All posts by Archaeology World Team

Treasure worth over $1 million found in the Rocky Mountains after a 10-year search

Treasure worth over $1 million found in the Rocky Mountains after a 10-year search

10-year treasure search is over. Forrest Fenn, a former military pilot, art collector and author who claims to have hidden a treasure chest worth more than 1 million dollars somewhere in the Rocky Mountains in 2010 – attracting worldwide adventure-looking adventurers – finally found the treasuries this weekend in a blog post.

Treasure worth over $1 million found in the Rocky Mountains after a 10-year search

The treasure was found under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains, and had not moved from the spot where I hid it more than 10 years ago,”

Fenn wrote Saturday on a blog that explaining to people who were looking for it the end of the treasure hunt: “I do not know who was there but the poem from my book led him to the exact spot,” he wrote.

Fenn confirmed the news to the Santa Fe New Mexican, saying the person who found the treasure chest provided a photograph as evidence of its discovery. Fenn would not confirm where the treasure was found or the identity of the person who found it, only saying the individual was “from back East.”

Forrest Fenn

The discovery puts an end to a quest that Fenn himself has said drew as many as 350,000 people to the Rocky Mountains region in search of the hidden treasure.

The bronze chest was filled with gold coins and rare artifacts with Fenn coming back over the years to add to its bounty. Clues to the treasure’s location were included in a poem in Fenn’s self-published memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, also published in 2010.

Throughout the years, Fenn has narrowed down the search area to the geographical region of the Rocky Mountains and within the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.

A treasure chest hidden in the Rocky Mountains has been found.

In previous interviews, Fenn said he buried the treasure as a way to give people hope—something he was compelled to do after surviving a terminal cancer diagnosis in 1988.

But the treasure hunt has been controversial, and even dangerous, from the start.

Some say the treasure hunt was a hoax, and the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that five people died while in pursuit of it, though Motherboard has been unable to independently verify those deaths.

In 2017 the New Mexico state police chief asked Fenn to call off the treasure search out of concern for the safety of those seeking it. And a woman who said she solved Fenn’s puzzle claimed that she was “hacked” and that another person stole it out from under her and plans to take legal action. Fenn, for his part, has thus far declined to provide a photograph of the solve.

Dal Neitzel runs a blog popular with those searching for the treasure—the same blog on which Fenn announced Saturday the treasure had been found. Neitzel made his first trip in search of the treasure after hearing about it from a note on Fenn’s website in 2010 and said he has made at least 80 trips in search of the treasure since. He said he had mixed feelings about the news that the treasure had been found.

“Disappointment that it was not me who found it and relief that I can stop being a professional blogger,” Neitzel told Motherboard in an email.

Neitzel said what is now important is that Fenn discloses where the treasure was hidden, for the sake of all the treasure seekers who spent years trying to find it.

“We each want to know how close we actually got,” Neitzel said. “Whether our ideas were solid or crazy.’

Though Neitzel never found the treasure, he doesn’t regret the time he spent looking for it and said he will continue making trips out to the area where it was hidden.

“The beauty of the mountains will be my stated goal from this point forward, rather than the chest,” Neitzel said.

Africa’s looted artifacts are being put up for sale during the global economic crisis

Africa’s looted artifacts are being put up for sale during the global economic crisis

Hundreds of objects were stolen by European and British museums and institutions from africa countries more than a century ago.

Following decades of appeals for African pieces — such as the Benin bronzes to return home, the homecoming of the looted artworks finally began looking like a real possibility.

Nevertheless, a new market for African artifacts and art arose in the midst of the global economic crisis fuelled by the spread of the coronavirus which has destroyed economies.

Christie’s, the British auction house, announced a curated “Arts of Africa, Oceania and North America” sale in Paris which includes African art such as the newly discovered Akan terracotta head (Ghana), Benin Bronze and an Urhobo figure (Nigeria).

The artifacts from all around Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Gabon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are valued from €30,000 to €900,000.

The Christie’s auction is embroiled in controversy. Christie’s can only guarantee the origin of the Bronze head as far back as 1890-1949 as a part of the Frederick Wolff-Knize collection that was shown in Vienna and New York.

Christie’s did not respond to a request for comment.

