Archaeologists have discovered a 1000-year old Viking ship holding the body of a chieftain with his shield on his chest along with his sword and spear by his side. This is the first undisturbed Viking ship burial found on the British mainland.

The 16ft-long grave on the west Scotland coast was found at the Ardnamurchan peninsula (the most westerly point on the mainland of Scotland) contained the remains of the high-status Viking, laid to rest inside his boat. He was surrounded by valuable artefacts including a knife, a whetstone from Norway, a ring-pin from Ireland as well as Viking pottery.

The peninsula in the Highlands is still easier to reach by sea than along the single narrow road. But with its magnificent mountain, sea and sunset views, it was a special place for burials for thousands of years.

The same archaeological team excavated a 6000 year-old Neolithic grave and a Bronze Age burial mound 3 years ago and when they spotted the low Viking burial mound last year, thought it was a pile of field clearance rocks from recent farming. Upon investigation they couldn’t believe their good luck when they discovered the burial mound (what a find!).

There were fragments of an arm bone and several teeth that will likely be analyzed to reveal where the man came from. And amazingly, analysis of the wood clinging to the rivets are  likely to reveal what trees were felled for the ship and possibly where it was built.

An intact axe is lifted in a soil block from the site of a boat burial of a Viking chief. Video: Charlotte Tooze/University of Manchester Link to this video

Click on Ardnamurchan Peninsula to see beautiful views of this magnificent area.

Click on theguardian to read the entire article.

Added to this post for further interest and research: The Ardnamurchan Transitions Project brings together students and academics from several universities working with CFA Archaeology and Archaeology Scotland.                                                       

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4 Comments on 1000 year-old Viking chieftain’s burial ship excavated in Scotland

  1. Ann P. says:

    It’s amazing what we can do in the area of science. To actually be able to know where the trees grew that made the ship is astounding.

  2. Jon Walker says:

    This is a great story I heard about it on TV but you cover more detail. Thanks.

  3. Tiger Lilly says:

    Thanks for this post and for the effort you put into your articles. Everyone should acknowledge their sources the way you do.

  4. Sandy says:

    Thanks Tiger Lilly your comment is appreciated. I do try to remember all my sources.

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