Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tomb Could Be That of Tutankhamun’s Wife and Egyptian Leading Lady Ankhesenamun


Ancient Origins


Egyptologists believe they may be on the verge of a major discovery related to a leading lady of ancient Egypt. A new tomb found in the Valley of the Kings may have been created as the final resting place for the famous Egyptian queen Ankhesenamun – wife of Tutankhamun.

Live Science reports that the researchers were tipped off to the tomb’s existence by the discovery of four foundation deposits which Zahi Hawass described as “caches or holes in the ground that were filled with votive objects such as pottery vessels, food remains and other tools as a sign that a tomb construction is being initiated.”

According to a National Geographic interview, the researchers were examining the site between February and May. Hawass said a follow-up examination using radar showed “a substructure that could be the entrance of a tomb.”



Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt. (Wouter Hagens/CC BY SA 3.0)

Although nothing has been confirmed yet, Hawass proposes that the tomb’s owner could have been Ankhesenamun. This idea is based on the location near Pharaoh Ay’s tomb.

Ankhesenamun was a longstanding member of ancient Egyptian royalty. Her story begins as the third of six daughters to Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Great Royal Wife Nefertiti. Ankhesenamun married her half-brother Tutankhamun when he was just 8 to 10 years old and she was 13. It is said the couple had stillborn twins. She may have also been briefly married to Tutankhamun's successor, Ay, (believed by many to be her maternal grandfather). There have also been suggestions that Ankhesenamun may have been married to her father for a time as well.


Detail; gold plate depicting Pharaoh Tutankhamun and consort, Ankhesenamun. (CC BY SA 3.0)

This may be shocking for people today, but it was a rather common practice for the royals of ancient Egypt. As April Holloway explains:

“Marriage within family was not uncommon in ancient Egypt and was practiced among royalty as a means of perpetuating the royal lineage. The pharaohs believed they were descended from the gods and incest was seen as acceptable so as to retain the sacred bloodline. However, what they were unaware of at the time was the severe consequences of family inbreeding.”


Detail; Tutankhamun receives flowers from Ankhesenamun as a sign of love. (Public Domain)

Proof for Ay and Ankhesenamun’s marriage has been offered in the form of a finger-ring that was found by Professor Percy Newberry in an antique shop in Cairo in the spring of 1931. It had cartouches of Ay and Ankhesenamun inscribed side by side―which many scholars say is proof of wedlock.

Although the possibility of finding Ankhesenamun’s lost tomb is exciting, it is also worth noting that there is an argument against a marriage between Ay and Ankhesenamun. “Her name never appeared within his tomb and it is believed that she may have died during or shortly after Ay’s reign, as she disappears from history shortly after his period.” If this is true, the tomb near KV23 may have nothing to do with Ankhesenamun.


Portrait study thought to be of Ay from the studio of the sculptor Thutmose. (CC BY SA 3.0) 

To date, it is not known where exactly Ankhesenamun was buried and no funerary objects with her name are known to exist. However, back in 2010 it was proposed that a mummy found in KV21A was Ankhesenamun. As Ancient Origins reported “Although her remains are headless and mostly destroyed, it was possible to use her DNA to confirm that this woman is the mother of two of Tutankhamun’s children.” These results have been debated, but do not discount her as the new tomb’s owner either. Moving mummies was another common practice by ancient priests looking to save them from looters.

It seems that you’ll have to wait to discover who the tomb’s owner is until a much later date. Hawass, who is currently the Director of the Italian expedition in the Valley of the Kings, told Live Science he will oversee future excavations at the site; but no expected start date has been provided for the dig.

Top Image: Ankhesenamun Hands Tutankhamun an Arrow. Source: Asaf Braverman/CC BY NC SA 2.0

By Alicia McDermott

Monday, July 24, 2017

Dozens of Shipwrecks Dating Back Thousands of Years Found in the Aegean Sea

Ancient Origins


A cluster of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea is giving up some of its deep secrets, as diving archaeologists have now found eight shipwrecks dating back thousands of years. Six Greek and Roman shipwrecks, all Aegean origin cargos, have been discovered so far, revealing patterns of trade during antiquity.

