Archaeological news about the Archaeology of Early Medieval Europe from the Archaeology in Europe web site

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Vikings Online Course


Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers 

22 January to 5 April 2014


Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers is an online archaeology course run by the University of Oxford's Department of Continuing Education.
The course runs for ten weeks and successful completion carries an award of ten CATS points. Students write two short assignments as part of the course.
Online forums for each unit enable students to discuss the topic being studied, and help from the online tutor is always available
You can find more details here...
You can find details of other online archaeology courses here...

Thursday, 19 December 2013

New evidence for Battle of Hastings site considered

The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the Battle of Hastings and the death of King Harold

New evidence that questions the traditional site of King Harold's death during the Battle of Hastings is being considered by English Heritage.
Battle Abbey in East Sussex is said to stand on the spot where King Harold died when the English army was routed by the Normans in 1066.
But Channel 4's Time Team claims he fell on the site of what is now a mini roundabout on the A2100.
Abbey curator Roy Porter said the theory would be taken into account.
English Heritage runs 1066 tours of the traditional site of the Battle of Hastings but the actual location has been disputed before.
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1066 and all that


The traditional location for the Battle of Hastings - the site of Battle Abbey - has been called into question.

New research by the Time Team shows that the Battle of Hastings was not fought on the site where it was believed to have taken place. In recent years other theories have been put forward to suggest where the battle took place, but work by the Time Team has shown good arguments for a new location.

Trevor Rowley will discuss the new information in his Oxford Experience course 'William the Conqueror' and incorporate it into the field trip to the battle site. This which will mean that Trevor's students will be amongst the first visitors to the new location.

You can register for Trevor's 'William the Conqueror' course here...

Battle of Hastings 'fought at site of mini roundabout'


Channel 4's Time Team believe they have identified the site of the Battle of Hastings and death of King Harold - now occupied by a mini roundabout


It might seem an inauspicious spot for one of the most seminal moments in the nation’s history.
But new research suggests that the death of King Harold in battle against William the Conqueror’s men actually occurred, not on the site of the high altar of Battle Abbey, where it is commemorated, but on a mini roundabout.
The precise location for the Battle of Hastings has long been in dispute, with competing historians making claims for three rival sites.
Now, an investigation by Channel 4’s Time Team has concluded the battle – and the death of England’s last Anglo-Saxon king – was actually centred on a fourth site: a road junction on the A2100 in East Sussex.
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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Double graves with headless slaves


In the Viking era, a number of slaves were beheaded and then buried together with their masters. New methods of skeleton analysis reveal more about the life of the poor more than a thousand years ago.

In 1975, three intact skeletons from the Iron Age were found on the Tommeide farm in Tomma. Naumann interprets this as a family grave. - Despite possible kinship between them, probably as members of the same household, the child nevertheless had a diet that was different from that of the two adults during the last years of their lives. (Photo: Anne Stalsberg, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet)

How was life for common people in Norway during the period 400–1050 AD? Can we learn more? Yes, according to Elise Naumann, research scholar in archaeology. By using isotope analysis to examine ancient skeletons, she has made several remarkable discoveries. The research results from the analysis of skeletons found at Flakstad in Lofoten have also been reported in the American newspaper USA Today.

Read the rest of this article..

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Isotope analysis reveals diet of beheaded Viking slaves


In the Viking era, a number of slaves were beheaded and then buried together with their masters. New methods of skeleton analysis reveal more about the life of the poor more than a thousand years ago.

Isotope analysis reveals diet of beheaded Viking slaves
In 1975, three intact skeletons from the Iron Age were found on the Tommeide farm in Tomma. Naumann interprets this as a family grave. - Despite possible kinship between them, probably as members of the same household, the child nevertheless had a diet that was different from that of the two adults during the last years of their lives [Credit: Anne Stalsberg, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet]
How was life for common people in Norway during the period 400–1050 AD? Can we learn more? Yes, according to Elise Naumann, research scholar in archaeology. By using isotope analysis to examine ancient skeletons, she has made several remarkable discoveries. The research results from the analysis of skeletons found at Flakstad in Lofoten have also been reported in the American newspaper USA Today.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Building is underway at The new Wessex Gallery of Archaeology, The Salisbury Museum

Anglo-Saxon satchel mount c.700 AD. Gold and Silver foils with repoussé decoration. 
Found with the burial of an Anglo-Saxon ‘princess’ at Swallowcliffe, Salisbury.
Amesbury Archer Gold Hair Tresses - 2,300 BC. The oldest gold objects found in Britain, 
Copyright Ken Geiger/National Geographic.
Polished macehead made from gneiss found with a cremation burial at Stonehenge,  3,000 – 2,500 BC.

