Boat burial of a high-status Viking warrior found in Scotland

An intact Viking boat burial was discovered in the Ardnamurchan peninsula,  Western Scotland in 2011, and the results of its excavations were just published. This is the first boat burial from mainland UK ever found.

The boat burial (by Ardnamurchan Transitions Project)

There were earlier documented boat burials found on Scottish islands such as Orkney or Shetland. But this one is the first from Britain’s mainland. The vessel from the burial possibly was a small rowing boat about 5.1 metres long. Inside the vessel the body was placed and surrounded with grave goods. These included a ringed pin made in a distinctively Irish style, a copper alloy drinking horn rim, a sword, richly decorated with silver and copper wire, a road-bladed axe, a shield boss, and a spear.

Artefacts from the burial (by Ardnamurchan Transitions Project)

The body of the individual did not survive. Only two teeth remain from the skeleton. The researchers are trying to learn more about the person through isotopic analysis, which revealed that it was an adult, ate mostly land-based food and was born in Scandinavia and then travelled to Western Scotland. Sex and age are at this point impossible to determine with certainty. More research on the teeth is scheduled, including an attempt to extract DNA to determine the sex of the buried person.

The sword from the burial and its details (by Ardnamurchan Transitions Project)

(after International Business Times & Ardnamurchan Transitions Project)

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