Viking Burial in Fyrkat: Grave Dedicated to Viking Seeress?
Viking archaeological evidence never disappoints us. No matter what kind of archaeological excavation, we learn something about the Viking Age from it. And more excitingly, they often leave us in wonder. One of those archaeological excavations is the Viking burial mound in Fyrkat. The burial was interesting but the one to whom the grave was dedicated was far more interesting.
The burial was detected in Fyrkat, Denmark. The remains inside the burial suggested that it was a woman and the goods accompanied her inside the grave suggested that she was an important figure in her society which could have been a volva. In the Viking society, a volva was a woman who practised seidr - a kind of magic that helped them to see the future.
Drawing of the volva inside her burial grave
First of all, that woman turned out to be a figure of high social status. That a Viking woman deserved a luxurious burial mound was nothing weird in the Viking society. The most famous Viking burial mound for Viking woman was the Oseberg burial mound which never stops astonishing us.
The woman inside the Fyrkat burial mound wore a kind of blue and red clothes adorned with gold thread. This suggested her high rank and wealth in her clan.
The grave also contained many goods that came from other regions away from Scandinavia. At this point, only the wealthy ones could afford this kind of luxury. For example, peacocks from international trade were found inside the Gokstad burial mound one of the most luxurious Viking grave for a Viking great warrior. The woman inside Fyrkat grave wore toe rings that are yet to be found in any Scandinavian regions. Two bronze bowls were found inside the grave and the scholars believed that they must have come from anywhere in Central Asia.
The bowls buried in the volva's grave. Both of them originated outside Scandinavia
Those were the only evidence of her wealth and high social rank. Evidence of her identity and magic were her magical wand and poisonous herbs.
Her magical wand was made from iron and bronze plated outside. According to the legend, the word "volva" means "the wand carrier" or "the holder of magic staff".
This wand could have been bent before it was buried with the volva
Inside her small purse were the seeds of henbane seeds. If the seeds were thrown into the fire, it would cause smoke that if people exhaled it would have hallucination. This kind of seeds was among the Viking "drugs" that were suspected to turn the Viking warriors into berserkers.
Inside the burial mound, the archaeologists also found silver duck-foot-shaped pendants which were a kind of Viking jewelry for women. Next to her feet was a box that contained the owl pellet, small birds, and mammal bones.
Viking duck-foot-shaped pendant artifacts found inside the burial mound