Artifacts from Gabon, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. Each valued at over $250,000 to as high as $500,000

Artifacts from Gabon, Nigeria, and Equatorial Guinea. Each valued at over $250,000 to as high as $500,000

The Benin Bronze plaques that are offered by Christie’s are very similar to Bronze plaques from the St Petersburg and Berlin Museums; artworks with a well-documented history as part of looted artifacts from the Royal Court in the invasion of Benin City in 1897.

Sotheby’s, the storied British-founded American auction house on May 27 announced an ambitious sale of “The Clyman Fang Head,” a statue with an estimated value of between $2.5 million and $4 million from the collection of Sidney and Bernice Clyman.

A total of 32 African artworks from the collection will be offered across a series of auctions at Sotheby’s.

Auctions of valuable African artifacts, some of which could be identified as candidates for repatriation to their lands of origin by activists, would be controversial in normal times but particularly so during the ongoing global pandemic and its attendant economic fallout.

Both Sotheby’s and Christie’s have moved auctions online for this reason. Sotheby’s said in March it has seen an expansion of interest in African art auctions with a more diverse customer base online.

French report

Some might have assumed auctions like these ones might dwindle after a high-profile report by Senegalese writer/economist Felwine Sarr and French historian Bénédicte Savoy called for thousands of African artworks in French museums taken during the colonial period to be returned to the continent.

The report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron called for a change in French law to allow the restitution of cultural works to Africa.

In a meeting with students in Burkina Faso in 2017 Macron said “Africa’s heritage must be showcased in Paris—but also in Dakar, in Lagos, in Cotonou.

This will be one of my priorities. Starting today, and over the next five years, I want to move toward allowing for the temporary or definitive restitution of African cultural heritage to Africa.”

Plenty of African art is domiciled outside the continent, including statues and thrones with hundreds of thousands of historical artifacts housed in Belgium, the UK, Austria, and Germany. The French report estimates the British Museum alone has a collection of around 69,000 works from Africa.

Interior of the Benin king’s palace in 1897 after the raid by British looters

Inside an ancient Polish salt mine that has underground lakes, fully carved chapels, and chandeliers made of salt

Inside an ancient Polish salt mine that has underground lakes, fully carved chapels, and chandeliers made of salt.

This Polish mine has fascinated millions of visitors, from the underground pools to an impressive carved chapel and is made entirely of salt

The Salt Mines of Wieliczka is located in the vicinity of Krakow and are on UNESCO World Heritage List since its construction in the 13th century, it has been explored by 45 million tourists.

Sitting on everyone’s kitchen counter is the kitchen staple so basic it’s borderline boring. And as I write, I’m already thinking of salt more than I have in this past year combined.

But the Wieliczka salt mine, near Krakow, Poland proves that salt can be a masterpiece on its own. The mine was first opened in the 13th century, and today, it’s a part of the First UNESCO World Heritage List.

For a reason! The salt mine, which reaches -1072 ft at its deepest point, features underground lakes, 2,000 chambers, and chapels equipped with enormous chandeliers. And if that wasn’t enough, every little thing is made of salt. The mine is so unreal, it brings to mind a level in Tomb Raider, rather than a place thanks to which I season my dinner.

Tourists visit The Saint Kinga’s Chapel in the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

The history of Wieliczka salt mine dates back to the Middle Ages when it used to be called the Magnum Sal, or the Great Salt. In the 13th century, it was the largest source of salt in the country, which was crucial to the country’s economy. Today, it’s one of the main tourist attractions in Poland.

Daily email contacted Aleksandra Sieradzka from the marketing and communications department at the Wieliczka Salt Mine to find out more about this breathtaking place.

Aleksandra told us that all the 2000 chambers in the mine are carved of salt. “The corridors and even the floor are made of salt.”

There two chapels of St. Kinga and St. Anthony that are both made entirely of salt, including the altars and the statues of saints that were carved by the sculptor miners. “The chandeliers also contain crystal salt—the purest type of salt.”

Salt may seem like a fragile and delicate material, but it has a hardness similar to that of gypsum. “The processing of salt itself is not difficult; however, in order to professionally carve in salt, one needs to have a lot of experience with this material,” explained Aleksandra.

“Every block of salt is different—it differs not only in size or hardness but also in color, which can be used in an interesting way in the act of creation.”

Aleksandra confirmed that, if you’re lucky, you can pop into a party or two at the Mine. “That is true, there are a couple of chambers where you can have a party. One big ballroom (Warszawa Chamber) and a few smaller ones. The Mine is famous for its New Year’s concerts that take place during the first weekend of January.”

