A Woman in a Man's World: The Importance of Women in the Viking Society
Viking queen may be exhumed for clues to killing
OSLO, Norway (Reuters) -- The grave of a mysterious Viking queen may hold the key to a 1,200 year-old case of suspected ritual killing, and scientists are planning to unearth her bones to find out.
She is one of two women whose fate has been a riddle ever since their bones were found in 1904 in a 72 feet longboat buried at Oseberg in south Norway, its oaken form preserved miraculously, with even its menacing, curling prow intact.
The Oseberg ship was found in a large burial mound at the Slagen farm in Vestfold and excavated in 1904. The ship was built in around 815-820 A.D. and had been used as a sailing vessel for many years before it was put to use as a burial ship for a prominent woman who died in 834. The woman was placed in a burial chamber in the aft section of the ship. Next to her lay the body of another woman, possibly a servant, as well as her most valuable possessions. Under the ship was a thick layer of blue clay, while the mound itself was built up of turf. This explains the excellent state of preservation of the ship and the other objects of wood, leather and textiles.With very few exceptions, these are objects that never survive in graves of the Viking period. The mound was plundered in ancient times, perhaps explaining why no jewellry or other objects of gold and silver, were found in the grave.
Amongst many other discoveries the Oseberg grave chamber also contained the largest and most varied collection of textiles and textile tools that has ever been found in a single grave. It is without equal in Nordic Prehistory.
The textiles in the Oseberg ship