Radar Reveals an Ancient Artifacts & Treasure in Scandinavia’s First Viking City

Radar Reveals an Ancient Artifacts & Treasure in Scandinavia’s First Viking City

Archaeologist have been busy excavating beneath the streets of Ribe, the first Viking city ever established in Scandinavia, and have found a treasure trove of ancient artifacts.

Ribe, which can be discovered in west Denmark, is the subject of important new research that is known as the Northern Emporium Project, which is currently being conducted by archaeologistfrom Aarhus University and the Southwest Jutland Museum.

After digging just 10 feet beneath this ancient Viking city, archaeologists found thousands of artifacts such as coins, amulets, beads, bones and even combs. Lyres (ancient string instruments) have also been discovered, with some still having their tuning pegs attached to them, Science Nordic reports.

However, besides the numerous artifacts that have been excavated, archaeologist were also keen to learn more about how the city of Ribe would have originally been created.

After all, none of the people who originally inhabited this site had ever lived in a city before, and the population would have consisted of lyrists, craftsmen, seafarers, innkeepers, and tradesmen.

While archaeologists have known about Ribe for quite some time, excavating this site’s was another matter entirely. Due to high costs and the amount of time required, up until recently, only small sections of this city were investigated.

However, now that the Carlsberg Foundation has joined in, the funding for the project has been taken care of, and archaeologist are using 3D laser surveying techniques in combination with the study of soil chemistry and DNA analysis to learn much more about the first Viking’s city in Scandinavia.

The bead-makers of 8th century Ribe used pieces of glass gathered from old Roman mosaics as their raw material. They didn’t have access to newly manufactured glass. This is one of the many details that tells us about the city’s network. ( Museum of Southwest Jutland )
The bead-makers of 8th century Ribe used pieces of glass gathered from old Roman mosaics as their raw material. They didn’t have access to newly manufactured glass. This is one of the many details that tells us about the city’s network. ( Museum of Southwest Jutland )

Archaeologists found that not long after the creation of Ribe, houses had been built on the site which shows that this city quickly developed its residents, and would have been a largely urban community.

When it comes to ancient cities that existed in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, cities were packed tightly together, yet here in Ribe, the closest city would have easily been 100’s of miles away.

However, archaeologist believe that despite such great distances, the earliest settlers of this Viking city would still have traversed great distances in order to network with others.

It was also determined that as 800 AD is when the Viking era is asserted to have truly started, Ribe would have been part of what is known as the sailing revolutions.

With this new era, archaeologist noted many changes in the artifacts that were found. For instance, craftsmen who made beads originally had quite small workshops that may have only been used for a matter of weeks.

During the height of the Viking’s age, the production of these beads appears to have slowed down immensely, and archaeologist spotted evidence of other imported Middle Eastern beads that would have taken their place.

It was also found that gemstones weren’t that important to residents of Ribe. Gold, on the other hand, certainly was, and it is believed that much of the gold in use during the early days of this city would have been stolen from Roman graves.

With around 330 feet of the 1st Viking city excavated, archaeologists are progressing steadily with their study of Ribe and will continue to publicize their finds in the upcoming years.

Wood and other organic materials are preserved in deep underneath the Danish city of Ribe. For example, this piece of lyre with six tuning pegs, was found in a layer from the first half of the 8th century AD. ( Museum of Southwest Jutland )
Wood and other organic materials are preserved in deep underneath the Danish city of Ribe. For example, this piece of lyre with six tuning pegs, was found in a layer from the first half of the 8th century AD. ( Museum of Southwest Jutland )

Discovery of Viking site in Canada could rewrite history

Discovery of Viking site in Canada could rewrite history

An iron working hearthstone was discovered on Newfoundland, hundreds of miles from the only noted Viking location to date.

Another thousand-year-old Viking colony might have been found on the island of Newfoundland, Canada. The finding of the old Viking location on the Canadian coast could drastically change the story of the exploration of North America by the Europeans prior to Christopher Columbus.

A Newfoundland fishing outport
A Newfoundland fishing outport

The excavation of the stone, once used in iron working, on Newfoundland took place a hundred miles south of the only known Viking site located in North America.

This proposes that Vikings may have traveled much farther into the continent than previously thought.

A team of archaeologists have been unearthing the newly-found location at Point Rosee, a narrow, windswept peninsula on the most western part of the island.

