Archaeologists use a radars method to detect buried boat graves of the Viking period


The place of the boats (marked in black ellipses) was uncovered utilizing a radar pulled by the small car proven on this picture. Jani Causevic/NIKU.

For the Vikings, a lot of life revolved round water. It’s unsurprising then that Vikings (and a number of other different pre-colonial societies) carried out a peculiar funerary observe that concerned utilizing boats or ships both as tombs for storing lifeless our bodies or as grave items buried with the lifeless. Archaeologists name such funerary websites boat graves or ship burials. These constructions are uncommon as a result of solely the people who had excessive standing within the Viking society was once buried like this.

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Lately, archaeologists from Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Analysis (NIKU) have recognized a boat grave in Kvinesdal, Norway. The archaeological survey that exposed the boat grave was carried out utilizing motorized high-resolution GPR (Ground-penetrating Radar), a method that entails using radar pulses for imaging and investigating underground constructions that lie comparatively near the floor (a number of meters). 

The researchers put GPR to good use, figuring out a number of options of curiosity in Kvinesdal. Kvinesdal is already widespread amongst archaeologists as one of many largest Iron Age funerary websites in southern Norway, however surprisingly, it’s the first boat grave discovery within the space.  

The boat grave and burial mounds found in Øyesletta, Kvinesdal. Picture Credit: Jani Causevic/NIKU

The boat grave was discovered at a depth of about 9 meters within the floor, and in the course of the survey, quite a few different burial mounds had been additionally found. The researchers are assured that their examine of the newly found burial web site in Kvinesdal is prone to reveal extra secrets and techniques concerning the way of life of high-status individuals in the course of the Viking Age (790 – 1066 AD).  

This isn’t the first time archaeologists have come throughout thrilling Viking-era burial websites in southern Norway. In 2018 and 2019 additionally, a unique group of researchers from NIKU carried out GPR surveys in Gjellestad. Throughout a kind of surveys, the researchers detected ten burial mounds (9 round and one oval), together with a big boat grave. The Viking boat found in Gjellestad was about 19 m lengthy and 5 meters broad, and it was buried between 0.9 and 1.1 metres beneath the bottom.  

A zoomed-in picture of radar information displaying the place of a Viking burial ship. Jani Causevic/NIKU.

NIKU archaeologist Jani Causevic, who found the boat grave in Kvinesdal utilizing GPR is happy about how expertise is enabling researchers in discovering increasingly such historical burial websites. In an interview with HeritageDaily, Causevic commented:

“That is extremely thrilling. Each to find such a discovery, but additionally to see how using georadar provides us the chance to discover and doc cultural historical past by means of new and thrilling strategies.”

The GPR survey in Kvinesdal was carried out as part of Arkeologi på nye veier (Archaeology on New Roads), a research project backed by the Kulturhistorisk museum, Norwegian street development firm Nye Veier, Agder county municipality, and the Nationwide Heritage Board. The following aim of NIKU’s archaeology group is to learn the way the boat and different grave goods managed to remain preserved for 1000’s of years. 


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