Building is underway at The new Wessex Gallery of Archaeology, 
The Salisbury Museum

Building has begun on the new Wessex Gallery at the Salisbury Museum, which will make it clear for the first time exactly why Salisbury and it’s nearby World Heritage Sites hold a unique place in British history.

The new gallery will be of international importance, telling the story of Salisbury and the surrounding area from prehistoric times to the Norman Conquest. Realm Projects, the Nottinghamshire based builders who worked on the Hepworth Wakefield and The Jewish Museum, have been contracted to complete the works.

“By Christmas this year the major construction work will be complete,” said museum director Adrian Green with a gleam in his eye. “In roughly seven months, the new Wessex Gallery will be ready.”

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Sunday, 1 December 2013

Treasure trove reveals Iron Age town


Västra Vång in Blekinge is now a sleepy rural community on Sweden’s southern Baltic coast. It has never been mentioned in ancient or medieval writings. So why are gold figurines and bronze busts turning up there?

Perhaps the locals should have had suspected there was a wealth of history in the soil beneath them. Several discoveries in the past and more recently show that long ago, this spot was out of the ordinary. 
Burial mounds from the Viking Age abound here. In the 1860s residents dug up a six kg Viking treasure consisting of jewellery and over 4,000 silver coins. But archaeologists are now making discoveries that suggest this place was a significant, but unmapped centre.
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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Basilica excavation


The Cyprus Antiquities Department, supported by members of the Defence Archaeological Group, have been excavating a 7th century Basilica in the area of RAF Akrotiri recently.

The excavation, which is now in sixth year, is a significant discovery and as experts continue to unearth more of the ancient ruin, there is enough evidence to suggest it was a building of enormous importance. 


The huge site, estimated to have been the size of Westminster Abbey, which the Antiquities Department dates back to approximately 616, is believed to have been a holding area for holy relics brought over from Jerusalem and boasts an incredible wealth of stunning mosaics – now protected with special gravel – marble, gold leaf trimmings, bronze and statues.


And according to Eleni Procopiou, an area officer for the Antiquities Department, its discovery should not be underestimated.


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Ancient board game piece unearthed at Lyminge dig


A 7th century board game piece, the first discovery of its kind for 130 years, has been unearthed in Kent by University of Reading archaeologists.

Ancient board game piece unearthed at Lyminge dig
The piece is made from a hollow cylinder of bone and has a central bronze
rivet [Credit: University of Reading]
Researchers believe the hollow bone cylinder found at the Lyminge dig belongs to an early backgammon or draughts-type games set.

It was found in the remains of an Anglo-Saxon royal hall where board games were traditionally very popular.

Project leader Dr Gabor Thomas called it a "wonderfully evocative discovery".


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Gambling of high-living Anglo-Saxons revealed by archaeological find

The Anglo-Saxon gaming piece found in the Kent village of Lyminge.
Photograph: Design and Print Studio/University of Reading
It would have been a very expensive toy, expertly crafted and imported across the Channel – and archaeologists say it provides a glimpse of the luxurious life of Anglo-Saxon nobles in 7th-century Kent.
The little gaming piece is the only one discovered at an Anglo-Saxon habitation site, although many cruder examples have been found in graves. It is the first piece of such quality found since the excavation of a princely grave in Buckinghamshire in the 1880s.
"This piece comes from a high-end – Harrods – backgammon set," the Reading University archaeologist Gabor Thomas said. "Not only high-end but quite possibly Italian – Ferrari – high-end, as the best parallels outside England are from the 6th-century Lombard kingdom. If such pieces are indeed of Lombardic manufacture, then the implication is that the kings of Kent enjoyed the latest fashions in gaming culture, courtesy of their far-reaching continental contacts."
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Monday, 18 November 2013

VIKING RUNESTONE FOUND ON MEDIEVAL SCHOLAR’S FARMLAND

The runestone found at Naversdale, Orphir. (Picture:www.theorcadianphotos.co.uk)