We can only imagine how enormous the whole underground structure is because only 2% of it is accessible to tourists. Meanwhile, the salt mine corridors form an actual labyrinth that stretches up to a whopping 498 ft in length. There are 9 levels in total and the lowest one is located at 1072 ft below ground.

But Wieliczka is only the fifth-biggest salt mine out there. Ontario is home to the biggest one in the world, which is located 1800 ft under Lake Huron.

Compass Minerals’ Goderich salt mine is as deep as the CN Tower in Toronto is tall. The second-biggest is Khewra Salt Mines in Pakistan, and the third-place belongs to Prahova Salt Mine in Romania.

Ancient ships of death: Were they on a mission of politics or plunder?

Ancient ships of death: Were they on a mission of politics or plunder?

For more than a thousand years the ships of death moldered unseen on the shore of the Baltic Sea, sheltering the bones of dozens of Viking-era young men and a trove of rich possessions.

Now, after analyzing the ships and skeletons, researchers have a chilling new idea to explain how so many men died at the peak of their strength: they were diplomats from central Sweden, killed while on a mission to talk rather than fight.

The proposal, outlined in a study in the current issue of Antiquity, runs counter to previous interpretations that the men were raiders or warriors. Whoever they were, their bones give researchers a priceless window into life at the dawn of the Viking era.

Skeletons found on ancient ships on the edge of the Baltic Sea

The “graves give us a rare – if not unique – glimpse of a Viking Age drama,” Ole Thirup Kastholm, a curator at Denmark’s Roskilde Museum who was not involved in the new study, says via email. “It (poses) the most intriguing mystery with plenty of questions to investigate: Who are the dead men? What was the purpose of their journey? … And perhaps the most interesting question: Who did it?”

Whoever interred the dead aboard two ships in what is now Salme, Estonia, in about 750 AD went about their work with great care and respect.

Many of the 41 bodies were carefully positioned, and valuables were scattered among the remains.

Researchers found swords bedecked with gold and jewels and hundreds of elaborate pieces from a chess-like strategy game called Hnefatafl, or The King’s Table. They also found two decapitated hawks and the skeleton of a large dog, which had been cut in half.

In life, men must have been fearsome figures. They were young and tall, at least one nearly six feet.

Analysis of their teeth, combined with the design of the buried artifacts, suggests that they came from central Sweden, not Estonia, says study co-author T. Douglas Price, an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The skeletons on the larger of the two ships showed signs of violent death: stab wounds, decapitation marks, and an arm bone cleaved by a blade.

A selection of different sword handles parts and scabbard plates of gilded bronze.

Following the discovery of the smaller ship in 2019 and the larger in 2020, researchers thought the men died on a mission of conquest or plunder. But the evidence didn’t quite fit.

The blinged-out swords seemed more suitable for projecting power than for fighting, and Viking-era warriors generally relied on spears and battle-axes rather than swords, study co-author Jüri Peets of Estonia’s Tallinn University says via email.

Game pieces and animals seem impractical for a military expedition but would’ve provided welcome amusement on a diplomatic trip. The men may have been on a voyage to forge an alliance or establish kinship ties, Peets says, when unknown parties set upon them.

Gaming pieces.

Outside opinion on this explanation is mixed. The theory is “a far better solution than … (a) the military expedition has gone bad,” Kastholm says via email.

But Jan Bill of Norway’s Museum of Cultural History argues that the gaming pieces don’t rule out a voyage devoted to battle. “Soldiers have always had lots of waiting time, and games with them to shorten (this) time,” he says via email.

“Whether this group was on a diplomatic mission, or raiding, or both, I don’t think we can decide from the evidence of what was used as grave goods.” Study co-author Peets says the idea of a diplomatic mission is a “working hypothesis,” and research continues.

Sword or axe marks on a victim’s skull

Young aristocratic men of the day routinely took part in warbands, says James Barrett of Britain’s University of Cambridge via email. Whether the men were intent on diplomacy or bloodshed, he says, the burial site “shows the cosmopolitan, albeit very dangerous, the character of the Baltic Sea area even before (or at the very start of) the Viking Age.”

Mummified monks and the accidentally interred, in a 17th-century crypt.

Mummified monks and the accidentally interred, in a 17th-century crypt. 

However, we normally associate mummies with Egypt; you don’t have to become a pharaoh to mummify. There are mummies in Brno, the Czech Republic.

