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article imageFirst Ever Ship Burial Found in Sweden

By Christopher Szabo     Aug 29, 2009 in World
Swedish archaeologists have discovered the site of a pre-Viking era ship burial from the seventh century. The ship is similar to the famous Anglo-Saxon ship burial found at Sutton Hoo in England.
The ship, the oldest of its kind yet found in Scandinavia and the only ship burial found so far in Sweden, was discovered in Sunnerby on the island of Kållandsö in Lake Vänern, central Sweden. Vänern is Europe’s third largest lake.
According to the Swedish website, The Local, Lake Vänern Museum and Gothenburg University archaeologists are now excavating the mound which contains the ship. They have so far found equipment of the Vendel Era (550-793 A.D.), gifts for the deceased and animal sacrifices. A statement from Lake Vänern Museum said:
In Sunnerby, the number of boat rivets found so far indicate that there is a ship hidden in the Kungshögen mound, that is to say a vessel of more than 10 metres and possibly up to 20 metres in length.
It is thought the funeral ritual would have included placing the deceased, the sacrifices, equipment for the afterlife and gifts in the ship and setting the whole vessel on fire in a vast funeral pyre.
Helmet From The Sutton Hoo Ship
Helmet From The Sutton Hoo Ship
toothycat/flickr
The museum report says only the highest ranking members of society were buried in such a grand way and the find is of the same general type as the Sutton Hoo ship from southeast England, discovered in 1939. The archaeologists said they did not expect to find as many rich artifacts as in the Sutton Hoo hoard.
The dig is to continue until October and will resume after the end of the cold Swedish winter.
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