Second Viking Age ship burial found at archaeological site in N. Iceland

Viking_Ship

Photo/Auðunn

Yesterday archeologists discovered a second boat burial at an archeological site at Dysnes ness in Eyjafjörður fjord in North Iceland. On Tuesday a burial site where a Viking age chief was buried in his boat, along with his sword and dog had been discovered. Two other graves dating to the Viking age have been found at the site. Archeologists working at the site are optimistic to find more, as the dig has only just started.

Undisturbed graves
Neither boat burial has been disturbed by grave robbers, as many Viking age burial sites have been. Most Viking Age burial sites seem to have been opened up relatively early, only decades after the burial, and valuables, especially swords, removed. The reasons for such grave robbing are not known.

Part of the boat is completely untouched and we see no signs of it ever having been robbed by people, so we are hoping to find more artifacts untouched in the grave.

Archeologists working at Dysnes have now found four different Viking age graves at the site. Two were boat burials. An archeologist working at the dig told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV that they expected to find more. “Everywhere we stick a shovel into the ground we seem to find something”.

The dig is only just starting
The boat burial found yesterday was in significantly better condition than the one found on Tuesday. Although neither grave has been disturbed by grave robbers, the boat burial found on Tuesday has been badly damaged by erosion from the ocean. The sea had already destroyed part of the grave, taking half of the boat and most likely some of its contents. Human bones, a Viking sword and canine teeth, from a dog which was buried in the grave with the boat’s owner, were found. Time and the sea had washed the rest away.

The archeologists are only just starting to explore this second burial, but Hildur Gestsdóttir, who is in charge at the site, told RÚV that the they were hoping it would contain more clues as to the life and death in Eyjafjörður fjord during the Viking Age.

Read the full story on Iceland Magazine

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