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Viking artifacts found in archaeology

A lot of archaeological works had been executed to discover more about the Vikings in the past decades. Different discoveries at different places in England and in Europe revealed the presence or movement of the Vikings at different points in time.

Convincing Discoveries in Various Places

Some small artifacts like 9th century coins and lead weights used by Viking traders were found in Anglesey around 1997. Although there was little evidence of the Vikings’ existence in Wales, certain artifacts were found to prove their existence in Anglesey. These included 5 exquisite silver arm rings.

Later, archaeologists Mark Rapp discovered a hidden trench to reveal a 9th century defense wall of stone blocks. There was further evidence of Viking raids during that century where the communities were trying to protect themselves against the Vikings. The discovery of several skeletons in a ditch was a plus point to indicate the brutality of the Vikings during their raids.

There was noted evidence of Viking raids on England especially in Repton where the host of Danish Vikings set camp for the winter. A Viking warrior body was discovered in a Repton churchyard 20 years ago with a sword and a small Thor hammer. The body was killed brutally with wounds in the skull and spine that disemboweled the victim even after death.

A burial with a small hammer like Thor’s was significant in preparing the body for the right ritual of burial according to the Vikings’ beliefs. More excavations came about in 1686 which some purported it to be Ivar the boneless who was a great Viking leader legend.

In Ingleby, more evidence came forth with the discovery of burial mounds. The site was excavated to reveal bodies cremated in the ‘50s with swords, buckles, wire embroidery and nails which accompanied Viking cremation customs.

Viking Trading Evidences

Archaeological discoveries on the Vikings included a bone comb that could have been used as a trade item. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles offered the year 793 as a possible date of the first Viking raid in that place. In Norway, a small wooden bucket with its ladle was discovered in a Viking woman’s grave in Skei. The bucket decoration denoted an 8th century Northumbria era.

More evidence discovered in different parts of England revealed the movement of the Vikings with combs made from reindeer antler. Although the Picts used native red deer to make their combs, some of the reindeer antler combs were found in these communities which provided some insight of possible contact with the Vikings; perhaps through trade.

Another interesting Viking discovery was a brooch mould and a book clasp near Oslo, Norway which gave insight to a possible first Viking town. Lying in a small inlet, this site was well protected by two small islands to encourage trading ships to visit regardless of the wind direction. Viking traders may have disembarked often to trade their goods.

This site may be more than a Viking settlement with its larger size and big buildings of stone foundations and well-built hearths. These evidences hinted of a well planned town to survive the extreme cold in any Norwegian winter. Trading tents could have been erected in the summer to encourage active trading and business.

Further archaeological excavations revealed many types of glass and pottery that was thought to be from the Rhineland. There were also ancient beads from the Orient with brooches which suggested craftsmen collaborating with traders.

Archaeological discoveries revealed various metal objects which archaeologists would not think belonged to the Vikings unless they raided them; these include an Anglo-Saxon monastic book clasp.

Another interesting Viking artifact was a whalebone plaque which was uncovered at Scar in 1985 by an Orkney farmer who found some bones sticking out from a cliff. He spotted a small round metal lump that he took as a souvenir until archaeologists identified the bones as Viking bones in an Iron Age burial site. The lead object which the farmer found was a Viking lead weight.

This led to the uncovering of a Viking Age boat burial with three skeletons comprising a male, female and child. These were buried with common grave items of the Viking such as a brooch, sword and whalebone plaque. Hence, these findings confirmed the Scandinavian links of the Vikings.