Oseberg Animal Head Posts: Historical Puzzle Unsolved

Posted by Ms Elly on

Oseberg Animal Head Posts: Historical Puzzle Unsolved 

Whenever it comes to the Oseberg burial mound, there must be something mysterious and exciting to talk about. The women skeletons found inside the Oseberg ship once dazzled many of us to the core. The tapestry from the Oseberg burial once raised the questions related to the Viking horned helmet. The Oseberg animal head posts inside the mound are sure to grab our attention.

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Four out of five Oseberg animal heads

Five animal head posts were found inside the Oseberg burial site in 1904. The ship must date back to the mid of the 9th century. The posts found must have been painted in colors which have faded for long. The archaeologists also concluded that different woodcarvers joined to make the head posts. Because the patterns and designs of the head posts were not similar. What makes the Oseberg animal head posts become more mysterious is that no one can explain the use of the posts in the burial mound. And there have been no excavations of the similar posts in any Viking burial sites. 

Today, four of the head posts are being displayed at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. The other one is preserved and stored safely inside the museum because of the bad condition. 

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Two Oseberg animal head posts were decorated with the silver rivets

Image of the Viking mystery viking history oseberg animal heads

One of five Oseberg animal head posts is stored safely because of the bad condition. So there are four of them are now on display in the museum.

1904 witnessed the end of the Oseberg excavation which took the archaeologists up to 2 years to finish. When the Oseberg ship was discovered, the archaeologists always found out a burial chamber with the remains of two women. The chamber has become the most richly decorated Viking burial mound ever to be found. There was a beautiful tapestry inside the burial chamber which we mentioned. The two women were placed next to one another. What made us curious is always the identity of the people inside one burial site. We don't exactly know who they were and what position they held during their life. But we are sure that both or each of them were the important figures of the society. 

The remains showed that one woman was around 80 years old when she died because of cancer. The other was younger, around 50 years old with no clear cause of death. Anything about their identities is just theories. 

The women were buried with three beautiful horse sleighs, one cart, seven beds one of which had the real bullhead, 15 horses, 6 dogs, one throne chair, and some textiles. 

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Viking Oseberg animal head becomes one of the Viking styles with the name "the gripping beast"

Regarding the animal head posts, four of them were in the burial chamber while the last one in front of the Oseberg ship. All of them were around a half meter (~20in). 

The different designs of the posts suggested that they were the artworks of different woodcarvers. And two of them were decorated with silver rivets. 

Theories also surround the Oseberg Animal Head Posts. Many people tried to put forward theories about the depiction of these posts. Some believed they were the Viking dog heads, the bear heads, Freya's cats, Odin's wolves, or even the Midgard Serpent Jormungand, etc. 

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