In what has been described as an “amazing coincidence”, a viking runestone with a religious inscription has been discovered on a farm owned by archaeologist Dr Sarah Jane Gibbon, an expert on Norse church history.
Found by Dr Gibbon’s father, Donnie Grieve, a retired teacher from Harray, the runes on the broken stone are a 19-character Latin passage of part the Lord’s Prayer — “who art in heaven hallowed”.
Measuring approximately 8cm by 24cm, it was discovered by Mr Grieve at Naversdale farm in Orphir while he was gathering building stone from a field on September 26.
He said: “I recognised it right away as being runes. It’s very recognisable and very clear.
“It’s unusual, because it’s a Latin inscription — part of the Lord’s Prayer. I don’t think there’s any record of any inscription like that in Orkney or Shetland, so it’s unusual.
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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Peterborough solar farm: Archaeologists unearth Roman finds


Roman pottery, evidence of a Roman settlement and "possibly Saxon" artefacts have been found at a proposed solar farm site near Peterborough.
The land at Newborough is being excavated ahead of a city council decision about the solar farm plan.
Richard O'Neill, from Wessex Archaeology, described the finds as "locally and regionally significant".
Work is expected to continue for three weeks, after which the council will consider the archaeologists' report.
Plans for the solar energy farm at three council-owned sites at Newborough, Morris Fen and America Farm were put on hold after English Heritage stepped in suggesting the area could be "nationally important".

Thursday, 7 November 2013

UNRAVELLING THE SOCIAL HIERARCHY WITHIN VIKING SOCIETY


Six Late Iron Age (AD 550–1030) graves were discovered in the northern Norwegian island of Flakstad and partially excavated in the period 1980–1983. There were ten individuals making up three single burials, two double and one triple and unusually for this region the bones were in a good state of preservation.
Although much of the contextual information had been lost due to farming activity, the double and triple burials contained one intact individual in each, along with the post-cranial bones of the other occupants. This situation has been interpreted as decapitated slaves buried with his/her master and the theory is supported by a number of double burials found within Norse societies indicating this practice.
Elise Naumann from the University of Oslo led a study to investigate stable isotope and ancient mitochondrial DNA fragments in order to better understand the social status, geographical and/or familial links within the Flakstad group.
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Monday, 4 November 2013

Viking Graves Yield Grisly Find: Sacrificed Slaves


Viking graves in Norway contain a grisly tribute: slaves who were beheaded and buried along with their masters, new research suggests.

In Flakstad, Norway, remains from 10 ancient people were buried in multiple graves, with two to three bodies in some graves and some bodies decapitated. Now, an analysis reveals the beheaded victims ate a very different diet from the people with whom they were buried.

"We propose that the people buried in double and triple burials might have come from very different strata of society, and that slaves could have been offered as grave gifts in these burials," study co-author Elise Naumann, an archaeologist at the University of Oslo in Norway, wrote in an email.

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PERSIAN SILK IN VIKING BURIALS

Detail of the silk textiles from the Persian region that were found in the Oseberg ship. 
Photo: KHM-UiO

The silk trade was far more comprehensive than we have hitherto assumed and recent research may change our perceptions of the history of the Norwegian Vikings.

After four years of in-depth investigation of the silk trade of the Viking Age, Marianne Vedeler, Associate Professor at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo has found that the Norwegian Vikings maintained trade connections with Persia and the Byzantine Empire through a network of traders from a variety of places and cultures who brought the silk to the Nordic countries.

One hundred small silk fragments

In the Oseberg ship, which was excavated nearly a hundred years ago, more than one hundred small silk fragments were found. This is the oldest find of Viking Age silk in Norway. At the time when the Oseberg silk was discovered, nobody conceived that it could have been imported from Persia. It was generally believed that most of it had been looted from churches and monasteries in England and Ireland.
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Norwegian Vikings purchased silk from Persia


The Vikings did not only go West to pillage and plunder. Most of the silk found in the Oseberg ship may have been purchased by honest means from Persia.

