where they lay.

As of now, remains from 26 children and adults have been found inside four houses and near the town center. Many of the remains bear signs of trauma inflicted by blows to the back and sides of the body and head – implying that the victims were caught by surprise and/or unable to fight back.

The skeletal remains of two individuals inside house 40. The remains of the young teenager are stretched out, with the feet on top of the pelvis of an adult man, suggesting that the teenager fell backward over the dead or dying adult. The adolescent (12-15 years old) displays perimortem blunt force trauma on the skull. Alfsdotter et al./Antiquity, 2018

The indiscriminate nature of the siege is further demonstrated by scattered bones from a 2 to 5-year-old child, a 1.5 to 3-month-old infant, and the remains of sheep, dogs, and a horse. It is possible that these victims died not from violence, but rather starvation or neglect soon afterward. Either way, the archaeological record confirms that no one came back for them.

Without written accounts of the event, it’s impossible to know the motivation behind this swift act of brutality. Yet due to the staggering number of valuable goods left behind, the authors conclude that the massacre was not simply "an act of outright plunder”, and is more likely to have been the result of political tensions.

The fact that these commodities were not recovered by other locals after the armed force left, along with the fact that the well-built locale was not resettled, indicates to the team that this event made a lasting impact in the cultural memory of the area.

“I do find it most likely that the event was remembered and that it triggered strong taboos connected to the site, possibly brought on through oral history for centuries,” author Ludwig Papmehl-Dufay told The Guardian.

Viking Expert Is Certain Norse Seafarers Visited Miramichi, Chaleur Bay

CBC News, New Brunswick

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