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

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Mighty Viking Ax Discovered in Tomb of Medieval 'Power Couple'

One of the largest Dane axes ever found, recovered by archaeologists from a 10th-century Viking tomb near Silkeborg in central Denmark.
Credit: Silkeborg Museum

Archaeologists have discovered one of the largest Viking axes ever found, in the tomb of a 10th-century "power couple" in Denmark.
Kirsten Nellemann Nielsen, an archaeologist at the Silkeborg Museum who is leading excavations at the site near the town of Haarup, said Danish axes like the one found in the tomb were the most feared weapons of the Viking Age.
"It's a bit extraordinary — it's much bigger and heavier than the other axes. It would have had a very long handle, and it took both hands to use it," Nielsen told Live Science. [See Photos of the 10th-Century Viking Tomb]
The simplicity of the mighty ax, without any decorations or inscriptions, suggests this fearsome weapon was not just for show. "It's not very luxurious," she said.  
Read the rest of this article...

A bronze age barrow and an Anglo-Saxon cemetery have been unearthed in Rothley

Archaeologists from the University of Leicester have discovered the hidden gems of the Leicestershire village during an investigation into how different generations have re-used ancient sacred places.

Archaeologists have dug into Rothley's ancient past and discovered a bronze age barrow and an Anglo-Saxon cemetery - shedding important light on the history of the area.
Archaeologists from the University of Leicester have discovered the hidden gems of the Leicestershire village during an investigation into how different generations have re-used ancient sacred places.
The project, funded by Persimmons Homes in advance of a new housing development off Loughborough Road, Rothley, explored the concept of Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon people possibly making connections with Bronze Age barrow builders in order to create their own sense of place in the landscape.
Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Vikings abused and beheaded their slaves

This double grave from the Viking era at Grimsta in south-eastern Sweden was exhumed in 1974. It contained skeletons of two persons who had been decapitated. One of the skulls lies at the foot end at the left of the picture. Many experts think these two buried here were slaves.(Photo: Ove Hemmendorf, 1974/Swedish National Heritage Board)

The Vikings in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland had slaves, or thralls. These thralls probably held multiple roles, serving their masters in many ways in Viking society a thousand years ago. 
They could also be given the ultimate rough assignment when important Vikings died.
Some followed their masters into the grave.
Few contemporary descriptions of Viking burials exist. But the Arab explorer Ibn Fadlān witnessed one such ritual when a Viking chieftain died.  Fadlān had met the Eastern Vikings, also called Rūsiyyah, in what is now Russia:
Read the rest of this article...

Evidence Of 'Largest Anglo-Saxon Building In Scotland' Found

Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of what is believed to be the largest Anglo-Saxon building found in Scotland.
The dig at Glebe Field, Aberlady, has uncovered the foundations of a large Anglo-Saxon structure dating back to between the 7th and 9th century
[Credit: Aberlady Angles Project]
The foundations of the building, which may have been a monastery or even a royal home dating back to about 1,200 years ago, were discovered during excavations in Glebe Field, Aberlady.

Tests on an animal bone found at the scene have confirmed it dates back to between the 7th and 9th century.

Ian Malcolm, from Aberlady Conservation and History Society, described the first date evidence from the site as “very, very exciting”.

He said: “It is evidence that it was an important and a wealthy site.”

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Lindisfarne monastery evidence found by amateur archaeologist

The stone was found by a member of the public who had contributed to the crowd-funded dig

An amateur archaeologist has unearthed what is believed to be evidence of one of England's earliest Christian monasteries in a dig on Lindisfarne.
The rare grave marker, thought to be from the mid 7th-8th Century, has been described as a "stunning find".
A £25,000 project off the north-east coast was crowd-funded by 200 donors, including 60 who took part in the dig.
Project leader Lisa Westcott Wilkins said the name stone was "absolutely fantastic diagnostic evidence".
"It was a spectacular moment and, even better for us, is wasn't found by one of the team leaders or experts, it was found by a member of the public who had helped to fund and make the project possible," she said.
The team has made a 3D interactive image of the find.

Read the rest of this article...


Au lieu-dit Parc al Lann à Ergué-Gabéric, les archéologues de l’Inrap mènent une fouille préventive sur 6 hectares, en amont d’un projet d’aménagement par Quimper communauté. Le site occupe une situation privilégiée avec une vue à 180 degrés sur un fond de vallée et les hommes s’y sont naturellement installé depuis des millénaires.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Danish Viking grave reveals archaeological mysteries

New excavations in Scandinavia’s first city, Ribe, suggests rapid change at the end of the 9th century.

An excavation of burial grounds in Scandinavia’s first city, the Viking town of Ribe in Denmark, raises more questions than it answers. Why did the town suddenly start to build on top of the graveyard, and was it related to the fall of the Danish monarchy? 
(Photo: Museum of Southwest Jutland)

From the beginning of the 8th century up until the end of the 9th century, Viking graves in the town of Ribe in Denmark were largely reserved for the most holy of citizens. Ribe is considered the first city in Scandinavia and it developed into an important trade city. Graves were afforded a special place in the city--and left undisturbed as the town expanded around them.
But by the end of the 9th century something changed.
“While the marketplace expanded, they suddenly started to build on top of these graves. In some cases they built almost ostentatiously right on top of a grave, which was probably visible and marked,” says archaeologist and excavation leader Søren Sindbæk from the University of Aarhus, Denmark.
“Previously, people thought that Ribe had stopped developing as a city by the 900s, but the results of our grave excavations now suggest that this could be completely wrong. I think something dramatic happened,” says Sindbæk.
The excavations suggest that simultaneous with the construction above the graves, someone also built a fortress and a 700 metres long and 20 metres wide moat around the city.
Read the rest of this article...

Monday, 4 July 2016

Danes to build new Viking museum in Oslo

    The firm’s circular design ‘Naust’ was chosen for the building on the Bygdøy peninsula in Oslo, it was announced on Friday.
    “This contribution provides a very good solution to a complicated task,” Synnøve Lyssand Sandberg of the Norwegian Directorate of Public Construction and Property (Statsbygg) said. 
    “The building has good functionality for the public. Those who want a short visit will be able to get a good overview and an experience of ships and collection. At the same time there will be ample opportunity for further study and exploration,” she added. 
    The existing Viking Ship Building from 1926 will be incorporated into the new circular design. 

    Read the rest of this article...

    St David link to 6th Century Pembrokeshire burial site

    One of the skeletons found at the site in May, which dates to the medieval period
    Skeletons uncovered at a Pembrokeshire burial site may be the remains of contemporaries of the Patron Saint of Wales, archaeologists believe.
    The discovery was made during the third and final excavation at St Patrick's Chapel at Whitesands Bay, St Davids.
    It found Christian burial sites dating from the early-6th Century when St David was a bishop.
    This means a medieval plot found during a previous dig there was not the earliest use of the site.
    Read the rest of this article...

    Friday, 1 July 2016

    Danish cops now on a 1,000-year-old case

    Archaeologists involve the police after surmising that a fire at a 1,000-year-old castle was deliberately set

    Archaeologists have found what they call “clear evidence” that a fire at the recently discovered 1,000-year-old Viking castle Vallø Borgring near Køge was deliberately set.
    So they have asked police to supply a fire safety investigator to help them unearth clues to solve the 1,000-year mystery. The fire was set at the fortress’s eastern and northern gates.
    “All indications are that there has been a fire set at the gates of the castle,” archaeologist Jens Ulriksen, who is leading the excavation of the fortress, told DR Nyheder. “The outer posts of the east gate are completely charred, and there are signs of burning on the inside.”
    Read the rest of this article...