Archaeological news about the Archaeology of Early Medieval Europe from the Archaeology in Europe web site

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Bygdeborg Mur, Fylke: Østfold. Image: Kulturminnesøk

Researcher Ingrid Ystgaard  from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has studied the weapons found in graves and examined the battle techniques they would best suit during the important transition from the early to the late Iron Age in Norway around 500 AD.

A time of conflict

The Western Roman Empire was collapsing, and warfare engulfed Europe, major alliances were splintered and smaller bands of men started vying with one another. Ystgaard  feels it may be significant that the battle axe became a favoured weapon during this time.
Ystgaard also studied the simple stone fortifications (Bygdeborgen ) built for protection on hilltops or other sites that were easy to defend. Relatively common, they were maintained between 400 AD to 600 AD and then, over the course of a single generation, abandoned and left to crumble.
The researcher wondered why people gave up fortifications that had been used for more than six generations and feels she has found one answer in some 100 weapon graves in mid-Norway dating to this turbulent and violent period.
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