Norwegian Vikings purchased silk from Persia
Silk textiles from the Persian region were found in the Oseberg ship. Among the motifs, we can see parts of special birds associated with Persian mythology, combined with clover-leaf axes, a Zoroastrian symbol taken from the Zodiac. The textiles have been cut into thin strips and used for adornment on clothing. Similar strips have also been found in other Viking Age burial sites [Credit: KHM- UiO]
The Norwegian Vikings were more oriented towards the East than we have previously assumed, says Marianne Vedeler, Associate Professor at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo in Norway. After four years of in-depth investigation of the silk trade of the Viking Age, she may change our perceptions of the history of the Norwegian Vikings. The silk trade was far more comprehensive than we have hitherto assumed.

The Norwegian Vikings maintained trade connections with Persia and the Byzantine Empire. A network of traders from a variety of places and cultures brought the silk to the Nordic countries. Her details are presented in the book “Silk for the Vikings”, to be published by Oxbow publishers this winter, but in this article you can glimpse some of her key findings.


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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Pre-Viking Age Monuments Unearthed Near Burial Ground In Sweden


Archaeologists in Sweden said Thursday they have unearthed the remains of unusually large wooden monuments near a pre-Viking Age burial ground.
As archaeologists dug in preparation for a new railway line, they found traces of two rows of wooden pillars in Old Uppsala, an ancient pagan religious center. One stretched about 1,000 yards (1 kilometer) and the other was half as long.
Archaeologist Lena Beronius-Jorpeland said the colonnades were likely from the 5th century but their purpose is unclear. She called it Sweden's largest Iron Age construction and said the geometrical structure is unique.
"It is a completely straight line and they have dug postholes every 20 feet (6 meters)," she said. "They have had an idea of exactly where this line is going and where to build it. It is a fairly modern way of thinking and we don't have many traces of these sorts of constructions from that time."
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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Uppsala unearths pagan road of old kings


Archaeologists digging in old Uppsala have discovered what appears to be a remarkable display of power of a fifth century Swedish chieftain. Massive posts marked the ancient road in perfect alignment for more than a kilometre. 

"It's exciting because we’ve never seen anything like it in these parts before," Robin Lucas, archaeologist at Uppland Museum, told The Local.

The archaeologists, who were excavating the area in preparation for a new railroad line, discovered 144 post-holes two metres wide and a metre deep in a perfectly straight line spanning a kilometre in Old Uppsala. The post holes are placed precisely six metres from each other.

"It appears to be a processional road leading to Old Uppsala, which was the seat of the early Swedish kings," Lucas said. 


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Pre-Viking Age monuments uncovered in Sweden


Archaeologists in Sweden said Thursday they have unearthed the remains of unusually large wooden monuments near a pre-Viking Age burial ground.

Pre-Viking Age monuments uncovered in Sweden
Archaeologists in Sweden have uncovered this 1km-long row of wooden poles which is
believed to be from the 5th Century, but their purpose is unclear [Credit: flygfoto]
As archaeologists dug in preparation for a new railway line, they found traces of two rows of wooden pillars in Old Uppsala, an ancient pagan religious center. One stretched about 1,000 yards (1 kilometer) and the other was half as long.

Archaeologist Lena Beronius-Jorpeland said the colonnades were likely from the 5th century but their purpose is unclear. She called it Sweden's largest Iron Age construction and said the geometrical structure is unique.


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Friday, 18 October 2013

Unique pre-Viking Age monuments uncovered at Old Uppsala pagan ceremonial site in Sweden

Reconstruction of ancient Slavic boat in Rugen.


Reconstruction of ancient Slavic boat in Rugen.
A significant archaeological discovery was made in the village of Ralswiek on the legendary island of Rügen in 1967. During roadworks an excavator dug out several oak planks from the ground.  The road workers took their finding to a team of archaeologists working nearby and those soon began archaeological excavations during which four ancient Slavic ships and a trading settlement was uncovered. The settlement was one of the most important ports on the Baltic coast existed the 8th century. It was proposed that Rujani (an early Slavic tribe) harboured their fleet in the place of archealogical discovery because it is located in the Bay area protected from sea storms. The village of Ralswiek was destroyed by the enemies, most likely by Danes. This is evidenced by the traces of fire and hidden treasure of 2,203 Arab dichroism.
The archaeological excavation of the ships was not easy. Excacavated ships had to be buried in the ground because there were no funds allocated by the state for ships’ preservation. The ships were dug out for second time in 1980 to be shown to an international conference. The ships had to be buried in the ground once again as no money was provided by the state to preserve the ships.  It was only in 1993 the state provided the funds for archaeological excavations and preservation of ships. The ships were dug out for third time, adequately preserved and a team of ship builders was appointed for ship reconstruction to go ahead.
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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A VIKING WHITEWASH

Peter Steen Henriksen and Sandie Holst excavate Denmark's oldest lime kiln. Photo: National Museum.