Capuchin Monks mummified in the Crypt; Brno, Czech Republic

This happens when you have an environment that enables very little bacteria to grow and thus does not decompose the flesh. This only partially decomposes the body and gives a “tanned” effect. The mummification of the monks in Brno is not like the mummies of Egypt.

The Egyptian mummies have been mummified by wrappings and preparation, they were meant to be mummified. The monks in Brno were mummified by accident.

When I say Capuchin I don’t mean the monkey; the Capuchin is an order of monks found around the world.

The Crypt and church in Brno were founded in the mid. 17th century. The crypt of the Brno monastery is located in the basement, which is probably basement space leftover from houses originally in that location. When the monks died they where brought to the basement in a coffin on mobile gout.

The coffin used was the same coffin used for every monk for one hundred years. Once there, they have laid down with a few bricks below their heads.

The monks were located in the crypt below the altar. This placement below the alter is very symbolic in the Christian faith, in the bible it states that below the altar of God in heaven lie the souls of the Saints. The monks were not meant to be mummified but due to the environment of the crypt the monks where mummified in place.

The Exterior of Capuchin church

The church is still standing today and you can go and view them in the same position that they lay when buried. The entrance is located behind the church in a small white courtyard.

Alley to church; Brno, Czech Republic

It is reached by walking through abnormally (by today’s standards) narrow alleys with whitewashed walls and small beams holding lanterns high above the street.

Some of the monks have the hoods of their cloaks pulled up over their heads to symbolize a special unit within the Capuchin order. Other monks are buried with objects. There is a monk who was buried with a rosary and a wooden cross signifying some status that he held in life.

Mummification did not only happen to the monks, other members of society where placed in the crypt and where subject to the same mummifying conditions. If you go to the monastery today you can view all of the remaining mummies in the crypt, there are about 25 monks and a handful of townspeople of various class. You can see a high-class family that was mummified in all their finery as well as some choir boys and a doctor.

There is also the body of a Saint in the crypt in Brno. this particular Saint is prepared in the “Spanish style.” She is dressed up in clothing that shows the bones. Saints’ bones are very important because they are primary relics of the Siant.

Having the whole body of a saint would be really important as well because that saint would be the church, monastery, and even the town’s patron. The patron saint of a place, in the middle ages, would be the protector of the people against all enemies, divine or mortal. This saint has been placed in a glass coffin to allow visitors and pilgrims to see the body but not to touch it, increasing the otherworldly sense associated with the divine.

Saint in glass coffin; Brno, Czech Republic
Klatovy catacombs

To me, this is interesting because I wonder how the people of the community viewed the mummified bodies from a spiritual standpoint. The fact that the crypt held the remains of monks, commoners and a saint is also unusual.

In the middle ages a saint’s remains where placed in a high ranking location to be viewed and worshiped by the people, not near the bodies of the locals. This change in the organization of the crypt is obviously changed for a museum set-up but It is still curious that all of these bodies were found together in the same location.

Almost all the information on this monastery and church is in Czech, a language that I do not speak, however, it is interesting to think about how the community would react to finding members of their community mummified in the crypt of the church.

What happens when our own people are mummified? Does this change how we see the dead? Is a dead person just a dead person or does the state of their corpse affect the way we see the person? Does it affect the way we see death?

If you are not expecting a body to be mummified, how does that affect how you deal with death?

If, in the future, we discover that out relative that we had buried as a child had been mummified; how would this affect our grieving process? Would this change our perspective on this person or their death?

Roman coin hoard found in England near Welsh border revealed

Roman coin hoard found in England near Welsh border revealed

Silver coins from almost 2000 years to the Roman period have been declared a treasure by metal detectors after they are found in a field.

A hoard of Roman silver coins and two medieval finger rings have been declared treasure by H.M. Coroner for Cardiff and The Vale of Glamorgan.

A treasure inquest held at Cardiff Coroners’ Court saw senior coroner for Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Andrew Barkley declare a range of objects, including finger rings, a brooch, and a hoard from the Late Bronze Age, as treasure.

The hoard of 91 Roman coins was discovered in Wick, in the Vale of Glamorgan, by Richard Annear and John Player.

A hoard of coins issued by Roman general Mark Antony has been discovered in a Welsh field – more than 2,000 years later.

They were found partly scattered by the previous ploughing. The founders left the undisturbed portion in the ground before reporting the find to the Portable Antiques Scheme in Wales (PAS Cymru) and archeological curators at National Museum Wales.

