Category Archives: SWEDEN

Archaeologists expected a routine dig in Sweden, but they uncovered two rare Viking burial boats

Viking Grave Discovery In Sweden Leaves Archaeologists Stunned

Archaeologists expected a routine dig in Sweden, but they uncovered two rare Viking burial boats
A member of the Arckeologerna team at the gravesite in Sweden.

In more than 50 years, the Swedish authorities have announced the country’s first Viking ship grave findings.

In a routine dig in Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala) By Archaeologists team, 46 miles (74km) north of Stockholm, were shocked as they unearthed the Viking boat graves that included human remains.

There are only a few known burial sites of this kind in the country. While rare in Sweden, the discovery of Viking burial sites has become more frequent elsewhere in Scandinavia.

Last year, Norwegian archaeologists found remains of longhouses and at least one ship lying just below the topsoil near Halden in the south-east of Norway.

Just months later, another ship discovery was made on the shores of the Oslofjord at the Midgard Viking Center in Horten.

Significant remains

One of the two boats found in the grave is intact and holds the remains of a man, horse, and dog. Personal items including a sword, spear, shield, and an ornate comb were also in the grave.

The people discovered in the grave were likely of high social standing, as it is believed such boat burials were reserved for a privileged few.

 A spokesperson from consultant archaeologists Arkeologerna called the find “sensational.”

A comb and shield were among the items found at the Viking grave in Sweden.

“This is a unique excavation. The last excavation of this grave type in Old Uppsala was almost 50 years ago,” said archaeologist Anton Seiler. The fact the grave contents are so well-preserved and undisturbed is especially exciting for the team.

That’s because it will be the first opportunity archaeologists have to study Viking burial traditions with modern scientific analysis methods in Sweden.

“We can now use modern science and methods that will generate new results, Theory, and answers.

We will also put the boat burials in relation to the very special area that is Old Uppsala and the excavations done here before,” said Seiler.

A routine excavation

Such a find was not at all what archaeologists were expecting at the beginning of the project. 

Old Uppsala was an important religious, economic and political settlement as far back as the 3rd century, and is an area rich in historic remains. 

The routine dig began in the grounds of the vicarage last fall. The work involved excavating a cellar and well that was known to date from the Middle Ages.

Osteologist Ola Magnell and archaeologist Anton Seiler excavating the boat grave

But as the work progressed, one of the boats was gradually revealed beneath the structures. The scope of the project quickly changed, and archaeologists have spent the last month excavating the two burial boats.

It’s thought the damage caused to the second boat was done when the cellar was built sometime around the 16th century.

Once archaeologists have finished their analysis, parts of the discovery will be put on display at Old Uppsala Museum and the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm.

Brutal Pre-Viking Massacre Uncovered in Sweden

Brutal Pre-Viking Massacre Uncovered in Sweden

Brutal Pre-Viking Massacre Uncovered in Sweden
Team member Clara Alfsdotter arranges the remains of one victim

On the south-eastern island of Oland, Swedish archeologists found evidence of a massacre of the 5th century.

The team writes about the 1,500-year-old attack on Sandby borg in a paper published in the journal Antiquity.

Dozens of corpses have been found in the walled fort, their bodies left to rot where they fell.

All of the victims were killed with “brutal force”, team leader Helena Victor said. Some victims were found inside houses, others in the streets.

The archaeologists discovered decapitated bodies, blunt force trauma wounds to victims’ heads, and even one person who seemed to have fallen into a fireplace in his final moments.

Even the corpse of a newborn was found among the dead, suggesting nobody was spared, the authors say.

The perpetrators of the massacre are not known, but it took place during a turbulent period of intense migration when the Western Roman Empire was collapsing and the Huns invading. The Baltic island of Oland was never under Roman rule.

The walled fort at Sandby Borg

Local authorities asked staff at the Kalmar Lans Museum to examine the area after treasure hunters found items at the site. The first dig lasted only 3 days, but after the discovery of the walls of houses, the team quickly found human remains.

