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Was Norway’s Oseberg Ship a Tomb for a Viking Queen?

During the late 19th century, a young Norwegian farmer, Johannes Hansen, arrived in the United States where—like many Scandinavians of the period—he had high hopes of starting a new life. However, an encounter with a fortune teller there made him change his plans. He learned that he need not suffer hardships in America to get…


Throughout the lifeless 19th century, a younger Norwegian farmer, Johannes Hansen, arrived within the US the put—like many Scandinavians of the length—he had excessive hopes of starting a recent existence. On the opposite hand, an bump into with a fortune teller there made him switch his plans. He realized that he needn’t undergo hardships in The US to get affluent on yarn of hidden on his farm aid home became a pleasant admire.

This fateful bump into, described in a 1930 compilation of native history of Oseberg in southern Norway, will be nothing better than a fable, but it surely reveals the intrigue and legends that surround one of the main crucial thrilling discoveries from theViking age.

Hansen returned to Oseberg. He began to excavate a appealing mound on his land but realized nothing. He halted digging, speculating that the mound became factual a burial situation of Sunless Loss of life victims from the 1349 epidemic. (This Mass Grave Could presumably presumably Belong to ‘Good Viking Military.‘)

Hansen and his neighbors had real motive to suspect there’ll be crucial archaeological websites within the location. In 1879 two formative years in Gokstad, a metropolis within the identical allege of Vestfold as Oseberg, realized the burial arrangement of a ninth-century Viking prince. The mysterious mound had also yielded an unbelievable discovery: a total wood Viking ship encased within the dust. (What you develop no longer be taught about the Vikings would maybe well moreover shock you.)

Buried boat

In 1903 Knut Rom, one of Hansen’s neighbors, supplied the Oseberg farm. Rom persisted to search around the property and soon did catch one thing: a wood fragment measuring simplest eight inches. It became a diminutive catch that heralded one thing grand better.

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Sixty miles away, within the Norwegian capital, Oslo, Rom approached Professor Gabriel Gustafson of the University Museum of National Antiquities. In the starting up it regarded the ragged archaeologist would maybe well moreover brush aside this farmer out of hand— but after Rom supplied him with the wood fragment, Gustafson marveled on the affluent, intricate carving. He had absolute self assurance about the fragment’s Viking origins. (Why were archaeologists so enraged to search out a Viking comb?)




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Alerted tothe presence of Viking stays at Oseberg in summer 1903, Professor Gustafson (center) traveled from Oslo to the positioning, the put a preliminary dig immediate a significant catch. Awful climate compelled Gustafson and his team to wait till the next Could presumably presumably to get aid to work.

The very next day the professor went to Oseberg and explored the mound to bear in mind the positioning. On August 10, 1903, he told the Norwegian press that a significant, contemporary Viking burial ship had been realized. No matter the fortune teller’s predictions, Knut Rom, no longer Hansen, changed into out to be the beneficiary of the admire hunt: Rom bought 12,000 Norwegian kroner (about $1,400) for the land—a substantial quantity of money on the time.

Digging begins

The excavation started the next spring. The burial mound, 130 ft large and 19 ft excessive, became manufactured from blue clay and stones covered with turf from the native marshlands. This protective layer supplied the trusty stipulations to retain wood, which explains why the Oseberg ship’s situation became higher than the vessel realized in Gokstad. The weight of the earth, on the opposite hand, had beaten the building and its contents. Experts took years to put the total substances aid together. (Archeaologists spend ground penetrating radar to search out Viking burial ships.)




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Leisurely Present

Professor Gustafson and his team fastidiously excavated the ship from the Oseberg burial mound in 1904.

After excavation, the ship measured 70 ft long and 16 ft large. It had been placed with the prow going thru the ocean. The funeral chamber itself became within the strict, made out of wood that has been dated to A.D. 834. Gustafson realized the tomb had been looted, doubtlessly soon after the burial. The thieves entered thru the prow, broke into the tomb, and stole what is thought now to were the most worthwhile grave items, scattering the bones within the plan. (Systems on how to strive in opposition to like a Viking)

Royal bones?

The most modern review point to that these bones belonged to two women: one approximatelt 70 years primitive and the opposite grand younger, about 50 years of age. There became immediate speculation about their identity: Some believed one of the main women will be Queen Åsa, the grandmother of Harald I (A.D. 860-940), the fundamental king of a united Norway. Others believed one of the main women became a excessive priestess. Whoever they were, their affluent attire indicated that they held crucial positions in Viking society. (Renowned Viking Warrior Became once a Lady, DNA Shows.)

Some students center of attention on that one of them—it’s miles no longer any longer known whom—became doubtlessly sacrificed to accompany the elevated ranking individual in her long scuttle within the afterlife.

Rather then the ship itself, the grave items that had been left undisturbed included objects for day to day spend: beds, tapestries, attire, combs, farming instruments, and tents. There became also a cart, in conjunction with the stays of 15 horses, 6 canines, and a pair of cows. The tomb became furnished with everything the deceased would maybe well moreover need as they boarded their richly carved vessel for its closing, mysterious voyage into the field of the lifeless.

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