It was already known that Iron Age Danes whitewashed their houses and halls with lime to protect clay walls against wind and weather. However it wasn’t clear whether they created their their own lime, or if it was sourced from elsewhere.
Now Danish National Museum archaeologists have found the answer in the rich Viking settlement at Tissø, Zealand. In the spring of 2013 they excavated the first lime kiln from the Danish Late Iron Age, the oldest found in Denmark.

Burning slaked lime

The researchers examined a kiln used to burn slaked lime around the the middle of 800s CE. National Museum archaeologist Sandie Holst explained that, “We knew in advance that the great halls and buildings of Fuglede farmhouse were whitewashed because of previously excavated daub with traces of white chalk, but now we have proof that the limestone was burned in the immediate area” .
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Monday, 7 October 2013

1500 YEAR OLD SWEDISH FORTRESS MASSACRE REVEALED

Archaeologists at Lund University have found what they describe as a moment frozen in time by a brutal massacre, leaving a fort untouched since the 5th century.

Excavation of the Iron Age Sandby borg (ringfort) on Öland, an island off the southeastern coast of Sweden,  has revealed a number of bodies, lying where they fell, in one case, it seems that a couple were cut down from behind as they ran through the house, another body lies in a doorway. The project has been running since 2010 and is directed by Helene Victor for the Department of Archaeology in the local Kalmar Läns museum. It was initially reported last year that the site contained the remains of the unfortunate inhabitants.

Migration period

During what is termed the Migration Period in Scandinavia it was customary to cremate the dead, and it is rare to find uncremated remains. The archaeological site therefore offers important clues about the period, and although five bodies have been discovered in one house alone, human bones have been found in other parts of the fort, making it highly likely that many more bodies are yet to be uncovered.
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Gamers take aim at ancient Pictish stone puzzle

Jigsaw from 800AD: screenshot of the software program that allows gamers and others to play with 3,000 fragments in 3D. Picture: Contributed

ONLINE gaming fans are to be recruited by Scotland’s national museum to harness their technical skills to help piece together more than 3,000 recently discovered fragments depicting the Cross on a Pictish slab.

The project, the first of its kind in the archaeological world, will see participants use a unique 3D programme developed by a Scottish technology firm to try to solve the mystery of the Hilton of Cadboll Stone.

Computer experts believe people who play computer games are more adept at manipulating objects on screen. Nasa has already made use of citizen astronomers who use home computers to sift through time-lapsed data from the Kepler space telescope to search for habitable exo-planets, planets outside the solar system.

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1,500 year old massacre found in Sweden


Archaeologists at Lund University have found what they describe as a moment frozen in time by a brutal massacre, leaving a fort untouched since the 5th century.
1,500 year old massacre found in Sweden
An archaeologist works to uncover one of the skeletons found lying within the
5th-century fort on the Swedish island of Öland [Credit: Lund University]
“There are so many bodies, it must have been a very violent and well organized raid”, says Helene Wilhelmson, a PhD student in historical osteology, who was astounded when the skeletons kept emerging from the Sandby fort site on Öland, an island just off the Swedish coast.

During the Migration Period in Scandinavia it was customary to burn the dead, and very few uncremated remains have previously been recovered. The archaeological site therefore offers important clues about the period, and five bodies have been discovered in one house alone. Human bones have been found in other parts of the fort, making it highly likely that many more bodies are yet to be dug out.


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Monday, 30 September 2013

VIKINGS: LIFE AND LEGEND

Roskilde 6 - VIKING exhibition at the National Museum of Denmark 
© The National Museum of Denmark

mighty warship that sailed nearly 1,000 years ago during the reign of Cnut the Great, will stand at the centre of the British Museum’s Viking exhibition in 2014.
The Viking expansion from their Scandinavian homelands during this era created a cultural network with contacts from the Caspian Sea to the North Atlantic and from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. The culture of the Scandinavians can be viewed in a global context which will highlight the multi-faceted influences arising from extensive cultural contacts. The exhibition will capitalise on new research and thousands of recent discoveries by both archaeologists and metal detectorists.

