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

Thursday, 30 June 2016

1,400-Year Old Sledge Thawed Out of Norwegian Glacier

In the most recent issue of theJournal of Glacial Archaeology (JGA), a team of Norwegian scientists from the Hordaland County Council and University Museum of Bergen announced their discovery of a prehistoric sledge freed from the ice.  The discovery, announced in the 2015 article, followed significant melting of the Vossaskavlen Glacier in western Norway.
A team of Norwegian surveyors discovered the artifact, after they spotted what appeared to be poles marking a route over the glacier, approximately 50 meters from the ice edge at an altitude of 1500 meters.  Upon further examination, the team of archaeologists found 21 wooden fragments with signs of craftsmanship.
Radiocarbon dating puts the age of the pine wood sledge fragments between 545-655 AD, or to the beginning of the Late Iron Age. This makes it the oldest sledge ever found in Norway.

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Monday, 27 June 2016


We are looking for people working, studying or volunteering in the archaeological world to participate with us in a “Day of Archaeology” in July 2016. The resulting Day of Archaeology website will demonstrate the wide variety of work our profession undertakes day-to-day across the globe, and help to raise public awareness of the relevance and importance of archaeology to the modern world. We want anyone with a personal, professional or voluntary interest in archaeology to get involved, and help show the world why archaeology is vital to protect the past and inform our futures.

Explore posts from previous years here...

Unique Viking tomb contains remains of noble couple

A Viking tomb in Denmark contains the rare remains of two men and a woman and offers more evidence of an international Viking culture.

A tomb discovered as part of a large Viking burial ground in south west Denmark contains the remains of a Viking noble or at least a highly distinguished person.
The grave was discovered in 2012 when engineers were building a highway, and it has since been identified as a unique Viking tomb known as a ‘dødehus’ [death house].  The building measures four by thirteen metres and contained three graves dating back to 950 CE.
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Une fouille archéologique préventive a révélé 130 tombes dont les datations s’échelonnent entre la fin de l’Antiquité et le haut Moyen Âge, ainsi que l’abside d’une église paléochrétienne datant du Ve siècle, la plus ancienne église découverte à Nîmes (Gard).
C’est entre le 30 décembre 2015 et le 22 avril 2016 que les archéologues de l’Inrap ont mis au jour cet ensemble dans le cadre d’une fouille préventive réalisée en amont de la construction d’une maison individuelle au nord du quartier des Amoureux.


Au sein d’une parcelle de 330 m², les archéologues ont découvert une partie des  imposantes fondations d’une église, en particulier une abside semi-circulaire. L’édifice a été bâti avec des remplois antiques monumentaux provenant sans doute d’anciens mausolées situés non loin. La datation de l’église peut être estimée du tout début du Ve siècle au regard des mobiliers céramiques recueillis, ce qui en fait le plus ancien édifice de culte chrétien découvert à Nîmes.
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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

After 1,000 years, ‘forgotten’ Danish Viking fortress opens

The 'forgotten' Viking fortress is one of five in Denmark. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix

The historic discovery two years ago of a fifth Viking ring fortress was celebrated in grand style on Monday.

After lying forgotten for over 1,000 years, archaeologists uncovered a circular Viking fortress just west of the Zealand town of Køge in a find that shook up popular knowledge of the Viking Age
Researchers had long assumed that the four previously discovered Viking fortresses were all that remained in Denmark and the September 2014 find was the first of its kind in 60 years. 
On Monday, Queen Margrethe officially unveiled the fortress, dubbed Borgring. It opens to the general public on Wednesday, June 1st and is expected to draw upwards of 30,000 visitors per year. 

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Largest-ever Viking gold collection found in Denmark

Six gold bracelets and a silver one represent the largest-ever Viking treasure trove uncovered in Denmark. Photo: Nick Schaadt, Museet på Sønderskov

Three amateur archaeologists have uncovered the largest ever trove of Viking gold in Denmark.

The three archaeologists, who call themselves Team Rainbow Power, found seven bracelets from the Viking Age in a field in Vejen Municipality in Jutland. The bracelets, six gold and one silver, date to around the year 900. 
With a combined weight of around 900 grammes, the find is the largest ever discovery of Viking gold in Denmark. 
Team Rainbow Power member Marie Aagaard Larsen said that she had only been on the field for around ten minutes before striking gold – literally. 

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Monday, 20 June 2016

Story of one of the largest Saxon cemeteries ever found in Wessex revealed 42 years after its discovery

One of the largest Saxon cemeteries ever found in Wessex contains cremations, inhumations and warrior burials

Found in Collingbourne Ducis in Wessex, this skull shows a well-healed trepanation. There is no indication that the man had suffered any head injuries prior to the procedure
© Wessex Archaeology

Cremations, inhumations and graves accompanied by shield bosses, knives and spearheads were among the 77 burials at one of the largest Saxon cemeteries ever discovered in Wessex, say archaeologists who have released their findings at the site after re-examining a tricky terrain first excavated during the 1970s.

A local woman alerted the local council in the village of Collingbourne Ducis when she saw bones protruding from the ground at a housing development site in late 1973. More than 30 graves were found there by archaeologists in 1974, with a further 86 – believed to date from between the 5th and 7th centuries – uncovered in 2007.

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Viking Gold Hoard Discovered In Denmark

Denmark's main museum says amateur archaeologists have found seven bracelets - one of silver and six of gold - which are considered to be the largest Viking-era gold find in Denmark.
Viking Gold Treasure found at Vejen in 2016 [Credit: Museum of Sønderskov/Nick Schadt]

National Museum of Denmark spokesman Peter Pentz says finding one "is huge but it is something special to find seven."

Pentz says the bracelets weighing a total of almost one kilogram (2.2. pounds) were discovered last week near Vejen in western Denmark by people using metal detectors.

He said in a statement Thursday the bracelets could have been used by a Viking chieftain to reward faithful followers. They likely were part of a treasure that includes a gold chain found in the same field in 1911.

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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Viking Gold Hoard at the End of the Rainbow

It really feels as if we found  gold at the end of the rainbow, tells one of the amateur archaeologists, who last week found the largest treasure of Viking gold ever discovered in Denmark

Last week three amateur archaeologists found seven bangles from the 10thcentury in a field near Vejen in Jutland. The amazing thing is that six of the seven are made of gold, while the last is of silver.
– When we discovered the first ring, we really felt that we had found the gold at the end of the rainbow. And then more surfaced; it was almost unreal, says Marie Aagaard Larsen, who together with her husband Christian Nedergaard Dreiøe and their common friend Poul Nørgaard Pedersen is one of the three happy finders.

It took only about ten minutes to find the first three bangles; afterwards a phot was sent quickly to the local museum in Sønderskov where the curator was quick to secure the place.

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Monday, 13 June 2016

Body in well confirms Viking Saga

Archeologists from NIKUnorway working in the well. 
Image: The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

Archaeologists working in Trondheim in Norway are amazed by the discovery of a human skeleton in the bottom of an abandoned castle well. The skeleton provides evidence that confirms dramatic historical events mentioned in the Sagas.
The location and contents of the well are mentioned in Sverre’s Saga, a chronicle of one of the kings of Norway, and one of very few historical manuscripts describing events in the Norwegian Viking age and medieval period.
Scholars have questioned the chronicle’s trustworthiness as a historical document. But now, at least one part of the saga seems to hold truth – down to the tiniest detail.
This is truly astonishing. As far as I know there is no known example of the discovery of an individual historically connected with an act of war as far back as the year 1197. And the fact that this actually corroborates an event described in Sverre’s saga is simply amazing“, says lead archaeologist at the site, Anna Petersén.
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