To date, the only official Viking site located on the American continent is the L’Anse aux Meadows.

This 1,000-year-old way station was found in 1960 on the northern tip of Newfoundland. That colony was abandoned after just a few years of being inhabited.

Archaeologists have spent the last 50 years looking for any other signs of the Viking expedition from Europe to the other side of the Atlantic.

American archaeologist Sarah Parcak, who has used satellite pictures to locate lost Egyptian cities, tombs, and temples, is now applying the same technology to explore the island and looking for traces of Viking settlements.

Newfoundland
Newfoundland

Last June, she was drawn to this remote portion of Canada after satellite pictures unveiled ground features that seemed to indicate human activity.

Sara had looked at the modern day plant cover to discover places where a possible Viking colony may have altered the soil by changing the moisture on the ground. She had previously used this technique in Egypt.

After identifying a possible location, archaeologists discovered a hearth stone. This was used for iron working, close to what seemed to have been a turf wall.

Douglas Bolender, an archaeologist specializing in Norse settlements, states chronicles suggest a short period of activity, and a brief and failed settlement attempt.

The exact date of the L’Anse aux Meadows settlement’s active period is unsure. A location like Point Rosee has the possibility of revealing the extent of the initial wave of Norse colonization; not only for the Newfoundland but for the rest of the North Atlantic.

Bones of Handless Man Found Near Mysterious Medieval Dolphin Burial

Bones of Handless Man Found Near Mysterious Medieval Dolphin Burial

The body of a man without hands thought to have been buried hundreds of years ago has been found by archaeologists on a rocky islet off the coast of Guernsey, one of the British Channel Islands — just a few feet from where a mysterious medieval skeleton of a dolphin was found last year.

Phil De Jersey, a Guernsey government archaeologist, said the skeleton of the handless man appeared to have been buried much later than the baffling burial of that dolphin skeleton on the same islet, and therefore the two burials probably aren’t related.But he said that the latest find added much to the mystery of the rocky islet of Chapelle Dom Hue.

The islet lies about 900 feet (300 meters) from the west coast of Guernsey, overlooking the sea and the stones of a Neolithic burial ground on the mainland of the island.

The human remains appear to have been buried several hundred years ago on the islet of Chapelle Dom Hue.
The human remains appear to have been buried several hundred years ago on the islet of Chapelle Dom Hue.

 Though Chapelle Dom Hue is only about 50 feet (10 m) across today — so small that the sea at high tide cuts it into two pieces — archaeologists say it was once larger; during the medieval period, the islet was home to a colony of a few reclusive Christian monks, they said.

The archaeological team first thought the skeleton found this year might have been that of a monk who had suffered from leprosy, which might account for the missing wrists and hands, De Jersey told Live Science.

But some details of the remains of the man’s clothes — especially the shirt buttons — made the researchers think that the body was buried in the 16th or 17th century, well after Chapelle Dom Hue was occupied by monks.”Our working hypothesis at the moment is that this is a drowning, or a body washed up,” De Jersey said.

“It was given a quick but relatively respectful Christian burial at the spot where it got washed up on that island.”

Dolphin burial

Last year, De Jersey reported that his team had found a dolphin skeleton that appeared to have been buried on the island sometime during the Middle Ages when monks had lived there.

The human remains were buried only about 30 feet from the mysterious skeleton of a dolphin, found last year, that had been buried sometime in the Middle Ages.
The human remains were buried only about 30 feet from the mysterious skeleton of a dolphin, found last year, that had been buried sometime in the Middle Ages.

The carefully buried skeleton perplexed the archaeologists because it might have easily been just dumped in the sea a few yards away, without the trouble of a burial.

The dolphin carcass, De Jersey said, might have been buried with salt to preserve it for eating, and then forgotten; or perhaps it was regarded as a holy animal — although his research has not revealed why a dolphin would be regarded as holy at that time and place.

Subsequent studies of the dolphin skeleton tended to confirm that it was buried on the islet in the early 1400s, but no further light had been shed on the mysterious burial, he told Live Science.

The human burial on the island had come to light in the last few months as a small cliff had weathered away, about 30 feet (10 m) from the site where the dolphin skeleton had been found, he said. Eventually, the weathering revealed the upper part of a foot and toe bones.

Archaeologists then excavated the site and found the remains of a man about 5 feet tall, but without any hands or wrist bones.