The Fourni Underwater Survey, a joint Greek-American expedition, has previously located an astonishing number of 45 shipwrecks, during their survey around Fourni. Now, the divers can add another 8 wrecks to this hotspot for sunken ships, bringing the total number to 53 shipwrecks discovered in Fourni, making it the largest concentration of shipwrecks currently known in the Mediterranean


Archaeologists and the ROV robot work to recover an ancient North African amphora by Vasilis Mentogianis


A Late Roman amphora on the seafloor by Vasilis Mentogianis

Tempestuous Fourni
Fourni, which is composed of 13 small islands and islets between the large Aegean islands of Samos and Icaria, was critical for navigation since Samos and Ikaria created a choke point that made ships have to pass through Fourni. This resulted in a high volume of maritime traffic as it was known by mariners as a good anchorage on their trade route that went both east to west and north to south.

Ships would have anchored in spots that were protected from the usual northwest winds. But once in a while, the mariners could be caught off guard by a big southern storm. If the position of the ships anchor wasn't changed fast enough, these ships would be in trouble and crash against the rocks. Those are the misfortunate ships that are now being discovered by the diving archaeologists.

Merchants in the Mediterranean
Nearly all the ships discovered are amphora-carrying vessels, so merchant ships. In some cases, a wreck's cargo had a clear origin, such as a set of amphoras from the Greek island of Chios dating back to the Classical period (510-323 BC) and a Hellenistic-era amphoras (331-323 BC) from the Greek island of Kos. In other cases, amphoras have been identified from Italy, North Africa, Cyprus, Egypt, Spain and elsewhere. In addition to the amphoras, which served as the delivery containers of the ancient world, the divers discovered lamps, cooking pots and anchors.

The dates of the shipwrecks range from the late Greek Archaic period (525-480 BC) to the Early Modern period (1750-1850 AD).


3D model of a Roman period shipwreck by Kotaro Yamafune


Photographing large Pontic amphoras that date to the Roman Period by Vasilis Mentogianis

 More Awaits Discovery
There could be more to explore at Fourni: there are historical accounts of a 17th century French shipwreck in one of the bays and a British aircraft in the Sea near Fourni during World War II. So far, the team have covered less than half of the archipelago's total coastline in their surveys.

The deepest dives of the survey went to 65 meters, but there is probably more to discover below that level, given how steep the cliffs are.

The chief conservator carefully prepares a Classical Period Chian amphora for the conservation tank by Vasilis Mentogianis

This season primary focus was on documentation of the ships found previously. RPM Nautical Foundation's research vessel Hercules used its remote sensing equipment and ROV to assist in the survey and documentation of the shipwrecks. The project selected artifacts from sites to recover for conservation and scientific analysis, which may reveal further information about trade and exchange.

In the next phase of the project, the team hopes to go even deeper with technology such as remotely operated underwater vehicles.

Top image: An archaeologist systematic photographs a wreck site to create a 3D site plan by Vasilis Mentogiani.

By Sam Bostrom

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Neolithic Burial Mound Uncovered Near Stonehenge


Ancient Origins


A Neolithic burial mound near Stonehenge that experts refer to as the “House of the Dead” has been discovered in Wiltshire, England. According to archaeologists, the newly found tumulus in the Vale of Pewsey could possibly contain human remains that are more than 5,000 years old.

 “House of the Dead”
Discovered A team of students and staff from the University of Reading’s Archaeology Field School, with the help of volunteers from the area, has examined the site of a Neolithic long tumulus in a location known as Cat’s Brain – the first to be fully explored in Wiltshire in more than fifty years. The Cat’s Brain long tumulus, discovered in the heart of a farmer’s field halfway between the legendary prehistoric monuments of Avebury and Stonehenge, consists of two trenches edging what seems to be a central building. Researchers speculated that this could have possibly been covered with a rounded mass created naturally by the earth dug from the ditches, but has been cultivated flat over the centuries. The monument that researchers have referred to as the “House of the Dead” dates to the early Neolithic period and is the first barrow to be fully examined in Wiltshire since the 1960s.


Possible Neolithic burial site in a wheat field near Stonehenge, UK. (Screenshot Credit: Andy Burns)

The research team believes that this memorial could possibly contain human remains – hence the nickname “House of the Dead – which were buried there around 3,600 BC. The memorial was first noticed by aerial photos of the location and followed up by geophysical survey imagery.

Dr. Jim Leary, Director of the Archaeology Field School, said as Heritage Daily reports, “Opportunities to fully investigate long barrows are virtually unknown in recent times, and this represents a fantastic chance to carefully excavate one using the very latest techniques and technology. Members of the public now have the chance to visit us and see prehistory being unearthed as we search for human remains on the site. Discovering the buried remains of what could be the ancestors of those who lived around Stonehenge would be the cherry on the cake of an amazing project.”

British Long Barrows Long barrow style burial mounds are found throughout the British Isles, with a high concentration being found in the Cotswolds, a hill range which rolls gently through the picturesque countryside of 5 counties in central England, including Wiltshire. The need for long barrow style burial sites was explained in an Ancient Origins article when a similar site was excavated near Cirencester last year.

According to Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum:
 “Faced with the problem of disposing of the remains of their dead, many Neolithic communities chose to inter the bodies (or sometimes the cremated remains) in chambered tombs constructed inside distinctively shaped stone and soil mounds. These burial chambers and the access passages to them from outside were built of large slabs of stone (orthostats) and dry-stone walling. The covering mound was usually pear-shaped or roughly trapezoidal, often with a shallow ‘horned’ forecourt at one end, the whole surrounded by a low dry-stone wall. It has been estimated that each barrow could have taken 10 men some 7 months to build.”


Entrance to the West Kennet Long Barrow, in the same region as the new excavation in Wiltshire. (CC BY SA 3.0)

 Long barrows were the earliest examples of monumental architecture to be found in Britain, some dating back six millennia, although the one being explored at Cat’s Brain is thought to be around 5,000 years old, the same age as Stonehenge. Previous such monuments have been found to contain as many as 50 men, women and children. For example, the West Kennet long barrow nearby the latest excavation, contained 46 persons from babies to the elderly.

 An interesting development in the county occurred in 2014 when a newly constructed long barrow was opened to be used as a tomb for modern use. It has the capacity to hold 1000 urns of cremated remains.



The modern, functioning long barrow at All Cannings in Wiltshire started its use in 2014 (CC BY SA 4.0)

Phenomenal Discovery
After clearing the surface of the monument, the clear outline of the long barrow ditches is visible, as well as the footprint of the building. Next step for the team is to conclude the three-year Archaeology Field School project by excavating the site and unearth artifacts, bones, and other objects, that will be later analyzed closely. Experts suggest that this analysis will offer very important information and evidence for the residents and society in Britain during this remote period. Furthermore, the University of Reading’s Archaeology Field School is working at Marden henge, the largest henge in the country, constructed around 2,400 BC, also within the Vale of Pewsey.

Amanda Clarke, co-director of the Archaeology Field School, stated as Heritage Daily reports, “This incredible discovery of one of the UK’s first monuments offers a rare glimpse into this important period in history. We are setting foot inside a significant building that has lain forgotten and hidden for thousands of years.” Members of the public will be able to visit the site to see up close the archaeologists at work during an open day on Saturday 15 July.

Top image: Archaeologists looking at aerial photography found a hidden long barrow, or Neolithic burial chamber, hidden beneath a wheat field Credit: Archaeological Field School, University of Reading

By Theodoros Karasavvas

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Hippocratic Medical Recipe Lost in a Famous Egyptian Monastery Finally Comes to Light

Ancient Origins


The library at St. Catherine's Monastery is considered one of the most important for ancient texts.

New research examining a manuscript from the 6th century shows that it is not just the visible writing that holds value, but also the letters hidden underneath them. A copy of a medical recipe linked to the father of Western medicine, Hippocrates, is just one text that was waiting centuries to be uncovered.

The manuscript containing the recipe has been dated to the 5th or 6th century AD, so it is not an original created by the famed Greek physician Hippocrates; it is just a copy created after his death. Nonetheless, a researcher with the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library (EMEL) told Asharq Al-Awsat the document also holds value for its age, stating that the text "will be enlisted among the oldest and the most important manuscripts in the world.”

The recovered manuscript. (Ahram Online)

The nature of the remedy has yet to be provided, however it was found alongside drawings of herbs and three other medical recipes written by an anonymous author. Helmy El-Namnam, the Egyptian culture minister, asserted that the presence of these texts contained within the manuscript provides evidence for the leading position Egyptians had in science.

