Questions Remain Unanswered About Viking Excavations

Posted by Ms Elly on

Questions Remain Unanswered About Viking Excavations

Mystery and questions are the elements that keep our life interesting. When it comes to the Viking age, the same thing happens. Because the puzzles remain unsolved, we are more curious about this period. And every time archaeologists discovered some artifacts, questions multiply. 

Viking Excavations and the Questions Remain Unsolved   

Did the horned helmet ever appear in the Viking Age?

We can conclude that there was no historical appearance of the Viking horned helmet in the battle. No written text or archaeological remains have revealed themselves to the public eye. To be realistic, the horned helmet was just a hindrance to the triumph in the battle. 

Viking oseberg tapestry Viking excavation that leads to the unsolved questions

The left side of the Oseberg tapestry that depicting a ritual with the leading man in the top left wearing a horned helmet

But ever since the Oseberg excavation, scholars raise the questions of the appearance of Viking horned helmet. In the Oseberg burial chamber, archaeologists found a tapestry depicting a Viking ritual. On the left side of the tapestry was the leader of the ritual. The leading man was wearing a horned helmet with his hand holding a sword. 

By far, there have been no official conclusions about this question. No scholars or archaeologists can answer whether the Viking horned helmet historically existed. Even if they only appeared in the formal traditions. 

Was the concept of "Shieldmaiden" real?

We are captivated by the image of Viking skilled female warriors who were the Shieldmaiden. The burial found in Birka consisted of the remains of a woman with many weapons. This captured the attention of many archaeologists and Viking enthusiasts. 

Birka burial Viking excavation and the question whether the Viking shieldmaiden existed or not

Inside the BJ581 was the remains of a woman with weapons and two horses

Because they believed that the Vikings only buried the dead with their daily items. In other words, when a Viking died, the living would bury him/her with the things they usually used when still alive. 

Inside the BJ581, the archaeologists found a Viking woman rest in peace with remains of weapons like sword, bow, axe, and shields. These were the weapons for a typical Viking warrior. 

Though the theory of "Viking shieldmaiden" is met with many controversies, the excavation of BJ581 sheds some light upon this. 

Did the Vikings really use horns to drink?

As famous as the Viking horned helmet, the Viking drinking horns become one awesome feature. 

One Viking picture stone is found and inside it depicts a kind of feast. Everyone depicted on the stone surface was holding their drinking horns. With the archaeological findings of the drinking horns, the archaeologists can conclude that the Vikings did have the drinking cups made from the horns. 

But another question is that whether the Vikings commonly used the drinking horns every day? This question might seem unimportant. But in fact, it can help us to understand more about the Viking daily life and the Viking culture. 

Viking drinking horn in the picture stone

Regarding the picture stone mentioned, some scholars put forward theories that only the wealthy and noble used the drinking horns. And they only used the drinking horns during the formal traditions.

Because the picture stone might have depicted the luxurious side of the Vikings. Some wealthy might have commissioned the artists to depict their wealth and luxury on the stone. 

Was human sacrifice a part of Viking burial ritual?

Again, the human sacrifice stirs many questions. According to Norse mythology, in Baldur's funeral, Thor sacrificed two dwarves into the burning ship of Baldur. The scholars believed this was the first textual trace of Viking human sacrifice in funeral. 

In the Oseberg ship, the archaeologists also found out remains of two women. This made the archaeologists wonder whether one of the two women inside the burial site was sacrificed into the grave. 

Skeletons of a child out of 4 child inside the wells questions about the Viking excavations

Skeleton of the child inside the well in Trelleborg

Another Viking excavation in Trelleborg showed the skeletons of the children in the wells. They found out the children buried deep under with the animals, jewelry, and tools. This again made the scholars wonder the existence of the Viking human sacrifice. 

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