Mystery man

De Jersey now thinks the human body washed up on the islet and was buried there some time in the 1500s or 1600s.

Archaeologists think the remains may be of a seaman who drowned and floated at sea before being washed up on the islet.
Archaeologists think the remains may be of a seaman who drowned and floated at sea before being washed up on the islet.

The hands of bodies that have drifted at sea are often eaten by fish; in fact, the skull of the body showed signs of damage that could have happened when it drifted up among rocks on the shore. The lower part of the left arm is also missing, but “the feet have survived relatively well, perhaps because it had some sort of footwear,” he said.

The archaeological team will try to get a radiocarbon date on the skeleton, but the remains of a few buttons on his shirt suggest that it was later than the medieval period.”

Buttons in the early medieval period were quite rare and unusual, and these look to me like something later that might have been part of a sailor’s dress,” he said. So far, the dolphin and human skeletons are the only skeletal remains found in the islet of Chapelle Dom Hue, but De Jersey won’t rule out the possibility that there still may be bones to find: “There is not a huge amount of space over there left to find more things, but who knows?”

“There was a little bit of excavation done there by an archaeologist in the 1890s,” De Jersey said. “He wrote about it, and said that he didn’t think it was worth going back there again because there was nothing more to be said about the place — and I quite like that because, really, how wrong could he be?”

Uncovered Viking Funeral Ship In Scotland Contains Treasure Trove Of Ancient Relics

Uncovered Viking Funeral Ship In Scotland Contains Treasure Trove Of Ancient Relics

A boat which for 1,000 years served as the grave of a high-status Viking has revealed some of its secrets, according to the first detailed report of the iconic discovery.

The tomb, originally unearthed in 2011 on the Ardnamurchan peninsula in western Scotland, contained a rich assemblage of grave goods. It represents the first undisturbed Viking boat burial found on the British mainland.

Viking boat burials have been documented in Scandinavian countries, but are fairly rare. They involve using the boat as a coffin for the body. Archaeologists estimate the boat used to bury the deceased dates back to the late 9th or early 10th century, at a time when Vikings were still exploring and trading along the British Isles.

An in-depth investigation, published in the journal Antiquity, has revealed much of the Viking funerary rite involved in the burial at this remote part of Scotland. However, some mystery remains. The ship rotted into the soil long ago, like the bones of the interred individual.

Only two teeth (both molars) remain of the human. The absence of a body which researchers can biologically sex might raise the compelling, albeit remote, possibility that it was a female boat grave.

“The burial is probably that of a man — but as we only have the two teeth surviving, it is impossible to be definitive. So it is possible, but not likely, that this was the burial of a woman,” Oliver Harris, co-director of the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project (ATP) at the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, told Seeker.

Some finds recovered from the grave (clockwise from the top left): broad-bladed axe, shield boss, ringed pin and hammer and tongs.
Some finds recovered from the grave (clockwise from the top left): broad-bladed axe, shield boss, ringed pin and hammer and tongs.

The funerary rite began with cutting a boat-shaped depression into a natural mound of small, rounded beach stones. The boat was then inserted and the body was placed inside, surrounded by a variety of artifacts including a sword, an axe, a drinking horn vessel, a shield boss, a ladle, a sickle, and a ringed pin.

“There is nothing female per se in the grave, though of course there are lots of objects — sickle, the ladle, the knife, the ringed pin — that are not male either,” Harris said.

The grave was filled to the top with stones which may have been taken from a nearby Neolithic burial cairn (a human-made pile of stones).”The final artifacts found in the boat, the spear and shield boss, were higher in the burial, deposited as part of the closure of the monument,” the researchers wrote.

The spearhead was deliberately broken before being deposited, indicating some form of ritual associated with the burial process. The archaeologists also recovered 213 of the boat’s rivets. From the outline of the boat impressed into the soil, they established the boat measured 16 feet in length and would have been a small rowing boat, probably accompanying a larger ship.

Isotopic analysis of the teeth suggests the deceased likely grew up in Scandinavia. It also showed that between the age of 3 and 5 the person’s diet switched for about a year from meat to fish, an unusual food supply at that time.”The switch in the diet probably shows there was some shortage of food for a period of time leading people to eat more fish,” Harris said.

Most importantly, the Viking boat burial reveals the growing relationship between Scotland and the Viking world at that time. It brings together multiple geographic connections, as shown by the grave goods.