The identified manuscript is one example of the 130 known palimpsests held within the library of St. Catherine’s Monastery. Palimpsests are examples of manuscript pages which have text scraped or washed off them so that they can be reused for another document. In this case, the pages were made of leather. Ahmed Al-Nimer, supervisor of Coptic archaeology documentation at the ministry, explained to Ahram Online that the early text was erased “due to the high cost of leather at that time.”

National Geographic reports that the text was erased in the Middle Ages to make space for Bible text known as the “Sinaitic manuscript.” It was only thanks to the ongoing partnership between St. Catherine's Monastery and the EMEL that the medical texts were discovered.


Example of a palimpsest. The lower text is from the 6th century (Codex Guelferbytanus 64 Weissenburgensis, folio 92 verso), it contains the text of Luke 1:6-13; the upper text is from the 13th century - Isidore of Seville's "Origines" 8.10.2-8.11.4. (Public Domain)

EMEL used spectral imaging to reveal the text written by scholars interested in preserving Hippocrates’ medical knowledge into the 6th century. Spectral imaging allows experts to see images and text that is not visible with the naked eye.

EMEL also recognizes that there is a great possibility for more major discoveries lost within the pages of manuscripts held in the oldest monastery in the world.

 According to Asharq Al-Awsat, the library at St. Catherine's Monastery holds thousands of manuscripts written in Arabic, Greek, Ethiopian, Coptic, Armenian, and Syriac languages, as well as decrees created by Muslim caliphates. Many of the texts are considered rare.


St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. (Berthold Werner/CC BY SA 3.0)

Although St. Catherine's Monastery is now considered a Byzantine era treasure for Egypt, it only survives today due to on an ancient and controversial agreement. As Ancient Origins writer Dhwty explains:

“According to tradition, the monks at St. Catherine’s Monastery had requested the protection of the Prophet Muhammad himself. The Prophet, who is said to have regarded Christians as brothers in faith, accepted their request favorably. A controversial document, known as the Actiname (‘Holy Testament’) was signed by the Prophet himself in 623 AD. According to this document, the monks of St. Catherine’s Monastery were granted exemption from taxes and military service. Additionally, Muslims were called upon to protect the monastery and provide the monks with every help. As a gesture of reciprocity, during the Fatimid period, the monks allowed the conversion of a crusader church within the monastery walls into a mosque.”


The Patent of Mohammed Granted to the Holy Monastery of Sinai, Saint Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, Egypt. (Public Domain)

The monastery has been on the UNESCO world heritage list since 2002 and also a popular tourist attraction.

Top Image: Monastery of St. Catherine at Mount Sinai. (Wellcome Images/CC BY 4.0) A page of ancient writing. (Public Domain)

By Alicia McDermott

Friday, July 21, 2017

Archaeologists Discover Ancient British Stones Have Secret Markings Visible Only at Night

Ancient Origins


A new study suggests that Stonehenge and other ancient stone memorials could have been used for sacred moonlit ceremonies which took place late at night. The archaeologists taking part in this study have come to this conclusion, after finding that some mysterious messages are visible only at night.

 The Peculiarity of Hendraburnick Quoit
Until recently, Neolithic structures were thought to be exclusively connected with the movements of the sun, with the immense Wiltshire circle of Stonehenge being the ultimate example, as the specific monument lines up perfectly with the summer solstice. However, a new archaeological study implies that the Neolithic monument was used differently than most structures of its kind. As The Telegraph reports, the new examination of the Stone Age engraved panel Hendraburnick Quoit in Cornwall by Dr. Andy Jones – who has been working in conjunction with the Cornwall Archaeological Unit – showed ten times as many markings on the engraved panel when viewed in moonlight or very low sunlight from the south east.


Marks on the rock came into view under a camera flash and would have lit up in moonlight Credit: Dr Andy Jones

 For those who might not be aware of the specific monument, keep in mind that Hendraburnick “Quoit” is in fact a misnomer. In reality is not a quoit at all, but an impressive and picturesque propped stone, lying upon a gently rolling valley-side in Cornwall. It is an exciting site, and aside from being a testament to the power of prehistoric people to shift these enormous stones, it also highlights many ancient engravings known as cup-marks, which involve the hollowing out of rounded dimples in the rock.


Hendraburnick Quoit (CC BY SA 2.0)

Special “Effects” under the Moonlight
 Interestingly, archaeologists also noticed that at some point in history, people who probably occupied the location near the site smashed up many pieces of quartz around the area which would have radiated light in the dark, thereby giving a unique and impressive effect during the night.

