Intact Viking Boat Burial Found in Sweden

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July 9, 2019

Archaeologists in Sweden have found two Viking-era ship burials in Gamla Uppsala, one of which contains the remains of a person, a horse, and a dog.

Viking boat burial

Crews were digging around the site of a medieval cellar and well in order to create space for a modern building when they discovered the two boat burials. In one grave, the remains of the man were in the stern and were intact. The animal remains were in the bow of the boat. Also accompanying the man were a sword, a shield, a spear, and a large decorative comb. The other grave had been damaged and revealed little.

Few of the dead during Viking times were buried in this manner, so the find is unusual, said Anton Seiler, the lead archaeologist. Nearly always, the person so buried was from an upper societal class. Most such burials contained jewelry or precious stones as well. Also unusual was that the man's remains were found intact; it was far more common for Vikings to cremate their dead.

The archaeologists said that some of what they discovered would go on display at the Gamla Uppsala Museum and at the Swedish History Museum.

Archaeologists have found similar boat burials in Uppland and Västmanland, in Sweden; in Norway; and in western Scotland. Archaeologists using georadar found one such burial in Norway last year. One of the more well-known such burials found in England was discovered at Sutton Hoo.

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