Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries From The Nordic Region

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8. Galiciefarer’s Grave

Another high-ranking Viking’s tomb was discovered in Denmark. Unlike St. Olaf, Ulv Galiciefarer became notorious for the usual reasons: He terrorized Northern Spain. Looting and pillaging kept the Viking chief busy. Galiciefarer was also the great-grandfather of one of Denmark’s kings, Valdemar the Great, who ruled from 1157 to 1182.

Archaeologists unearthed a tomb in 2009 that had all the signs of an important person. There’s a chance that it might even be Galiciefarer’s grave. The site matches other noble tombs in the area of Naesby in Jutland. Written history calls the chieftain an “earl of Denmark,” which would have called for a stately burial. Royal graves from the time were covered with a building. While there was none at the newly discovered site, a large square in the ground shaped the foundations for one. A sword from the tomb indicated that the person lived during the first half of the 1000s, fitting with when Galiciefarer lived. The land was also Valdemar’s ancestral property, making it likely that Valdemar had Galiciefarer buried on family land.

7. Sole Secrets

In Stjordal, a team of archaeologists excavated what looked like normal burial mound in 2010. Things turned interesting when they realized that the ancient builders had used a hill as a foundation, shaving time off construction and raising the mound higher than normal. Then they discovered unexpected petroglyphs. Beneath a layer of what appeared to be a double cremation were eight carvings depicting the soles of human feet and five slightly sunken areas. Researchers believe the grave was ritually built over the drawings, which date to the Bronze Age (1800–500 BC).

The exact meaning of the feet remains a mystery. A nearly identical find was made in Ostlandet County, also with illustrated soles beneath a Bronze Age tomb, but this is the first to be found in Stjordal. The excavation also produced scorched animal and human bones from several individuals. A little south of the tomb, which dates between 500 BC and AD 1, were more drawings of soles, this time with toes and a pair of boats.

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