While most of the movie lovers are familiar with the concept of boat grave, historians also know that several years ago there were rituals, in which instead of digging a grave for the deceased, the relatives and friends used boat graves. But a recent finding has puzzled the archaeologists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU)University Museum since October.
The team of NTNU researchers found a boat grave of a woman, who died at the farm now known as Skeiet at Vinjeøra, in central Norway. The deceased was placed in the boat with two large shell-shaped brooches and grave goods, jewelry as well as a cow head.
But the discovery of another burial boat stunned the archaeologists. The team of archaeologists excavated the eighth-century boat which is probably between nine and ten meters long, along with man's body as well as buried weapons. It should be mentioned that the woman's burial boat was placed gently inside the man's boat and then buried together. But why these two people were buried together even though they died 100 years apart?
The mysterious boat grave discovery
Raymond Sauvage, an archaeologist at the NTNU University Museum and project manager for the excavation said "I had heard about several boat graves being buried in one burial mound, but never about a boat that had been buried in another boat" adding that a few double boat graves were found in the 1950s at Tjølling in the south of the Norwegian county of Vestfold but still, this is essentially an unknown phenomenon, reported Heritage Daily.
After the finding of the skull parts of the woman in the upper boat grave, the archaeologists believe that they will get some DNA from the skull that will help to receive more information. Another researcher Aina Heen Pettersen at NTNU's Department of Historical Studies said the decoration and the design of a crucifix-shaped brooch in the woman's grave indicated that it is from Ireland.
Pettersen said, "It was common among the Vikings to split up decorative harness fittings and reuse them as jewelry. Several fastenings on the back of this brooch were preserved and were used to attach leather straps to the harness. The new Norse owners attached a pin to one of the fastenings so it could be used as a brooch."
Man's boat grave and Viking relation
The weapons, a spear, a shield and a single-edged sword which were buried along with the man, enabled archaeologists to date the grave to the eighth century. They claimed that since the sword style change through the centuries, this grave belongs to the period that is known as the Merovingian era in Northern Europe.
Sauvage said that it was very important in Viking Age society, to mark the status and power and to consolidate property rights. However, as per the experts, it can be believed that these two people were buried to mark the family's ownership to the farm.