Viking warrior grave discovered by homeowners in a backyard in Setesdal, southern Norway, even richer than it seemed at first glance. When the grave was first discovered late last month, it contained a sword, a spear, several gold-plated glass beads, a fragment of a brooch, and pieces of a belt buckle. Archaeologists from the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, who arrived at the site, did not expect to find anything but a few extra beads, possibly human remains if they were lucky.
But it turns out that these initial finds did not make up even half of the contents of this grave. In the past two weeks, an axe, a shield and several knives have been found. discovered by compiling a complete set of armor for a Viking warrior. Instead of a few more beads, they found about a hundred more of the many necklaces. They also found a sickle, an iron oval with an elongated handle that could be a saucepan, two whorls and fragments of four large oval brooches, one of which is almost intact.
Similar domed oval brooches were commonly worn in pairs by Viking women to fasten straps on their backs. their bathrobes on the front shoulder straps. Two richly decorated cast bronze brooches were often connected with threads of beads. Viking men used brooches to fasten their cloaks, but they are not usually domed and do not come in pairs. This opens up the possibility that two people, a man and a woman, were buried in the grave either simultaneously, or one of the spouses was buried in the opened grave of the other after their death.
A grave with similar contents was discovered on a neighboring farm at the beginning of the 20th century, and exactly the same swords, brooches and glass beads were found in two or three local graves. These rich graves testify to the prosperity of the area during the Viking Age.
Some of the largest iron mining sites of the period are a little further north in the valley. Farmers could mine iron during the winter, and the Vikings exported iron in huge quantities to Northern Europe and England.
“This export was so huge that someone must have made a fortune out of it. And these finds are tempting to link the iron business to Valle,” says Stokke (archaeologist at the Museum of Cultural History Jo-Simon Frøshaug).
“It is an exciting thought to imagine such an aristocracy here in Valle, a group of people who have a style and identity markers that show that they belong to this segment of society. Not only because they are part of the higher echelons of power, because they have swords and such, but also because they actually form a small aristocracy. They are dressed alike and brought the same things with them to the grave.”