Masterpiece of ship technology

These new finds have changed our understanding of the nature of Viking identity, trade, magic and belief and the role of the warrior.  Above all, it was the maritime character of Viking society and the extraordinary shipbuilding skills that were key to their achievements. In order to highlight this, the centre of the exhibition will house the surviving timbers of a 37-metre-long Viking warship, the longest ever found and never before seen in the UK.
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Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Vikings are coming...British Museum to launch Vikings: Life and Legend in March 2014

Silver-inlaid axehead in the Mammen style, AD 900s. Bjerringhøj, Mammen, Jutland, Denmark. Iron, silver, brass. L 17.5 cm. © The National Museum of Denmark.

LONDON.- In March 2014 the British Museum will open the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery with a major exhibition on the Vikings, supported by BP. The exhibition has been developed with the National Museum of Denmark and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) and focuses on the core period of the Viking Age from the late 8th century to the early 11th century. The extraordinary Viking expansion from the Scandinavian homelands during this era created a cultural network with contacts from the Caspian Sea to the North Atlantic, and from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. The Vikings will be viewed in a global context that will highlight the multi-faceted influences arising from extensive cultural contacts. The exhibition will capitalise on new research and thousands of recent discoveries by both archaeologists and metal-detectorists, to set the developments of the Viking Age in context. These new finds have changed our understanding of the nature of Viking identity, trade, magic and belief and the role of the warrior in Viking society. Above all, it was the maritime character of Viking society and their extraordinary shipbuilding skills that were key to their achievements. At the centre of the exhibition will be the surviving timbers of a 37-metre-long Viking warship, the longest ever found and never seen before in the UK. Due to its scale and fragility it would not have been possible to display this ship at the British Museum without the new facilities of the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery. 

The ship, known as Roskilde 6, was excavated from the banks of Roskilde fjord in Denmark during the course of work undertaken to develop the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum in 1997. Since the excavation, the timbers have been painstakingly conserved and analysed by the National Museum of Denmark. The surviving timbers – approximately 20% of the original ship - have now been re-assembled for display in a specially made stainless steel frame that reconstructs the full size and shape of the original ship. The construction of the ship has been dated to around AD 1025, the high point of the Viking Age when England, Denmark, Norway and possibly parts of Sweden were united under the rule of Cnut the Great. The size of the ship and the amount of resources required to build it suggest that it was almost certainly a royal warship, possibly connected with the wars fought by Cnut to assert his authority over this short-lived North Sea Empire. 

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Mildenhall Museum ready for Anglo-Saxon warrior & horse

The warrior and his horse are being displayed as they were found in the grave at RAF Lakenheath

A Suffolk museum has taken delivery of the skeletal remains of an Anglo-Saxon warrior and his horse.
The remains were found in 1997 at RAF Lakenheath and they are going on display at nearby Mildenhall Museum.
The warrior is thought to have died in about AD 500 and the find included a bridle, sword and shield.
The bones are being displayed under glass in the same position they were found in and the public will be able to see them next month.
Suffolk Archaeological Service has been in charge of the skeletons, which were part of a cemetery containing 427 graves.
The warrior is believed to have been born locally and was about 30 years old when he died.
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British Museum to show Viking treasures from North Yorkshire

The Vale of York viking hoard, which is going on show at the British Museum

A MAJOR new exhibition featuring Viking finds from North Yorkshire will take place at the British Museum next year.
Vikings: Life And Legend is the first major exhibition on Vikings to be held at the London museum for more than 30 years, and will include artefacts from the Vale of York alongside items from around the UK and Ireland, and the museum’s own collection.
The Vale of York Hoard, which was found by metal detectorists near Harrogate in 2007, will be shown in its entirety for the first time since it was found and jointly acquired by the British Museum and York Museums Trust.
The hoard includes 617 coins, six arm rings and a quantity of bullion and hack-silver, and is considered the largest and most important Viking hoard to be found since 1840’s Cuerdale Hoard, part of which will also will also be included in the exhibition.
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Volunteer will spend winter in the medieval era

Pavel Sapozhnikov decided to spend the winter without modern technology. Source: Dmitry Vinogradov / RIA Novosti

Reenactment performers and history fanatics have decided to conduct a great experiment in Moscow Region: A 24-year-old man is going to stop using all modern technology and spend six months as if he was living in the Middle Ages, without Internet, electricity, or modern clothing. The goal is to see how medieval instruments work and how the mental state of the volunteer may change over the course of the experiment.