Dr. Jones claims that this unique phenomenon didn’t take place at the Hendraburnick Quoit exclusively, but instead it has also been traced in a few other ancient stone monuments such as Stonehenge for example. He told The Telegraph, “I think the new marks show that this site was used at night and it is likely that other megalithic sites were as well. We were aware there were some cup and ring marks on the rocks but we were there on a sunny afternoon and noticed it was casting shadows on others which nobody had seen before. When we went out to do some imaging at night, when the camera flashed we suddenly saw more and more art, which suggested that it was meant to be seen at night and in the moonlight.”


llustration of the marks found on the rock Credit: Thomas Goskar

Sacred Attribute of the Hendraburnick Quoit
Writing in the archaeology journal Time and Mine, Dr. Jones and colleague Thomas Goskar conclude, “As in many cultures where darkness is associated with the supernatural and the heightening of senses, it is possible that some activities at Hendraburnick Quoit may have been undertaken at night. Quartz has luminescent properties and reflects both moonlight and firelight. Given that human eye perceives color and shade quite differently at night than by daylight and the art would have been visible in moonlit conditions, the smashed quartz at Hendraburnick could have been used as part of night time activity on the site in order to ‘release’ the luminescent properties of the quartz around the monument and ‘reveal’ the art in a particular way. After the ritual, the broken pieces, once they had fallen on the ground, could have effectively formed a wider platform or arc which would have continued to glisten around it in the moonlight, and thereby added to the ‘aura’ of the site.”

Next step for archaeologists is to discover what exactly happened during these special ceremonies under the moonlight. The new research was published in the archaeology journal Time and Mind.

Top image: Lanyon Quoit. Used as the overriding image of ancient Cornwall and also known as the Giant's Table. (CC BY SA 2.0)

By Theodoros Karasavvas

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Archaeologists Uncover Spine-tingling New Hoard of Roman Letters at Vindolanda Fort

Ancient Origins


Archaeologists have spotted a stockpile of Roman letters at Vindolanda, the fort below Hadrian’s Wall in the north of England. Experts can’t hide their excitement about the newly found 25 tablets and hope that the new letters will reveal previously unknown information about the characters that lived there as well as ancient Roman life at the site.

 2,000-Year-Old Letters Discovered at Vindolanda
The Guardian recently reported that an exciting fresh find of 25 Roman letters has been discovered at the archaeological site of Vindolanda, where some of the most significant and prominent documents found in the UK from the Roman world were discovered in back in 1992.

As previously reported in an Ancient Origins article, Vindolanda was a small garrison, where only a few hundred Roman soldiers were stationed with their families. They took shelter inside the fort behind a series of a large ditches and ramparts. The war between the Roman forces and British tribes was long and cruel. Romans arrived in Britain for the first time around 55 or 54 BC, when Julius Caesar launched an invasion. The war between the invaders and British tribes ceased around 212 AD, and the fort went out of use. Vindolanda was abandoned and anything that people didn't want or couldn't take with them to the new settlements was left behind and remained there for nearly two millennia. New constructions built on top of the old created an oxygen free environment that preserved many of the precious artifacts. As a natural consequence, the newly found wooden tablets are well-preserved and still in a good condition.



The general area of the fort currently being excavated, where the letters were found. (vindolanda.com)

One Tablet Reveals Romans Loved their Beer
The tablets will be scanned with infrared light which will most likely make the faint marks in black ink clear enough to read, even though the cursive script is universally a cryptic crossword puzzle that will most likely baffle experts for several months before they manage to solve it. The good news, however, is that archaeologists have already managed to reveal the identity of one of the historical figures – already known from the original find at the site – from a tablet’s content. This person is Masclus, a Roman soldier who we learned in the previous find, was ordered by his commanding officer to write a letter, requesting more beer supplies to be sent to his outpost on the wall. Additionally, the letter also reveals that Masclus asks for a leave, or "commeatus" in Latin, probably with a painful hangover. It will be interesting to see what more we learn of Masclus and company from the new letters.


