Viking boat burial site found intact in Britain

19th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

The first fully intact Viking boat burial site to be found on British soil has been uncovered by a team of archaeologists in Scotland.

The five metre-long (16-foot) grave, thought to contain the remains of a high-status Viking, was discovered at a site estimated to be 1,000 years old.

The Viking was buried with an axe, a sword and a spear in a ship held together with 200 metal rivets.

The excavation project's co-director, Dr Hannah Cobb, described the discovery on the remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula as "an exciting find."

"A Viking boat burial is an incredible discovery, but in addition to that, the artefacts and preservation make this one of the most important Norse graves ever excavated in Britain," Cobb said.

The team of archaeologists from the universities of Manchester and Leicester working with other archaeology organisations also unearthed part of a shield, a bronze ring-pin, a whetstone from Norway and Viking pottery at the site.

"Though we have excavated many important artefacts over the years, I think it's fair to say that this year the archaeology has really exceeded our expectations," she said.

Viking specialists from the University of Glasgow have said the boat is likely to be from the 10th century AD.

Dr Oliver Harris, of the University of Leicester, who led the project with Cobb, said: "In previous seasons our work has examined evidence of changing beliefs and life styles in the area through a study of burial practices in the Neolithic and Bronze age periods."

"It has also yielded evidence for what will be one of the best dated Neolithic chambered cairns in Scotland when all of our post excavation work is complete."

"But the find we reveal today has got to be the icing on the cake," Harris added.

© 2011 AFP

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