A day before the start of the experiment, Pavel Sapozhnikov sets aside all the modern things that he will not be able to use for the next six months. An iPad, an iPhone, scotch tape — all these things will have to wait to be used.
Instead, Pavel takes different essentials of the ninth century: a flint, a steel to strike sparks from flint, a fibula, a rake-comb to get rid of lice.
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Archaeologists unearth section of an Anglo Saxon cross in Weardale

Paul Frodsham, of the AONB Partnership, shows off the section of an Anglo Saxon cross unearthed during a dig in Frosterley

ARCHAELOGISTS excavating a medieval church in a dales village have found further evidence that the site was an Anglo Saxon settlement.
A carved section from an eighth century stone cross was unearthed during a dig at St Botolph’s field in Frosterley in Weardale this week.
The discovery was met with great excitement from the archaeologists and volunteers who were digging on the site as part of the Altogether Archaeology project.
Paul Frodsham, historic environment officer at the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, which is leading the project, said: “This is not the kind of thing that happens every day
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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Viking ship to arrive at British Museum in 'flat pack'

The 37-metre warship was built in southern Norway around 1025, and deliberately sunk in Denmark in the mid-11th century

The longest Viking ship ever found will arrive at the British Museum in a "flat pack" from Denmark early next year, curators have revealed.
The 37-metre ship is the centrepiece of the museum's Vikings: Life and Legend exhibition which opens in March 2014.
"It's essentially an enormous Meccano set which can be put together," curator Gareth Williams told the BBC.

Start Quote

As you might expect of a Scandinavian-designed ship, it comes flat packed”
Gareth WilliamsCurator
It is the British Museum's first major exhibition on Vikings for more than 30 years.
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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Norfolk dig uncovers Anglo-Saxon oven

The oven could be used for at least three tasks - to bake bread, malt barley and dry out grain

A structure uncovered by archaeologists in Norfolk has been confirmed as a 1,300-year-old "rare, multifunctional oven".
The Anglo-Saxon oven was found during an annual dig in Sedgeford, near Hunstanton.
Supervisor Dr John Jolleys said it would have been used to bake bread, malt barley and dry grain.
A second oven and a Saxon pot have also been discovered.
The volunteers initially thought the oven dated back to the Roman times, but the discovery of part of the Ipswich ware pot dated the oven to between 650 and 850 AD.
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Monday, 23 September 2013

Odd tale of headless Norse men: Slaves buried with the rich

This Viking man, in his 20s, was buried with a headless woman, who was in her 20s or 30s.
(Photo: Elise Naumann)

About 1,000 to 1,200 years ago, a Viking man still in his 20s was laid to rest on a craggy island in the Norwegian Sea. A new analysis of his skeleton and others buried nearby — several without their heads — suggests a haunting possibility: Some of the dead may have been slaves killed to lie in the grave with their masters.

Slavery was widespread in the Viking world, and scientists have found other Viking graves that include the remains of slaves sacrificed as "grave goods" and buried with their masters, a custom also practiced in ancient China and elsewhere. But the newly analyzed site is one of a very few Viking burials to include more than one slave, says the University of Oslo's Elise Naumann, a Ph.D. student in archaeology who led the research.

"These are people who had values very different from our own," says Naumann, whose study was published online in the Journal of Archaeological Science last week. "There were probably a very few people who were the most privileged, and many people who suffered."

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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

New evidence of Dingwall's Viking past to be revealed


New evidence confirming Dingwall's origins as a Viking power base are to be revealed at a public meeting in the Highland town later this month.
Dingwall's Cromartie car park is believed to be the site of a "thing", the meeting place of a medieval Norse parliament.
Archaeologists excavated part of the car park last year.
A report on the dig, including the results of radiocarbon dating, will be presented at the meeting.
Highland Council said some "exciting answers" to questions about the town's Viking past will be revealed.
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