Saturday, October 29, 2011


The UK mainland's first fully intact Viking boat burial site has been uncovered in the west Highlands, archaeologists have said. The site, at Ardnamurchan, is thought to be more than 1,000 years old. Artifacts buried alongside the Viking in his boat suggest he was a high-ranking warrior. Archaeologist Dr Hannah Cobb from the University of Manchester said the "artifacts and preservation make this one of the most important Norse graves ever excavated in Britain". She has been excavating artifacts in Ardnamurchan for six years. The universities of Manchester, Leicester, Newcastle and Glasgow worked on, identified, or funded the excavation. Archaeology Scotland and East Lothian-based CFA Archaeology have also been involved in the project which led to the find.

The term "fully-intact", used to describe the find, means the remains of the body along with objects buried with it and evidence of the boat used were found and recovered. The Ardnamurchan Viking was found buried with an axe, a sword with a decorated hilt, a spear, a shield boss and a bronze ring pin. About 200 rivets - the remains of the boat he was laid in - were also found. Previously, boat burials in such a condition have been excavated at sites on Orkney. Other finds in the 5m-long (16ft) grave in Ardnamurchan included a knife, what could be the tip of a bronze drinking horn, a whetstone from Norway, a ring pin from Ireland and Viking pottery.

The finds were made as part of the Ardnamurchan Transition Project (ATP) which has been examining social change in the area from the first farmers 6,000 years ago to the Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries. Viking specialist Dr Colleen Batey, from the University of Glasgow, has said the boat was likely to be from the 10th Century AD.
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