Jewellery and weapons found at Viking burial site in North Island

As excavations at the Dysnes site in Eyjafjörður fjord in North Iceland continue, archaeologists uncovered more artefacts connected with the Viking age boat burials located there.

Aerial view of the site (by Hildur Gestsdóttir)

Archaeologists working at the site this season have already discovered hundreds of artefacts among which are pearls, two swords, three spears and three shields. So far six Viking age burials have been found and two of them – two confirmed boat burials – have been explored, with investigation of a third one underway. According to archaeologists, despite heavy erosion from the sea, the site offers many new valuable information as Viking age boat burials are very rare in Iceland.

Second Viking sword found at the site (by Hildur Gestsdóttir)

The erosion is the main hazard for the site. Almost half of one of the burials already excavated had been washed away by the sea. All the burials are rather large, covered by 8-9-metre long burial mounds. The size of the mounds could similarly point to the significance of the site. The already excavated graves, dating to 10th  century, seem to have belonged to men of high status and significant wealth, as only chiefs could afford to be buried in boats. Many Viking age burials discovered in Iceland have been disturbed and robbed, but these ones, despite some indication of robbers’ activity in the past, seem to be preserved untouched, but it is impossible to know what valuables and artefacts have been removed from disturbed graves.

Archaeologists at the site (by Hildur Gestsdóttir)

(after Hildur Gestsdóttir & Iceland Magazine)

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