It is believed the coins date back to the period of Emperor Nero, from 54Ad to 68AD, to Marcus Aurelius, from 161AD to 180AD.

The latest coin was struck in 163-4AD and three coins were issued by Mark Antony in 31BC.

A hoard of coins issued by Roman general Mark Antony have been discovered in a Welsh Field

Edward Besly, the numismatist at National Museum Wales, said: “Each coin represents about a day’s pay at the time, so the hoard represents a significant sum of money.

“The hoard’s findspot is only a mile as the crow flies from that of another second-century silver hoard found at Monknash in 2000, which compromised 103 denarii, buried a little earlier, around 150AD.

“Together the hoards point to a prosperous coin-using economy in the area in the middle of the second century.”

Two Medieval rings were also found in Llancarfan, in the Vale of Glamorgan, by David Harrison .

One of the rings is silver and in the form of a decorated band, which has been engraved and then inlaid with niello. It dates from the 12th century.

The other ring is gold and has a repeating pattern of alternating half-flowers filling triangular panels, separated by a deep zig-zag moulding. It dates back from the late 15th century.

Dr. Mark Redknap, head of collections and research for the Department for History and Archeology at National Museum Wales, said: “These are finger rings from different centuries reflecting different traditions of fine metalworking, which are important indicators of changing fashions in South Wales and the Medieval period.”

Other items found in Llancarfan included a 15th or 16th-century silver finger ring and a 13th or 14th-century silver brooch. A 15th-16th century silver pendant, a 17th-century silver-gilt finger ring, and a Late Bronze Age hoard were found in Penllyn, Vale of Glamorgan. This antique silver uk is worth a lot of money as many collectors show great interest in antiques this age.

An early 18th-century gold finger ring was found in Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan, and another Late Bronze Age hoard was found in Pentyrch, Cardiff.

The items will now be taken to the Treasure Valuation Committee, in London, where they will be independently valued. In most cases, the value of the treasure is split equally between the finders and landowners.

For over 2,000 years, hundreds of gold and silver torcs lay hidden in a Norfolk field discovered by one man and his metal detector.

For over 2,000 years, hundreds of gold and silver torcs lay hidden in a Norfolk field discovered by one man and his metal detector.

Maurice Richardson has brave all weathers with his reliable metal detector for 40 years and dreams of the buried treasure. But he almost ignored an unpromising beep when he was searching for waste from a wartime air crash while he was being pelted with rain.

However the 59-year-old is glad his curiosity got the better of him after his persistence in digging through more than two feet of Nottinghamshire mud yielded a stunning 2,000-year-old gold treasure.

Now the artifact, an Iron Age torc, has been sold for a mammoth £350,000, and it was unveiled at the British Museum as the most valuable discovery in recent times.

Metal detector enthusiast Maurice Richardson discovered this 2,000-year-old gold torc while digging through two feet of Nottinghamshire mud

The intricately decorated collar was so perfect that Mr. Richardson, a tree surgeon in his day job, initially struggled to convince experts it wasn’t a forgery.

‘I got the signal, but it was raining quite hard and I thought it was not going to be worth it,” he said.

‘However, it played on my mind, so I started to dig.  

‘It was about two foot four inches down and when I got within four inches I decided to use my hand. I got down on my stomach and started scraping the soil away and it was then I saw what it was.  

Maurice Richardson

‘You look and look for things like this and you read about other people finding them, but it never happens to you.  

‘It’s a wonderful feeling and just shows that anyone can do it. It’s not about the money, but the fact that it has been saved for the nation.

‘It’s 2,000 years in the ground and it is unique. What are the chances of walking acres of field and passing over it? The odds are astronomical.’

The collar is similar to others found across Iron Age Europe and closely resembles the Great Torc, found at Snettisham in Norfolk in 1950 and now one of the British Museum’s most-loved treasures. It was painstakingly crafted using around 50m of hand-rolled dark gold alloy wires which were in turn plaited into eight thin ropes and then twisted together – the word torc comes from the Latin for ‘twist’.

Finally, hollow rings were attached to either end, carved with spiral patterns as well as animal and plant forms. Such jewellery would have been worn by the most powerful men and women in Celtic Britain or placed on statues of gods.

The collar found by Mr Richardson in a secret location near Newark in February 2005 was probably buried as an offering in about 75BC, more than a century before the Roman conquest. Terrified of being burgled, he hid it under the floorboards of his home before carrying it to the local coroner’s office in a Morrison’s plastic bag.