Some of the latest letter tablets, which were penned on thin strips of wood. (vindolanda.com)

In total, the hoard of documents from the site provides a previously unknown view of daily life in a Roman garrison. Other than beer requests, the letters include birthday invitations, while some of them reveal the derogatory terms Roman used to refer to the locals. More importantly, the cache of letters includes the oldest example of women's handwriting from Europe, in the correspondence between two high-ranking military commanders' wives. Dr Robin Birley, the second generation of his family to lead at the site, said as The Guardian reports, "Some of these new tablets are so well preserved that they can be read without the usual infrared photography and before going through the long conservation process. There is nothing more exciting than reading these personal messages from the distant past. This is the find I have been hoping for all my working life.”


Headquarters building at the center of Vindolanda Roman Fort (CC BY SA 2.0)

One Particular Letter Stands Out from the Rest
The majority of the new letters are written like those of the original find on thin slivers of birch, except one rare double-leaved oak tablet, where the two pieces of timber folded together, giving this way an exceptionally good preservation of ink on the wooden tablet which experts suggest that was used for more significant correspondence than the more common birch. “I was a lad of 17 when the first letters were found, and every season since then I have hoped, but never really expected, that more might turn up. My father has been rather poorly recently, but by the time I got home he had cracked open a bottle of champagne and the level had already fallen considerably,” an excited Dr. Birley, added as The Guardian reports.

The next step now is to put the wooden tablets through infrared photography and a meticulous preservation process so that more of the text can be deciphered.

Top image: One of the new tablets, which arenow undergoing painstaking conservation and infrared photography (vindolanda.com)

By Theodoros Karasavvas

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Discovery of Two Boat Burials Changes Viking Timeline


Ancient Origins


According to accepted accounts, the Viking Age began in 793 AD off the coast of northern England when the first raid of Scandinavian warriors is recorded to have taken place. The Vikings emerged suddenly and expanded rapidly across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Although the Vikings are known to have originated in Scandinavia, there is little known about how and why they suddenly built ships and took off in search of new lands. Was it climate change, overpopulation, desire for wealth or simply a thirst for adventure? Whatever it was, the Vikings made a lasting impact on the world. But is all we know about them correct?

 The Beginning of the Viking Storm
A discovery on a Baltic Island nearly a decade ago, shed new light on how the Viking storm first began. “Two ships filled with slain warriors uncovered on the Estonian island of Saaremaa may help archaeologists and historians understand how the Vikings’ warships evolved from short-range, rowed craft to sailing ships; where the first warriors came from; and how their battle tactics developed,” reported Archaeology Magazine. “Between them, the two boats contain the remains of dozens of men. Seven lay haphazardly in the smaller of the two boats, which was found first. Nearby, in the larger vessel, 33 men were buried in a neat pile, stacked like wood, together with their weapons and animals. The site seems to be a hastily arranged mass grave, the final resting place for Scandinavian warriors killed in an ill-fated raid on Saaremaa, or perhaps waylaid on a remote beach by rivals”.


The remains of 33 men buried in the ship that brought them from Scandinavia to an Estonian island Credit: Liina Maldre, University of Tallinn

Does the Discovery Change Accepted Timelines?
The men are believed to have died in battle up to a century before the Viking Age officially started, an era that wasn’t previously known for long voyages. The ruins of the two boats display a high level of technological advancement, a transformation which had been taking place in the 8th century Baltic. They were clearly capable of open-sea travel.

The first boat, which had no sail and would have been rowed from Scandinavia, is believed to have been constructed around 650 AD. Evidence suggests it had been repaired and patched decades before its final voyage. The second boat was far more sophisticated. Although it had largely deteriorated, the discovery of a keel – a feature essential for keeping a sailing boat upright – suggests the Scandinavians were sailing in the Baltic at least a century before accepted timelines say they were.


One of the skeletons found aboard the smaller ship. Credit: Marge Konsa, University of Tartu

Evidence of Boat Burial Suggests More Gradual Emergence of the Vikings
Experts believe the two boats are the remains of a boat burial, a ritual strongly associated with the Vikings. The finding suggests that this tradition had gradually evolved over centuries and did not just emerge suddenly in the Viking Age.

The finding of the two boats is significant as it supports a new perspective of the Vikings, suggesting that the start of the Viking Age wasn’t as sudden as previously believed, but was a more gradual process. It now seems that the Scandinavian warriors developed and enhanced their ship-building skills over several centuries, eventually reaching a level that allowed them to take off in the open ocean, reaching faraway lands and leaving their traces across four continents.

Top image: Illustration of a Viking ship (public domain)

By April Holloway