Category Archives: SWEDEN

1,200-Year-Old Viking Runestone May Warn of Climate Change, Study Says

1,200-Year-Old Viking Runestone May Warn of Climate Change, Study Says

Most people in the modern world are very worried about climate change and the Vikings seem to also be very worried about climate change.

Scientists are now claiming that one of the most popular runestones, erected by Vikings, shows they feared a cataclysmic fall in the temperature and terrible winters. This probably influenced the development of their culture and myths such as Ragnarök.

When they made the discovery, researchers reinterpreted this Viking runestone, known as the Rök Stone. This is a stone that is covered in runes, which are the characters of the written language of the Viking world.

It was founded in the beginning of the 9th century in the south of Sweden near Vättern lake. The BBC reports that it “believes to be the world’s longest runic inscription, with more than 700 runes covering its five sides.”

It was long believed that the stone was erected by a person of some social standing to commemorate a dead son.  It also alluded to battles that took place in the past, and a reference to Theodoric, which may be a reference to the Ostrogothic king who built a powerful Germanic kingdom based in Italy.

He was one of the most powerful monarchs of his time and often simply known as Theodoric the Great. However, the meaning of the texts has remained mysterious, because the writing styles are unusual, and some important parts are missing.

Full shot of the Viking runestone (‘the Rök Stone’) that is now believed to show the Viking’s fears of climate change.

A multidisciplinary study involving three Swedish Universities believes that this Viking runestone also had another meaning. Researchers from disciplines such as philology, semiotics, and history, collaborated on the study, which revealed an important allusion in the writing. They have interpreted the runes as referring to a period of extreme winter and cool summers, which the Vikings feared greatly.

The researchers in a new study state that “the inscription deals with anxiety triggered by a son’s death and the fear of a new climate crisis,” reports Live Science.

They believe that the runes refer to the climate crisis of 536 AD. A series of volcanic eruptions in the sixth century in the southern hemisphere, caused the temperature to fall, leading to very cold winters

The cooling in the climate caused harvest failures and famine.  The 6th-century crisis, as it is known, led to the population of Scandinavia falling by 50%. This cataclysmic time was passed down in the folk memory of the Vikings and may have been expressed in myths, particularly in the tale of the Fimbulwinter. This was a three-year winter that would proceed Ragnarök, the end of the world.

A scene from the last phase of Ragnarök, after Surtr has engulfed the world with fire, ‘the end of the world’.

Researchers believe that the Vikings feared that there would be a repeat of the climate crisis, even centuries after it devastated Scandinavia.

They believe that the references to battles may be allusions to drastic changes in the climate, which occurred in the 6th century. The experts argue that the battles may illustrate “the conflict between light and darkness, warmth and cold, life and death,” according to the BBC.

The Viking runestone does not only indicate an awareness of the impact of a past climate change but also a fear of a new one. Ominous events from the author of the runes are also recorded, which may have been seen as signs of an impending climate crisis. 

These included a solar eclipse and a cold summer that reduced crop yields. Bo Graslund, an archaeology professor at Upsala University, told Science Alert “even one of these events would have been enough to raise fears of another Fimbulwinter,” as in the myth of Ragnarök.

Uppsala University Publications, reports that the researchers interpret the runes as referring to “nine enigmatic questions. Five of the questions concern the sun, and four of them, it is argued, ask about issues related to the god Odin.”

The exact meaning of the questions is unknown, but they would seem to suggest anxiety about the sun and climatic cooling. They may indicate a concern that the sun may fail to warm the earth, as in the 6th-century climate crisis, leading to a long winter and the onset of Ragnarök.

The researchers’ new interpretation also found similarities between the texts and “early Scandinavian poetry, especially in the Eddic poem Vafþrúðnismál,” according to Uppsala University Publications.

This new interpretation of the Viking runestone is providing new insights. It demonstrates that the fear of climate change greatly influenced the Viking’s worldview and culture. Additionally, the runestone shows them to be deeply conscious of the fragility of their society and world.

Archaeologists uncover part of the 16th-century ship in central Stockholm

Archaeologists uncover part of the 16th-century ship in central Stockholm

Stockholm, Sweden’s capital, can be popular for a lot, but it was an unexpected event to discover a 500-year-old shipwreck in the center of the city.

The most likely shipwreck is from the Swedish cargo ship Samson, built-in 1598 at Enånger in Hälsingland by AndersPedersson.

Relics of the ship were accidentally found in the middle of Stockholm under a Kungsträdgården (Swedish for “King’s Garden”) courtyard.

The courtyard had to be lowered while conducting renovation work to strengthen the foundation of a property

In these projects archeologists usually participate, in case anything of historical value will be found, were amazed when they noticed wooden parts of this old ship.

The study of wreckage was carried out by the maritime archeologists of the Norwegian Maritime Museum of Transport History and it has been determined it’s part of the Samson ship that was over 30 meters long.

In an interview with TT archaeologist Philip Tonemar who has commissioned the survey on behalf of the county administrative board, explained it’s a very rare archaeological discovery.

Archaeologists examine the shipwreck discovered in the middle of the city of Stockholm.

Tonemar said the dating of the timber, the shipbuilding technology as well as the size perfectly matches Samson.

“A finding from this transition period between the older and newer shipbuilding of the era is very unusual. There are really no other direct examples, and that it is completely built with pine and its special design details also makes it unique,” Tonemar said.

Little is known about Samson’s fate and there are only brief historical notes about the ship’s history. For some unknown reason, after 1607 Samson vanished from historical records.

Tonemar thinks the ship was most likely abandoned.

“When the ship was abandoned in the early 1600s, it was probably stripped of material, chopped up and left on the shore.

Discovering parts of the Samson cargo ship thrilled archaeologists.

We found garbage from residents in the area that were thrown directly over the ship,” Tonemar said.

In addition to the shipwreck, archaeologists also discovered coins, pipes, ceramics, glass and a small ball of clay in mud that perhaps a child had lost.

Today, only a part of the bottom of one hull remains from Samson. It’s a historical ship and the latest remains will be covered with a ground cloth,  protective material, and preserved for future generations.

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