‘When I got there I unwrapped it and plonked it on the desk, and he stopped in his tracks and said “My God, where did you find that?”‘ he said.

After being authenticated by experts it was bought by Newark and Sherwood council for £350,000, most of the money coming from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and is due to be displayed at the local museum.

The proceeds were split between Mr Richardson – who put his share towards a new car and kitchen – and Trinity College, Cambridge, which owns the land.  Sarah Dawes, the council’s head of leisure and cultural services, said she had been ‘blown away’ when she saw it.

‘We thought it was fake, it was too good to be true,’ she admitted.

‘You can put a value on an object like this, but in terms of importance and the nation’s history you cannot put a price on it.’

Other finds include a 13th-century medieval silver seal matrix and a horde of more than 3,600 Roman coins. Culture minister Barbara Follett said interest in searching for long-lost artefacts had been boosted by television programmes like Time Team as well as celebrity treasure hunters such as former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman.

Iron Age Dice and Game Pieces Unearthed in Norway

Iron Age Dice and Game Pieces Unearthed in Norway

In western Norway Archaeologists have found unusual elongated dice and board game pieces from the Roman Iron Age.

The four-sided elongated dice

Norwegian archeologists agreed last month to dig up the remains of a small cairn of the early iron age in western Norway. Dotted with monuments and grave mounds, the scenic location overlooking Alversund played an important role in Norwegian history.

The site at Ytre Fosse turned out to be a cremation patch. Amidst the fragments of pottery and burnt glass, archaeologists found a surprise: rare Roman Iron Age dice and board game pieces.

“It’s amazingly exciting. Such findings were not found in Norway and Scandinavia many years before. The special thing here is that we have found almost the whole set including the dice,” said Morten Ramstad from Bergen University Museum to NRK.

A status symbol

Archaeologists also found the remains of what was likely a powerful person. The nearby Alverstraumen straight was an important point on the sea route between the north and south of Norway. This was named Nordvegen, the northern way, from which Norway takes its name.

The excavation work.

The bone debris, carefully decorated pottery, and burnt glass indicate the person cremated here was likely of high status. But it’s the gaming pieces that highlight this more than anything else.

“These are status objects that testify to contact with the Roman Empire, where they liked to enjoy themselves with board games. People who played games like this were local aristocracy or upper class. The game showed that you had the time, profits, and ability to think strategically,” said Ramstad.

The gaming discovery

The pieces are of a very rare type, known to be from the Roman Iron Age, dated to around AD 300. The haul included 13 whole and five broken game chips along with an almost completely intact elongated dice.

Game pieces.

The dice are marked with number symbols in the form of point circles and have the values ​​zero, three, four, and five. Less than 15 of these have been found in Norway. Similar dice were found in the famous Vimose weapon-offering site at Fyn in Denmark.

Strategic board games

The gaming board at Vimose was also preserved, so we have some idea of what board games may have been played during the period in Scandinavia. Inspired by the Roman game Ludus latrunculorum, board games seem to have been a popular hobby amongst the Scandinavian elite of the time.

These games are an early relative of the more famous board game Hnefatafl played during the Viking Age. The strategy game was likely played for enjoyment or even strategic training on long ocean voyages. Hnefatafl pieces found recently on Lindisfarne suggest Vikings travelled with the game.

“Finding a game that is almost two thousand years old is incredibly fascinating. It tells us that the people then were not so very different from us,” said Ramstad.

The results from the Ytre Fosse excavation should contribute to more precise data on the chronology of dice and gaming pieces in Early Iron Age Norway. With further study, we could learn more about the significance and social impact of gaming during these times.

“This excavation connects Norway to a larger network of communication and trade in Scandinavia. At the same time, the findings can help us to understand the beginnings of the Iron Age in Norway,” said archaeologist Louise Bjerre.

The findings will now go to the University lab in Bergen to be preserved. Archaeologists hope that the bones and objects from will in time be exhibited to the public.

Some of the pottery pieces.

Archaeology in western Norway and beyond

The University of Bergen’s Department of Cultural History aims to research, collect, conserve, and communicate. Their Bergen museum exhibits objects from prehistory, Norwegian folk art, church art, and ethnographic items from across western Norway.

The museum’s collections also include the archaeological finds from medieval Bergen, located at Bryggens museum.