‘Unusual’ Viking boat grave contains bodies of 2 people who died 100 years apart

Archaeologists in Norway have discovered a mysterious Viking grave site, containing the bodies of two people who died 100 years apart.

The grave was discovered in Vinjeøra, central Norway, and contains one boat with the remains of an ‘important woman’ who died in the second half of the 9th century, as well as a second boat with the remains of man who died in the 8th century.

Almost all the wood in the boats had rotted away, but the rivets were still in their original positions, according to researchers from the NTNU University Museum.

Raymond Sauvage, who led the study, said: “I had heard about several boat graves being buried in one burial mound, but never about a boat that had been buried inside another boat.”



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The upper boat grave was found to contain the skull of a woman, as well as a crucifix-shaped brooch.

Aina Heen Pettersen, who worked on the study, said: “The decoration and the design itself tell us that it came from Ireland, and that it was once part of a harness fitting.”

Meanwhile, the man in the larger boat was buried alongside a spear, shield and single-edged sword.

Mr Sauvage said: “Sword styles change through the centuries, which means we can unambiguously date this grave to the 8th century, the period that is known as the Merovingian era in Northern Europe. That’s assuming that we are not dealing with a Viking hipster.”

While the reason for the double burial remains unclear, the researchers suggest that the two may have been related.

Mr Sauvage added: “Family was very important in Viking Age society, both to mark status and power and to consolidate property rights.

"It’s reasonable to think that the two were buried together to mark the family’s ownership to the farm, in a society that for the most part didn’t write things down.”

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