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Home Science Viking remains lost for more than a century rediscovered in a museum

Viking remains lost for more than a century rediscovered in a museum

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Woven wrist cuffs discovered at a Viking burial website

Antiquity Publications Ltd/Rimstad et al/R. Fortuna, National Museum of Denmark

The remains of a Viking have been rediscovered after being lacking for more than a century. They have been safely saved in a museum the entire time, however had been mislabelled.

The individual was buried with costly grave items, suggesting they have been an elite individual and even royalty. They additionally appear to have been sporting lengthy trousers with elaborate decorations.

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The story begins in 1868, close to the village of Mammen in Denmark. An area landowner named Laust Pedersen Skomager enlisted native farmers to assist him take away the topsoil from a mound on his property. They discovered it hid a picket Viking burial chamber, now known as Bjerringhøj. The farmers dug up the contents and shared them out – so when lecturers arrived on the scene quickly after, they’d first to get well the remains from their new homeowners.

A re-excavation in 1986 decided that the burial befell in 970 or 971 AD, in the course of the Viking Age, however recovered few new artefacts. When the researchers seemed for the unique remains in the National Museum of Denmark, they may not discover them – and a search in 2009 of archives on the University of Copenhagen didn’t flip them up both.

However, since 2018 Ulla Mannering on the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen and her colleagues have been learning Viking-era textiles. As a part of this, they examined the remains from one other burial known as Slotsbjergby. One field held human bones together with textiles – but the descriptions of the burial website made no point out of bones being discovered with related textiles. “I was puzzled about it,” says Mannering.

It slowly dawned on the crew that the bones may be the lacking ones from Bjerringhøj. “We were all wow with this idea,” says Mannering. She says the crew knew this could possibly be controversial, so that they needed to do a number of analyses to confirm the discovering.

They discovered that the quantity and forms of bone match the Bjerringhøj set precisely, as do the textiles. “We don’t doubt that these must be the things that actually belonged to Bjerringhøj,” says Mannering.

The crew says the Bjerringhøj Viking was an grownup and doubtless male. He was buried with numerous textiles together with wrist cuffs, a fragment of embroidered wool, and several other woven items that have been seemingly used in ankle cuffs. This implies that the person was sporting lengthy trousers, though the trousers themselves usually are not preserved.

Furthermore, the wrist cuffs and items from ankle cuffs are strikingly related, says Mannering. “Of course it was not the same object, but there seems to be an overall design idea.”

Journal reference: Antiquity, DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2020.189

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