Gjermundbu Burial Mound: Graves of Viking Warriors

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Gjermundbu Burial Mound: Graves of Viking Warriors

On 30 March 1943, a farmer named Lars Gjermundbo informed to a team of archaeologists in Oslo, Norway that he had found a burial mound on his farmland. The place was near the farm of Gjermundbu, Buskerud county, southern Norway which later earned the name for the burial mound and the artifacts excavated. Archaeologists turned up at the spot and the result was fascinating. 

The burial site was 25 meters (82ft) in length, 8 meters (26.2 ft) in width, and 1.8m (6ft) in height in the middle part. The first grave in the site was called Gjermundbu I and Gjermundbu II for the later discovery. 

Fragments of Viking Gjermundbu helmet

Fragments from the Viking Gjermundbu helmet

Inside the Gjermundbu I, archaeologists found out many objects that could have been personal belongings and many of them were for activities like fighting, hunting, horse riding, playing games, and cooking. Yet, the most interesting artifact was the helmet and the chainmail they found from Gjermundbu I. 

Viking artifacts Viking sword Viking chainmail from burial mound of a Viking warrior

Viking artifacts found inside the burial mound

When the discovery of the helmet hit the headlines, it was named as the first complete Viking helmet ever found. However, this was considered nothing less than a clickbait at that time. Simply it wasn't true and the helmet was not complete. There were signs of heavy damage and it only consists of 17 fragments. This means what we have is one-fourth or one-third of the helmet. 

According to some scholars, some fragments were attached on a plaster matrix which has the rough form of the original helmet. But no matter what they have attempted and no matter how trendy this helmet has become, it is "neither well preserved nor restored" (Elisabeth Munksgaard).

Viking helmet from the Gjermundbu burial mound

Across Scandinavian regions and parts that the Vikings once went to, this form of helmet was found. For example, some fragments were found in Tjele, two from Gotland, and one from Kiev. Yet, the helmet's fragments found in Gjermundbu Burial Mound was the only one that could help the archaeologists made a modern reconstruction of the helmet. 

The archaeologists also excavated some artifacts from the Gjermundbu II. Despite not being richly equipped as the Gjermundbu I, the Gjermundbu II contained a double-edged sword, a battle axe, and a spearhead. 

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