Ms Victor says the bodies in the houses raised alarm bells, as historically corpses were usually cremated – and certainly were not left in people’s homes.

“You don’t find people lying around in houses,” Ms. Victor told the BBC. “[People] don’t do it today, and didn’t do it then.

Examining some of the victims of the 5th-Century massacre
Examining some of the victims of the 5th-Century massacre

“While villagers normally lived outside the walled fort, they would shelter there in times of danger. Between 200 and 250 people are thought to have lived in the fort, and Ms. Victor says it does not look as if they defended themselves.

“People seem to have been killed without defending themselves,” said team leader Helena Victor. “It seems like treason.”She suggests someone may have left a door open and “let them in at night”.

Source: history

Eight-year-old Swedish-American girl pulls pre-Viking era sword from lake

Eight-year-old Swedish-American girl pulls pre-Viking era sword from lake

Saga with the sword.
Saga with the sword. 

An 8- year – old girl on vacation with her family discovered a  pre – Viking Era Sword in a Swedish lake, leading to locals jokingly naming her the “Queen of Sweden.”

The ancient artifact was found by Swedish – American Saga Vanecek while playing in Vidöstern lake near her family’s holiday home.

Museum experts estimate that the sword is about 1,500 years old. A museum expert said that the sword is about 33 inches long and “exceptionally well preserved.”

It even has a sheath made of wood and leather.“I like to walk around finding rocks and sticks in the water and then I usually walk around with my hands and knees in the water and in the sand,” Saga told Radio Sweden in an interview.

As she was exploring the lake, she felt something “odd” beneath her hand and knee.“I picked it up and was going to drop it back in the water, but it had a handle, and I saw that it was a little bit pointy at the end and all rusty.I held it up in the air, and I said ‘Daddy, I found a sword!’ ”

“I’m not sure you should be touching it anymore,” her father responded. “It looks fragile.”

The sword found in Lake Vidöstern is estimated to be around 1,500 years old.
The sword found in Lake Vidöstern is estimated to be around 1,500 years old. 

The sword was initially reported to be 1,000 years old, but experts at the local museum now believe it may date to around 1,500 years ago, said the BBC.

“It’s not every day that you step on a sword in the lake,” said Mikael Nordstrom, head of the cultural heritage department at the Jönköpings County Museum.

Officials believe that no one found the sword until now because a drought lowered the level of the water.

Saga’s discovery led the museum and local council to carry out further excavations at the site.

They asked the family not to tell anyone about the discovery until they’d checked to see if there were other items of historical interest.

The finding of the sword was made public in the first week of October.

Anyone hoping to see the sword will have to wait at least a year, Nordström told The Local, explaining: “The conservation process takes quite a long time because it’s a complicated environment with wood and leather, so they have several steps to make sure it’s preserved for the future.”“Why it has come to be there, we don’t know,” he continued.

“When we searched a couple of weeks ago, we found another prehistoric object; a brooch from around the same period as the sword, so that means – we don’t know yet – but perhaps it’s a place of sacrifice.

At first, we thought it could be graves situated nearby the lake, but we don’t think that anymore.”

After a further search of the lake an Iron Age brooch was also found.
After a further search of the lake an Iron Age brooch was also found. 

The sword prompted teams, which included museum staff, to carry out more searches, though none have resulted in such an important find.

The first led to the discovery of the brooch but the oldest object found in the second search was a coin from the 18th century.

Saga’s father said in an interview with The Local that several friends in the community joked that this discovery made Saga the new Queen of Sweden. The press soon took up the anointing of Saga.

On social media, the news has led to people posting things like “She’s the chosen one!” and “Well that’s it then, she’s the new ruler. We all must pledge our fealty.”

In Arthurian legend, only the king could draw a sword from the stone — and later the Lady in the Lake gives Arthur his sacred sword: Excalibur.As for Saga, she said this discovery hasn’t made her want to pursue a career in archaeology.

She said instead she hopes to be a doctor, vet, or an actress in Paris, although she does enjoy learning about “old stuff.”

Source: thelocal