A whetstone, used to cut and sharpen tools, was made from a rock that is found in Norway, while the bronze ring pin, likely used to fasten a burial cloak or shroud, appears to come from Ireland.”The burial evokes the mundane and the exotic, past and present, as well as local, national and international identities,” the researchers wrote.

According to Colleen Batey, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Glasgow, the grave goods within the find are very significant.”A sword with shield boss, spearhead and ax are a complete weapon set — which is not so common. And the ladle is an exceptional and uncommon find,” she told Seeker. She added that there is nothing in the burial boat which would support the identification of the interred individual being a female.

However, Viking female boat burials have been excavated in the past. Batey has just published details about a boat grave from Shetland, in the Scottish Islands, which may well have been for a female, or at least one of the occupants may have been a woman, buried with her oval brooch.

One of the most famous Viking ship burials was excavated in 1945 in the Isle of Man at Balladoole. This boat burial contained a man, as well as a woman who had been sacrificed in order to be added to the grave.

Source: allthatsinteresting

Mummy Found Hiding Inside Ancient Buddha Statue

Mummified monk revealed inside 1,000-year-old Buddha statue

 

 The unusual contents of the statue were discovered in the 1990s when the statue underwent restoration
The unusual contents of the statue were discovered in the 1990s when the statue underwent restoration

Scientific tests have revealed that an ancient Buddhist statue contains a 1,000-year – old mummified monk’s perfectly preserved remains in what is thought to be the only such example in the world.

The monk, who is sitting in the lotus position, is thought to have starved himself to death in an act of extreme spiritual devotion in China or Tibet in the 10th century. His preserved remains were displayed in his monastery.

Some 200 years later, perhaps after his remains started to deteriorate, his mummified body was placed inside the elaborate, lacquered statue of Buddha.

The unusual contents of the statue were discovered in the 1990s when the statue underwent restoration. Experts were unable to remove the mummy due to the risk of disintegration, so they could do little more than peer into the darkened cavity of the Buddha.

Now, an international team of German, Dutch and Italian scientists has conducted a CAT scan which revealed the monk’s skeleton in perfect detail.

“It was not uncommon for monks to practise self-mummification but to find a mummified monk inside a statue is really extraordinary,” said Wilfrid Rosendahl, a German palaeontologist who led the research.

“It’s the only known example in the world.”Using a CAT scan, we saw that there was a perfectly preserved body with skin and muscles inside the statue. It’s a complete mummy, not just a skeleton. He was aged between 30 and 50.”

The mummy has been studied by an interdisciplinary team of experts, including radio carbon dating specialists and textile analysts, at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

Using an endoscope, experts took samples from inside the mummy’s thoracic and abdominal cavities and discovered that the monk’s organs had been removed and replaced with ancient wads of paper printed with Chinese characters.

The scientists have conducted a CAT scan which revealed the monk's skeleton in perfect detail.
The scientists have conducted a CAT scan which revealed the monk’s skeleton in perfect detail. 

Samples of bone were also taken for DNA testing. The Buddha statue was bought several decades ago on the art market by a Dutch private collector, who had no idea that the mummy was hidden inside. It will go on display in museums around Europe, and is currently in the Natural History Museum in Budapest.” The monk died in a process of self-mummification,” said Dr. Rosendahl.

It was not uncommon for monks to practise self-mummification but to find a mummified monk inside a statue is really extraordinary," said Wilfrid Rosendahl
It was not uncommon for monks to practise self-mummification but to find a mummified monk inside a statue is really extraordinary,” said Wilfrid Rosendahl

During the last weeks, he would have started eating less food and drinking only water. Eventually, he would have gone into a trance, stopped breathing and died.

He basically starved himself to death.”The other monks would have put him close to a fire to dry him out and put him on display in the monastery, we think somewhere in China or Tibet.”

He was probably sitting for 200 years in the monastery and the monks then realized that he needed a bit of support and preservation so they put him inside the statue.”Mummified monks were not only the focus of religious devotion but important for the economy of the monastery because they attracted pilgrims who would offer donations.

The mummy has been studied by an interdisciplinary team of experts, including radio carbon dating specialists and textile analysts, at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.
The mummy has been studied by an interdisciplinary team of experts, including radio carbon dating specialists and textile analysts, at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

Source: livescience