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article imageArcheologists find 1,000-year-old Viking burial site in Scotland

By Leigh Goessl     Oct 20, 2011 in World
A project six years in the making, archaeologists have made an exciting discovery in Scotland's west coast on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. The find includes the remains of a Viking chief, who was buried with his boat, ax, spear and sword.
Experts are describing this as a "significant" find and remains and artifacts found are believed to be over 1,000 years old. Because of the range and type of artifacts found with the body's remains, the team of archeologists believe the person was a high ranking warrior.
The burial site was discovered by a team of archeologists working in the remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula. The universities of Manchester, Leicester, Newcastle and Glasgow worked on, identified, or funded the excavation. These schools were working with Archaeology Scotland and CFA Archaeology, according to BBC News.
According to the Associated Press (courtesy of MSNBC), the project had "exceeded expectations."
Hannah Cobb, co-director of the project said, "A Viking boat burial is an incredible discovery, but in addition to that the artifacts and preservation make this one of the most important Norse graves ever excavated in Britain."
Dr. Colleen Batey, a Viking specialist from the University of Glasgow, dates to boat to "likely" be from 10th Century AD.
The grave is reportedly 16 feet (5 meters) long and is considered to be intact. Remarkably, while much of the boat has rotted away over the past millennium, many fragments of wood and about 200 metal rivets remain. In addition to the spectacular find in regards to the chief, his boat and personal belongings, archeologists also found a knife, pottery, a tools sharpening device, shield boss and a bronze ring-pin.
BBC reports dozens of pieces of iron have been located on the site, but have not yet been identified at this time.
The Ardnamurchan Transition Project (ATP) has been seeking to learn more about social change in the region and this find will substantially contribute to this study. The group is looking at the first farmers (6,000 years ago) to the 1700 and 1800s. So far much progress has been made according to Dr. Oliver Harris, but the group's most recent discovery has "got to be the icing on the cake."
In related news, this past summer, a slew of Viking silver coins and artifacts were discovered in Cumbria by a metal detectorist.
British Museum Viking expert Dr Gareth Williams had said about the discovery in July, "On the basis of the information and photographs that I have seen so far, this is a fascinating hoard.
"By the mid-950s, most of England had become integrated into a single kingdom, with a regulated coinage, but this part of the north-west was not integrated into the English kingdom until much later, and the hoard reflects that."
The collection was ruled as treasure in August 2011.
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