Viking Woman Burial in Yorkshire Buried with Luxuries

Posted by Ms Elly on

Viking Woman Burial in Yorkshire Buried with Luxuries

In 2001, an archaeological excavation was carried out right on the construction of a sewer pipeline at Adwick-le-Street near Doncaster in South Yorkshire. The result of this excavation was fantastic when the archaeologists found out a grave that dated back to the Viking Age and more importantly, the remains inside the graves belonged to a woman. 


There were only fragments of the skeletons inside the grave. Signs of post-burial abrasion and serious deterioration of the bone cortex were recorded. 

With the remains of the bones, the archaeologists could tell that the individual was an adult. However, many parts of the body went missing. 

Viking woman remains inside a Viking burial grave

The remains of head and shoulder of the Viking woman

The skull was incomplete as well and most of the facial bones were lost. Despite good preservation of the inner bone, there was a serious deterioration of the outer table. 

With the osteological evidence, it was hard to confirm the sex of the individual. However, the individual was likely to be a female because of the femora and clavicle were more slender. She was around her 30s or 40s when she died. 

Possible drawing of Viking woman

Possible drawing of the Viking woman whose burial grave was in Yorkshire


The objects buried inside the grave also suggested that the individual was a Viking female. There were a pair of oval brooches, a bowl, a knife, and a key which could commonly be found inside Viking grave for a woman.

In the Viking Age, brooches were their favourite jewelry generally worn in pair on the upper breast as well as to fasten the straps of the woman's clothes. This was a beauty standard for the women in the Viking Age. One thing we are yet to confirm is that how this Viking woman could end up on land in Yorkshire with Viking common personal items.

Viking brooches from the grave Viking woman grave

Two types of brooches from this Viking grave

Pattern on the Viking brooches

Patterns from the two brooches found inside the burial grave

Viking brooches close up view

Viking brooches

Close-up view of the brooches found inside the burial 

On the backs of the brooches were the remains of the textiles and cords that possibly surviving fragments of the Viking woman's clothes. The way that the cloth was made according to the archaeologists were the standard fabric weaving back in the Viking Age. 

While the woman inside Birka BJ581 grave wore clothes made of fine pleated linen, the woman inside the burial in Yorkshire wore a plainer, coarser garment. 

Textiles found inside the Viking grave

Remains of textile on the back of the brooches

The Viking bronze bowl

The Viking bronze bowl

Viking iron knife artifact found inside a Viking burial mound

Viking iron knife found inside burial mound


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