Rare Viking Ship Burial Found in Norway

Rare Viking Ship Burial Found in Norway

Rare Viking Ship Burial Found in Norway

It’s helping us to learn more about our history as technology progresses. Norway researchers used it to identify a burial of a Viking ship on an island.

The outline of the ship was found and investigators were able to examine the submerged vessel without even digging into the earth.

The exciting find was made after a survey of a historic church on the small island of Edøy, situated in western Norway 70 miles (85 km) west of Trondheim.

A team of local experts and representatives from NIKU (Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage) carried out the survey. To map the area around the historic church, the team used georadar technology.

Edøy old Church.

Using radar pulses, Georadar creates images of the area below the topsoil. It can help in Identifying outlines of larger structures and artefacts. This is a non-invasive method of investigation and helps archaeologists to discover exciting things without digging.

This technology was developed by the LBI ArchPro Institute in Austria and its partners and it has been used successfully around the world.

The team has been surveying the area since 2018, but only discovered the ship in September 2019. The technology showed the unmistakable outline of a ship and it was ‘located just below the topsoil’ reports the Local.ie. Knut Paasche, a NIKU archaeologist, stated that the burial is “unusual and exciting,” reports The Daily Mail .

It was located in an area where there was once a large mound , about 18 ft (6 meters) in length, which was probably a pre-Christian burial place.

The ship burial site. ( NIKU)

Based on the evidence, it appears that the ship could be 1000 years old or even older. However, more evidence needs to be collected before it can be dated. 

The Daily Mail quotes Pasche as stating that “It is too early to say anything certain about the age for the ship, but the ship must be from the Merovingian or Viking Period .”

Using data from the survey and other examples of ship burials found using georadar, the experts were able to estimate the size of the boat. The vessel was originally about 56 feet (19 meters) long and its keel was 43 feet (14 meters) wide.

Despite being buried under the ground for centuries, the ship is not intact. The fore and aft sterns of the vessel appear to have disintegrated or been destroyed. This may have been a result of a farmer plowing at the Viking burial site .

The vessel was originally about 56 feet long and its keel was 43 feet wide.

However, experts believe that the vessel is in good condition overall. There have only been three similar well-preserved burials found in Norway and they all were discovered many years ago.

The condition of the ship may mean that it could contain items of archaeological importance. Forbes reports that the archaeologists have named their discovery the ‘Edøy Ship.’

Ship burials are where a deceased person is placed in a ship and buried. Vikings believed this type of burial helped the dead in the afterlife.

According to Forbes, ‘It is thought that Viking ship burials were reserved for people of significant status in the community’. They were often filled with grave goods, including weapons and jewellery.

There have been several important finds of Viking boat burials in Norway in recent times. A 1000-year-old ship burial was found under a market square in Trondheim in 2017. And a rare double boat burial was recently found in central Norway.

Georadar also identified a ship burial in Viksletta, near Oslo. Two similar Viking burials in boats have also been found in Sweden.

According to The Daily Mail , ‘Archaeologists also saw traces of settlements’ near the find. The remains may indicate that there are more archaeological sites to be found at the location.

Edøy Island was an important centre in the Viking Age as it was on an important shipping lane and a coastal pilgrimage route.

Prow of a Viking ship in a museum in Oslo, Norway

There are no imminent plans to excavate the ship burial on the island. More survey work may need to be conducted on the site first.

The experts from NIKU hope to collaborate more with local authorities. They believe that geo-radar can help to identify more archaeological sites in the future.

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