– Archaeologists excavating at Silkeborg, Denmark have unearthed 3,000-year-oled Viking graves, pit houses and ancient artifacts.
Pit-houses were in most cases used as workshops and residential homes during the Viking era.
The pit houses were made in Trelleborg-style with their characteristic walls with two parallel rows of pillars and also several pit-houses in the west. At least two of the discovered graves were accommodated high-status Vikings.
According to Maria Thiemke, from the Silkeborg Museum, Denmark this region has been active since the Stone Age and at least 14 houses and five graves are from the Stone Ages, Bronze Age and Middle Age.
“The graves are located close to a church from the Middle Ages and that’s often an indication that there’s been activity on the site for a long time. But what we’ve found is a jigsaw puzzle with lots of pieces and probably from six, seven, or eight different games, archaeologist Rikke Isler from Silkeborg Museum said.
Earlier in the year scientists also discovered an ancient a klinker nail inside one of the graves. A klinker nail is a special nail that indicates that the grave could have contained a wagon. This type of grave was usually reserved for women of high social status, nobility or great wealth.
Inside another Viking grave scientists found a gold-like metal object, the size of a dice, in a chamber grave.
“It has a little green dot, and this indicates that it is bronze. It could be from an ornament on a horse harness, but it’s too early to say anything yet,” says Isler, who tentatively dates the two graves to be around 800 to 900 CE.
Besides this, they’ve also discovered an axe head from the Stone Age, a chisel or hammer-like case, which is probably from the Bronze Age, small spindles from the Viking era, and a key from the Middle Ages.
The ancient artifacts will help scientists to determine the age of the Viking graves.
“Ceramics change with the time period and the same goes for jewellery fashion and this was very quick in the Viking period. So we can judge the time period from the style,” says Isler.
The discovery of mica slate stone inside the pit house indicates that this little community once had direct or indirect trading links overseas.
“Mica comes from modern day Norway and has been imported. It was used as a millstone to grind corn to flour. This tells us that the settlement had good trading relationships. The import of millstone began in the Viking era and continued up until the Middle Ages,” says Thiemke.
Among the other remains of what they believe to be barns as well as other residential buildings, the archaeologists have found one mystery building.
“We have a small building with a trench dug all the way around. It’s probably too small to have been a tower and it doesn’t make sense to dig a trench around a barn. I haven’t seen anything like this before,” says Thiemke.
How do the graves fit in relation to the houses?
“The chamber grave and the wagon-body grave indicate prestige. If we can link a noble man’s lineage to the residence, then that is really important knowledge,” Archaeologist Jens Ulriksen from the Museum of South east Denmark said.
The archaeologists on site hope that they will gain new insights from the excavation.
“It would be fantastic to find a well-equipped grave with a wagon-body, rare jewellery, caskets, and glass beads. But the dream is to find something that leads to new knowledge. Something that we have never seen before,” says Thiemke.
All this discoveries are very interesting as they will provide us with a better understand how life looked here thousands of years ago.