Unsolved Questions About Viking Burial Mounds

Posted by Ms Elly on

Unsolved Questions in Viking Burial Mounds

What gets us the most about the Vikings must not only be their spirit and their belief but also the mysteries around them, especially their burial mound. Viking burial mound and Viking funeral rituals truly reflect their religious and social beliefs. However, by far, there have been a number of unsolved mysteries. This blog post is to put forward three questions revolving some Viking burial mounds excavated. 

Were all men buried with weapons warriors?

The common belief is that the Vikings only buried everyday things with the deceased. By doing this, they believed that the deceased could carry on living as they used to do. Therefore, if any excavation revealed the weapons inside, we assume that it belonged to a Viking warrior. 

However, what if it was a burial mound belonging to a woman and she was buried with various weapons?

In Birka, which once was an economically politically important town of the Vikings, the archaeologists found out such a burial mound. It was BJ581 the mound containing skeletons of a Viking woman. She was buried with axes, a sword, some spearheads, a Viking chess game, and some horses.

What was with her in the mound tried to tell us that she once was an honored Viking warrior? Because not everyone in the Viking Age could afford for themselves a sword. And the woman has buried with a sword a symbol of honor and power in Viking Age. 

Of course, this meant something. In the Middle Age, women were denied the right to be equal with men, both in family and society. This meant women could not enter the army. Yet, the burial mound BJ581 told us that Viking women were much more special because they could fight along with men? 

Viking BJ581 unsolved questions about the Viking burial mound

BJ581 sketch

Looking back at the Viking community, Viking women did enjoy more basic rights than women in other parts of Europe. Viking women could own lands and lands meant power back then (and even now). Viking women could also divorce if their husbands did something that they could not tolerate. 

Did the Vikings bury the children as a sacrifice?

Sacrificial things like jewelry, weapons, or animals were nothing strange to us. But what about kids as sacrifice?

Next to the Viking Age fortress of Trelleborg, the archaeologists found out many wells and pits that contained goods as well as human and animal remains. What astonished the archaeologists at that time were the children skeletons in Trelleborg wells that they finally excavated. This quickly aroused that question of whether the Vikings buried the children to wish for something?

skeletons of the Viking children in Trelleborg

Remains of the kid in Trelleborg well

The skeletons belonged to two children aging four and seven when they died. Because skeletons were nearly complete, the archaeologists could conclude that the two children experienced no trauma or illnesses. The cause of their death must have been from the external force. 

Many scholars assumed that the children died to make some constructions nearby to get successfully erected. Simply speaking, they were executed to make a sacrifice to wish for good weather or something fortune when the Vikings were trying to build some houses. They evidenced that the Viking viewed rivers and wells as a connection with their gods because the archaeologists often found out many sacrificial pieces like swords or jewelry in the rivers lakes. 

This meant that the Vikings could possibly bury the two kids as a sacrifice. Many people say that this was cruel and the Vikings were savage. But I bet the scale of cruelty level of the modern time and the middle age is completely different. 

What they did in the past meant did is cruel based on own subjective viewpoints, not theirs. And I do believe that medieval people in other parts could do far more terrible things. 

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