16 September 2021 The Future is the Product of the Past

Luxurious Feather Beds of Iron Age Warriors

According to a new study, two warriors from the 7th century in Sweden were buried in graves where they were laid on beds made of various feathers.

The Valsgard Cemetery near Uppsala in central Sweden is famous for its 600 and 700 CE ship tombs. It is home to about 90 cemeteries during the Merovingian period (the pre-Viking era).

The warriors were also buried in their boats with ornate helmets, shields, and weapons, and even game pieces that scientists said, along with several layers of bedding, would make the journey “to the land of the dead” easier.

Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s NTNU University Museum examined the boat graves of two people thought to belong to high-ranking warriors.

The boats were about 10 meters long and had room for four to five pairs of oars, and were equipped with provisions, cooking, and hunting tools for their final voyage, and animals, including horses, lay close to the ships.

“The buried warriors appear to have been equipped to row to the underworld, but also to be able to get ashore with the help of the horses,” Birgitta Berglund, professor emeritus of archaeology at the NTNU University Museum, said in a statement.

Valsgärde warriors
An ornate warrior helmet was taken from Valsgärde 5. 

“Beauty sleep was also taken care of in death. Down bedding was found under the two warriors,” Berglund said.

Berglund said that while wealthy Greeks and Romans had used down in their bedding a few hundred years earlier, down bedding was not widely used by rich Europeans until the Middle Ages.

Experts say that the contents of the bedding served to do more than just fill the boat– and that the down bedding, the oldest known from Scandinavia, could indicate that warriors belonged to the top echelons of society.

Microscopic analysis of the bedding showed it contained feathers from geese, ducks, grouse, crows, sparrows, waders, and — and to the researcher’s surprise — eagle owls.

“I’m still surprised at how well the feathers were preserved, despite the fact that they’d been lying in the ground for over 1,000 years,” biologist Jørgen Rosvold, who studied the feather material, said.

Zooming in on individual areas of modern feathers (pictured) helps researchers determine which birds the feathers came from.

According to Berglund, in Nordic folklore, the type of feathers in the bedding of a dying person was important.

“For example, people believed that using feathers from domestic chickens, owls and other birds of prey, pigeons, crows, and squirrels would prolong the death struggle. In some Scandinavian areas, goose feathers were considered best to enable the soul to be released from the body,” she said.

Experts also found a beheaded Eurasian eagle-owl in one of the graves, and say that because similar measures were taken to stop the more recently buried from returning from the dead, it is conceivable they could have been done earlier.

“It’s conceivable that the owl’s head was cut off to prevent it from coming back. Maybe the owl feather in the bedding also had a similar function?” she said. In some Viking burials, swords were bent before they were buried with a warrior to stop them from being used if the warrior were to wake, researchers noted.

“In Salme in Estonia, boat graves from the same period have recently been found that are similar to those in Valsgärde. Two birds of prey with a severed head were found there,” Berglund said.

The team describes Valsgärde as a Scandinavian answer to Sutton Hoo – the famous English burial site near Woodbridge in Suffolk, which is the subject of the Netflix movie The Dig.

The research was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Banner
Related Post

The First Native Americans were Among the First Metal Miners in the World

20 March 2021

20 March 2021

An arrowhead made of pure copper 8,500 years ago dates the history of the copper age to an earlier period,...

“Human evolution” Migration out of Africa was affected by climate constraints.

25 August 2021

25 August 2021

The story of modern man’s migration from Africa still remains unclear in many aspects. Why did people migrate? Is it...

The 3,000-Year-Old Ancient City is Under Danger

8 February 2021

8 February 2021

For the port planned to be built in Izmir’s Aliağa district, a part of the 3,000-year-old ancient city is in...

Remains of a 12-year-old boy wearing a bronze warrior belt found in Pontecagnano

6 July 2021

6 July 2021

The remains of a 12-year-old boy wearing a bronze warrior belt were found at Pontecagnano, an outpost of the pre-Roman...

New fortifications unearthed in Porsuk Mound excavations

11 August 2021

11 August 2021

In the excavations of Porsuk Mound, which is an important Hittite settlement and where traces of settlement remains can be...

Ancient city “Germanicia” lost in 73 years

8 July 2021

8 July 2021

The presence of the ancient city of Germanicia, discovered during an illegal excavation in the southeast Turkish province of Kahramanmaraş...

Construction Workers Discovered Ancient Sarcophagus in Turkey

2 March 2021

2 March 2021

On Monday, reports said that during excavations in the Seyitgazi region of Eskisehir Province in northwestern Turkey, municipal staff unexpectedly...

The Half of the Rare Oil Lamp Found in Jerusalem May be in Budapest

9 May 2021

9 May 2021

We had recently reported on a grotesque lamp found in Jerusalem. The other half of the oil lamp, which is...

More than 56400 Cultural Goods Seized in Operation Pandora V

11 May 2021

11 May 2021

Operation Pandora V, aimed at preventing the illegal trade of cultural goods, has been one of the most successful operations...

21 Copperplate Inscriptions discovered at Ghanta Matham in India

14 June 2021

14 June 2021

During excavations at Ghanta Matham in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh,  important 21 copper plates for the Mallikarjuna Swami...

Bronze Age Treasure Found in Swedish Forests

30 April 2021

30 April 2021

A man who studied the forest to make a map for the orienteering club in western Sweden made an incredible...

From Researchers, a New İnterpretation of Norse Religion

26 February 2021

26 February 2021

Recent research on pre-Christian Norse religions shows that the variation in Norse religions is far greater than previously imagined. Ten...

4,000-Year-Old Lion Jaw Bone Unearthed in Kültepe

14 September 2021

14 September 2021

Excavations continue in Kültepe, the starting point of Anatolian written history. During the excavations, a 4,000-year-old lion jawbone was unearthed....

Egypt opens King Djoser’s 4,500-year-old tomb after a 15-year restoration

15 September 2021

15 September 2021

Egypt on Tuesday showcased an ancient tomb structure belonging to the cemetery complex of King Djoser, a pharaoh who lived more than 4,500...

2500-year-old Aphrodite Temple Discovered

4 February 2021

4 February 2021

Archaeologists have discovered a 2500-year-old temple built in the name of Goddess Aphrodite around Çeşme and Urla districts of Izmir...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *