Category Archives: EUROPE

Hoard of silver coins may have been part of historic ransom to save Paris

Hoard of silver coins may have been part of the historic ransom to save Paris

A hoard of silver coins minted in the Carolingian Empire about 1,200 years ago has been unearthed in northeastern Poland and may have been part of a historic ransom to save Paris from a Viking invasion.

Hoard of silver coins may have been part of the historic ransom to save Paris
Only three coins of this type have ever been found before in Poland, which was well beyond the Carolingian realms. Archaeologists suspect they are linked to the Scandinavian trading emporium at Truso.

It’s the first time anyone has found so many Carolingian coins in Poland. Only three such coins — of a distinctive style with Latin inscriptions and a central crucifix — have been found in the country before now.

The Carolingian Empire was founded by the Frankish king Charlemagne — Charles the Great — and spanned much of modern France, Germany, Switzerland and northern Italy in the eighth and ninth centuries. 

Archaeologists think the newfound coins may have come from the Viking trading town of Truso, which was then located near the Baltic coast about 60 miles (100 kilometres) west of the farmer’s field where they were found.

And if the coins did come from Truso, it’s possible that they were part of an immense ransom of gold and silver paid by a Carolingian king to prevent invading Vikings from sacking the city of Paris.

“If a larger number of the coins can be attributed to Paris, then yes, it is possible — and some have already been attributed to Paris,” said Mateusz Bogucki, an archaeologist and coin expert at the University of Warsaw in Poland. But “it is way too early to give such an interpretation,” he told Live Science.

Regardless, the distinctiveness of the coins raises interesting questions about their origins, Bogucki said. At the time the hoard was hidden or lost, the first medieval Polish kingdom had yet to be established, and the Slavic tribes in the region used mainly Arabian silver dirhams paid in exchange for slaves by traders from the Muslim caliphate, based in Baghdad far to the south.

A total of 118 of the Carolingian silver coins, about 1,200 years old, were unearthed in a farmer’s field near the town of Biskupiec in north-east Poland.

Carolingian coins

Metal detectorists discovered the first handful of the coin hoard in November 2020, in a field near the town of Biskupiec.

The finders, who had permission from the provincial government for their activities, stopped any further searching and kept the location secret until experts from the nearby Museum of Ostróda could investigate the find.

By March 2021, archaeologist Luke Szczepanski and his team had unearthed a total of 118 coins from the field — 117 of them minted during the reign of the Carolingian emperor Louis the Pious, who ruled from A.D. 814 until 840, and one coin minted during the reign of his son Charles the Bald, who ruled until A.D. 877.

Such coins are extremely rare in Poland, which was well beyond the lands ruled by the Carolingian dynasty. The only three Carolingian coins previously unearthed were found at the archaeological site at Truso, which had been established by Norse traders by the eighth century and was famous for its trade in amber, furs and slaves.

It seems likely that the owner of the hoard of coins found near Biskupiec had obtained them in Truso, Bogucki said, but there is a possibility that they had come from somewhere else and were being taken to Truso for trading. The coins have no marks that show exactly where and when they were minted, but researchers can learn more about their origins by studying characteristics like the shapes of the letters in their Latin inscriptions, he said.

Only three coins of this type have ever been found before in Poland, which was well beyond the Carolingian realms. Archaeologists suspect they are linked to the Scandinavian trading emporium at Truso.

Viking shakedown

The archaeologists aren’t sure how the hoard of silver coins came to be hidden or lost near Biskupiec. The region was probably an uninhabited wilderness at the time, and archaeologists have not found any traces of a nearby settlement, Szczepanski told Science in Poland.

One intriguing possibility, however, is that the coins came from Truso and that they were originally part of a ransom paid by the Carolingian king Charles the Bald to Vikings threatening Paris, his capital city.

Norse raiders frequently attacked the Frankish heartlands of the Carolingian Empire — today’s northern France and western Germany — after the late eighth century. Historical records compiled by monks suggest that in A.D. 845 a large fleet of Viking ships sailed up the Seine and laid siege to Paris, then located on an island in the river.

Charles the Bald reportedly paid the invaders 7,000 livres, or more than 5 tons of silver and gold, to prevent them from sacking the city, Bogucki said, and it’s possible that some of the coins found near Biskupiec were part of that ransom.

Charlemagne was King of the Franks in the late eighth century when his armies conquered most of western Europe. He was crowned Emperor of the Romans by the pope in Rome in A.D. 800; his rule and those of his dynasty are known as the Carolingian Empire, which later became Europe’s Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne’s son Louis the Pious succeeded him as emperor in 814, and the empire was divided among Louis’ sons in 840. 

Charles the Bald, one of Louis’ sons, ruled the western kingdoms and became the Carolingian emperor in 875. Portrayals from the time show him with a full head of hair; historians speculate that he may, in fact, have been very hairy and that the nickname was used ironically, or that his “baldness” referred to his initial lack of lands compared with those of his brothers.

DNA Analysis Reunites Viking Relatives 1,000 Years Later

DNA Analysis Reunites Viking Relatives 1,000 Years Later

The AFP reports that DNA analysis has linked the remains of two men who died some 1,000 years ago.

Separated for 1,000 years, two Viking warriors from the same family were reunited on Wednesday at Denmark’s National Museum, as DNA analysis helps shed light on the Vikings’ movements across Europe.

One of the Vikings died in England in his 20s in the 11th century, from injuries to the head. He was buried in a mass grave in Oxford. 

The two related Viking skeletons in Denmark’s National Museum

The other died in Denmark in his 50s, his skeleton bearing traces of blows that suggest he took part in battles.

DNA mapping of skeletons from the Viking era — from the eighth to the 12th century — enabled archaeologists to determine by chance that the two were related.

“This is a big discovery because now you can trace movements across space and time through a family,” museum archaeologist Jeanette Varberg told AFP.

Two of her colleagues spent more than two hours on Wednesday piecing together the skeleton of the man in his 20s, from the remains freshly arrived from Oxford.

The 150 bones have been lent to the Danish museum by the Oxfordshire Museum in Britain for three years.

The historical consensus is that Danish Vikings invaded Scotland and England from the late eighth century.

The younger of the two men “may have been cut down in a Viking raid, but there is also a theory that they (the skeletons in the mass grave) were victims of a royal decree by English King Ethelred the Second, who commanded in 1002 that all Danes in England should be killed,” Varberg said.

It is very rare to find skeletons that are related, though it is easier to determine the relationships for royals, according to Varberg.

While the two were confirmed to be relatives, it is impossible to determine their exact link.

They may have been half-brothers, or a grandfather and grandson, or an uncle and nephew.

“It’s very difficult to tell if they lived in the same age or they differ maybe by a generation because you have no material in the grave that can give a precise dating. So you have a margin of 50 years plus or minus,” Varberg said.

Is This 400,000-Year-Old Hominin the Great Grandpa of Neanderthals?

Is This 400,000-Year-Old Hominin the Great Grandpa of Neanderthals?

According to new research, a 400,000-year-old hominid skull contains a few telltale features that imply it’s more of a Neanderthal than a Homo sapiens relation, a new study finds.

Is This 400,000-Year-Old Hominin the Great Grandpa of Neanderthals?
The hominin cranium, nicknamed “Aroeira 3,” that researchers found in a Portuguese cave.

The cranium, discovered in a Portuguese cave, is helping anthropologists understand how hominins, particularly Neanderthals, evolved during the middle Pleistocene epoch in Europe, the researchers said.

The team isn’t sure whether the skull belongs to a newfound species of hominin, but noted that the skull appeared “broadly ancestral” to the Neanderthals, said study co-researcher Rolf Quam, an associate professor of biological anthropology at Binghamton University in New York.

In addition, the scientists unearthed hand axes in the cave, a stone-crafted technology that was likely developed in the Middle East about 500,000 years ago.

Thanks to the excavations, researchers now have proof that this technology spread as far west as Portugal within 100,000 years of being developed in the Middle East, Quam said. 

Acheulean hand axes discovered at the Aroeira site in Portugal

Prize find

Researchers found the skull on the last day of their field season in 2014. During previous fieldwork at the Gruta da Aroeira cave from 1998 to 2002, researchers found human teeth, animal remains and stone-made hand axes. But the latest discovery, the skull, was the excavation’s prize find, Quam said.

The team discovered the cranium in the back of the cave, buried in petrified sediment.

“The archaeologists, when they found it, weren’t sure how to get it out,” Quam told Live Science. “They basically had to use a circular saw to cut out a huge block chunk that included the skull.”

The researchers brought the block to a restoration laboratory in Madrid, and a fossil preparator spent 2.5 years extracting the skull.

“That is an incredible amount of labor to get this thing out,” Quam said.

Once they freed the skull, the researchers put it in computed tomography (CT) scanner, which allowed them to create a 3D virtual reconstruction of the bone.

“The skull is only half a skull,” Quam said. “With the CT scans, we were able to mirror-image it and make the other half, so it’s more complete now.”

A virtual reconstruction of the 400,000-year-old hominin skull

Neanderthal-like features

The skull, nicknamed the “Aroeira cranium” after the Portuguese cave in which the item was found, is the oldest hominin fossil ever discovered in Portugal, Quam said. (A hominin is a group that includes modern humans and their recent ancestors, including Neanderthals, Homo erectus, Homo habilis and several species of Australopithecus.)

With a cranial capacity of more than 67 cubic inches (1,100 cubic centimeters), the Aroeira skull is about the same size as other hominin skulls found from that time period.

Modern humans have larger cranial capacities, of about 79 cubic inches (1,300 cubic cm), according to the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, which was not involved with the new study.

Interestingly, the Aroeira cranium has Neanderthal-like features, Quam said. Those include a Neanderthal-shaped brow and a bony projection behind the ear, known as a mastoid process, which is small like a Neanderthal’s, Quam said.

However, the Aroeira individual lived long before the Neanderthals, which existed from about 200,000 years ago to 40,000 years ago, when they went extinct. Still, the skull “can help us understand the origin and evolution of Neanderthals better,” Quam said. “The fact that it is so well-dated is critical because that’s going to help us think about the evolutionary process — what changed first” as Neanderthals emerged on Earth.

Ancient Necropolis Found on Croatian Island

Ancient Necropolis Found on Croatian Island

The protective investigation in the garden of the Radoevi Palace in the town of Hvar on the Croatian island of the same name has been concluded after two months of intensive archaeological labour.

The research, which was spurred by the upcoming construction of the new Hvar City Library and Reading Room, has resulted in a spectacular discovery.

According to preliminary results, a late antiquity necropolis from the second half of the 4th and the beginning of the 5th century was found, as well as the eastern branch of the ramparts of a late antique settlement with a city gate dating to the end of the 5th century.

On an area of 65 square meters, 20 graves with osteological remains of 32 people were discovered.

The basic types of late antiquity tombs included: simple tombs in earthenware, tombs in amphorae, tomb structures made of roof tiles, as well as one masonry tomb in which 12 skeletons were found. 

What particularly emphasises this necropolis is its exceptional preservation, as well as the very valuable and complete grave, finds, Kantharos reported.

Most of the tombs were decorated with one or more ceramic jugs and lamps, glass bottles and vessels, money and other small utensils. 

Preliminary analysis of these findings provided a preliminary dating of the necropolis itself but also hinted at completely new insights into local/regional late antique ceramic production as well as trade links, through documented imports, some of which were first recorded in the Adriatic.

Just before the end of the research, an older ancient wall was found in the deepest layers, which according to the African sigilate is preliminarily dated to the 2nd century.

Of all the traces of late antique life found in Hvar so far, this is really the most significant and richest site, which vividly shows all the archaeological splendour of grave finds and gives us, for now, the most detailed insight into funeral customs of that period, but also new knowledge about urbanism, Dalmacija Danas said.

The expert team consisted of Eduard Viskovic, Joško Barbarić, Marko Bibić, and Jure Tudor, with the scientific assistance of dr. sc. Marina Ugarković, Ph.D. Josip Baraka Perica.

‘Exceptionally high’ number of decapitated bodies found at Roman burial site

‘Exceptionally high’ number of decapitated bodies found at Roman burial site

'Exceptionally high' number of decapitated bodies found at Roman burial site
One of the decapitated skeletons found at Knobb’s Farm.

Ancient Romans left an enduring mark on present-day Britain. Crumbling stone walls across the island speak to their once-vast empire. But a cemetery uncovered in Cambridgeshire highlights another legacy of Roman rule — its brutality. Here, archaeologists discovered a high number of decapitated skeletons, likely belonging to people who somehow offended their conquerers.

Archaeologists from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit made the discovery at Knobb’s Farm in Cambridgeshire, some 70 miles north of London. There, between 2001 and 2010, they unearthed three Roman-era cemeteries from the third century.

But these cemeteries stood out. Of the 52 burials, 17 were decapitated, and 13 were buried face down. And now, researchers are pointing out the significance of the macabre site.

“Knobb’s Farm has an exceptionally high proportion of decapitated bodies and prone burials (33 per cent and 25 per cent) when compared with burial grounds locally and across Roman Britain,” noted a study published in the journal Britannica in May 2021.

The people buried at Knobb’s Farm also seemed to have died violent deaths. Isabel Lisboa, the archaeologist who led the excavations, noted that they were likely alive when beheaded.

A graphic showing that this skeleton was hit with a “blow was directed obliquely downwards from behind and to the left,” indicating that he was kneeling when he died.

Some of the skeletons even bore marks of more extreme violence. One man had several deep cuts in the back of his skull, suggesting that someone had subdued him with a sword before chopping off his head. And one woman’s skeleton bore cut marks on her face, arms, and legs.

“It is not possible to distinguish whether [her injuries] were made immediately before death (resulting from, for example, torture or flaying) or after death (for example, from corpse mutilation, post-mortem ‘punishment’ or ritual de-fleshing of the body),” noted the study.

So why does Knobb’s Farm contain so many beheaded skeletons? It likely has to do with both the age of the skeletons and their location.

Some decapitated skeletons had their skulls placed at their feet, perhaps to keep their spirits from rising.

For 400 years — until about 410 A.D. — the Roman Empire ruled over present-day England. But their grip on power started to slip in the third century. As a result, anyone who dared defy the Romans could face extreme punishment.

“Any hint of insurrection against the Roman state would’ve been dealt with extremely violently,” explained Chris Gosden, a professor of European archaeology at the University of Oxford.

Indeed, the number of crimes in Britain that Romans felt worthy of the death penalty more than doubled in the third century — and quadrupled in the fourth century.

As such, researchers also noted that Roman cemeteries of the first and second centuries contained roughly 5 per cent decapitated bodies. But cemeteries that date between the third and fifth centuries contain almost 10 per cent.

Archeologists at the burial site.

Plus, the people who worked at Knobb’s Farm served a particularly important purpose to the Roman Empire — they helped supply the Roman Imperial Army. They bore unusual scrutiny from authorities.

“Roman laws seem to have been applied particularly harshly at Knobb’s Farm because it was associated with supplying the Roman army, so there were many decapitations,” explained Lisboa.

“Crimes normally would have been let go, but there were probably tensions with the Roman army.”

Because people living in the area supplied meat and grain to Roman troops, Roman authorities harshly punished any wrongdoing. Crimes that merited the death penalty, according to Gosden, could range from murder and theft to merely desecrating a shrine.

Over the centuries, the charges brought against those killed at Knobb’s Farm have been lost. But archaeologists do have a couple of clues about the people themselves. By studying their DNA and tooth enamel, researchers believe that Romans recruited people from far-flung regions like present-day Scotland, and the Alps.

And because they were buried among non-decapitated skeletons, researchers suspect that they had people who loved and cared for them.

“They were not buried as outcasts — they were buried in the normal rite with miniature pots around their heads,” Lisboa noted.

Indeed, despite the brutality of Roman rule in England, it seems that the Romans did allow their subjects one small mercy. Roman law permitted friends and families of executed criminals to request their bodies’ return for a proper burial.

The shackled skeleton may be the first direct evidence of slavery in Roman Britain

The shackled skeleton may be the first direct evidence of slavery in Roman Britain

The shackled skeleton may be the first direct evidence of slavery in Roman Britain
The Great Casterton Roman burial shackles were found locked around the skeleton’s ankles.

His ankles secured with heavy, locked iron fetters, the enslaved man appears to have been thrown in a ditch – a final act of indignity in death.

Now the discovery of the shackled male skeleton by workers in Rutland – thought to have been aged in his late 20s or early 30s – has been identified as rare and important evidence of slavery in Roman Britain and “an internationally significant find”.

It was also desperately grim, said Chris Chinnock, one of the archaeologists working on the project, but was important because it “forces us to ask questions that we wouldn’t ordinarily ask”.

Builders came across the bones when they were constructing a conservatory at a house in Great Casterton. Police were called and subsequent radiocarbon dating showed the remains were from between AD226 to AD427.

Archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (Mola) were called in and have been researching the skeleton, with their findings published on Monday in the journal Britannia.

No one doubts that slavery existed during the Roman occupation of Britain but discovering direct archaeological evidence is another matter. Most of what is known come from inscriptions. “To have the opportunity to study the body of a person who quite probably was a slave is really important,” said Michael Marshall, a finds specialist at Mola.

Roman soldiers direct people to build a road in Roman Britain. From a painting by Paul Hardy.

The Great Casterton discovery is the first of its type in Britain, described by researchers as the clearest case of a burial of an enslaved individual found in the UK. “This burial is exceptionally unusual,” said Marshall.

Precisely who the man was will never be known but a number of informed guesses can be made. “It could be the dead person was somebody who had earned the ire of other people,” said Marshall. “Equally it could be that the people who buried him were tyrannical and awful. We can’t really understand the moral dimensions.”

The team have been examining a number of theories including that the shackles might have been added after the man died to demean him or brand him as a criminal in the afterlife.

The few skeletons found with shackles in other countries are normally the victims of natural disasters and have not been buried. That is not the case in Great Casterton, say archaeologists.

The burial position is an awkward one, said Chinnock, with the skeleton slightly on his right side and his left side and arm elevated on a slope. There is a Roman cemetery just 60 metres away, suggesting a conscious decision not to bury him properly. The likely explanation is that he has been thrown in a ditch and covered over.

A diagram of the Great Casterton shackled burial.

Chinnock, an expert in ancient bones, said the man appeared to be between 26 and 35 and had led a physically demanding life. A bony spur on an upper leg bone may have been caused by a fall or blow or be the result of a life filled with excessive physical activity. The injury had healed by the time he died and the cause of his death remains unknown.

The Mola team say the identity of the man will never be known but “the various pieces of evidence present the most convincing case for the remains of a Roman slave yet to be found in Britain”.

A number of questions remain around the Great Casterton man but it was clear, Marshall said, that it was “extraordinary” evidence of mistreatment. “For living wearers, shackles were both a form of imprisonment and a method of punishment, a source of discomfort, pain and stigma which may have left scars even after they had been removed.”

See Also: MORE ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS

It was difficult to get away from the conclusion that the people who disposed of the shackled man “really hated him and were really keen to make that obvious, whether to other people or in the longer, more spiritual sense”.

Los Millares- The Largets Known Fortified Neolithic Settlement in Europe

Los Millares- The Largets Known Fortified Neolithic Settlement in Europe

Just 17km from Almería between Santa Fe de Mondujar y Gádor lies Los Millares, the largest known European fortified Neolithic settlement, dated c. 3,200-2,300 BC. The site includes a settlement and a cemetery with over 80 megalithic tombs.

Los Millares- The Largets Known Fortified Neolithic Settlement in Europe

Three walls and an inner citadel with an elaborate fortified entrance make up part of extensive fortifications at Los Millares. Thirteen nearly circular enclosures were forts protecting it. Within the three walls are 80 passage graves.

Los Millares was constructed in three phases, each phase increasing the level of fortification. The fortification is not unique to the Mediterranean area of the 3rd millennium; other sites with bastions and defensive towers include the sites of Jericho, Ai, and Aral (in Palestine) and Lebous, Boussargues and Campe of Laures (in France).

It consists of a settlement, guarded by numerous outlying forts and a cemetery of passage tombs and covers around 5 acres. 

Three concentric walls with four bastions surrounded the settlement itself; radiocarbon dating has established that one wall collapsed and was rebuilt around 3,025 BC. A cluster of simple dwellings lay inside the walls as well as one large building containing evidence of copper smelting.

Finally, the fortified citadel at the very top of the spur has only been investigated so far by means of various pilot trenches, which have revealed walls up to six metres thick, confirming the great importance of the structure. Within its grounds, there is a deep hollow, which is thought to be a water cistern but so far has not been excavated.

Los Millares was discovered in 1891 during the course of the construction of a railway and was first excavated by Luis Siret in the succeeding years.

Antonio Arribas and Fernando Molina from the University of Granada later excavated Los Millares from 1978-1995, and analysis continues on the massive amounts of information collected.

The strategic sequence of the site shows that the settlement went through various phases of occupation. The first was during the early copper age (3,200 to 2,800 B.C.) when the three interior walls were constructed.

The second was during the middle copper age (2,800 to 2,450 B.C.), when the innermost wall was demolished and the outer wall constructed, together with most of the small forts outside the settlement itself. Finally, in the late copper age (2,450 to 2,250 B.C.) the first bell beakers appeared, a form of pottery that was produced henceforth on a large scale in the village.

During this late period, some profound social upheaval brought about a gradual decline in the size of the settlement, whose inhabitants gradually retired towards the fortified citadel. The site appears to have been finally abandoned around 2,250 B.C.

Over eighty megalithic tombs are visible outside the settlement. The majority are of the type mentioned above, but tombs without corbelled roofs also exist.

The chronology of tomb construction and use is unclear, but analysis of tomb forms, sizes, numbers of burials, contents, and distributions suggests that the dead were selected for interment and that social ranking had emerged, with higher-ranked groups being buried in tombs located close to the settlement.

Similar Tholos Tombs are common in Mycenaean remains, and a connection is commonly suggested. They are also present at other places in Spain, noticeably at the Cueva de Viera, which sits beside the great Cueva de Menga passage mound. Holed stones are also a common feature of dolmens in the Caucasus region of Russia where hundreds are visible.

Large sheets of slate that were punched through and rounded off to make the entrances we see today, divided entrances. The chambers of the Tholos were lined with vertical slabs of slate, often painted red, sometimes with small niches present (used for the burial of children). The graves were finally covered over with conical mounds of earth and stones.

Many were given an outer skirting of slabs or masonry to strengthen the structure. Almost all the tombs were orientated east of southeast, except for a small group of seven mounds that were orientated southwest.

The tombs were collective with the number of skeletons discovered ranging from a dozen to over a hundred. Burial offerings included objects such as ivory and ostrich eggshell, copper tools, pottery vessels, arrowheads and flint knives.

The presence of such great quantities of mineral resources in the region is likely to be part of the reason for the existence of Los Millares in the first place. The parallel with the Minoans continues in the addition of arsenic as an antioxidant to their copper products. Arsenic is readily available in the local region of Sierra de Gador. Among the buildings dedicated to specialised activities, two areas have been identified as having once housed metallurgical workshops. While along the northern stretch of the outer wall there are several squares and round buildings dedicated to this, the best-preserved workshop is situated in a large rectangular building attached to the inner facade of the third line of fortification. Of considerable size, about 8m long by 6.5m wide, it was built with a solid masonry technique, with a door opening to the east. Inside are the remains of three structures: a mass of 1.3m in diameter with fragments of copper ore, a furnace delineated by a ring of clay with a depression at its centre to put the pot furnaces, and a small structure with slabs of slate in its northeast corner. It is suggested that this building was never roofed, as there is no post-holes present.

Melting Norwegian glacier releases 500-year-old perfectly preserved wooden box full of candles

Melting Norwegian glacier releases 500-year-old perfectly preserved wooden box full of candles

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a beeswax candle used to assist Vikings to find their farms in a 500-year-old wooden box discovered in a perfectly preserved form when a glacier in Norway melted.

Archaeologists removed the tight lid of the pine box with the leather straps, uncovered in Norway’s Lendbreen ice patch, discovering the candle that was essential to Vikings hundreds of years ago.  

The team suggests the box – which was first uncovered in 2019 – was used to transport the long candles that were used by Vikings to light the path between their main farm and summer farm.

The Lendbreen ice patch has become a sought-out destination for archaeologists since 2011 when teams discovered thousands of artefacts sticking out from the melting Norwegian glacier.

At first, the team thought it was a tinderbox that was lost accidentally in the pass, but a further analysis proved otherwise, The History Blog reports.

The box found at the Lendbreen ice-patch containing a well-preserved beeswax candle.

‘It is radiocarbon-dated to AD 1475-1635, so 400-500 years old,’ glacial archaeologists from the Secrets of the Ice team shared in a statement. 

‘The content of the box was analyzed at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo: We were in for a big surprise – the content is beeswax!

‘What we are seeing inside the box is very likely the remains of a beeswax candle.’

Candle boxes were a common item among Vikings that were used to house expensive beeswax candles as Vikings made their travels to different farms. 

The melting glaciers, brought on by climate change, is creating a valuable archaeological site in Norway, which was an ancient passageway used by Vikings for thousands of years and littered with forgotten artefacts. 

The Lendbreen ice patch has produced more than 6,000 artefacts since archaeologists began investigating the area.

Last November, teams unearthed nearly 70 arrow shafts, plus shoes, textiles and reindeer bones on a mountainside in Jotunheimen, about 240 miles from Oslo.

Last November, teams unearthed nearly 70 arrow shafts, plus shoes, textiles and reindeer bones on a mountainside in Jotunheimen, about 240 miles from Oslo
Clothes, tools, equipment and animal bone have also been found by a team in Norway’s mountainous region.

Based on radiocarbon dating, the oldest arrows are from around 4100 BC, with the most recent dating from 1300 AD.

Clothes, tools, equipment and animal bone have also been found by a team in Norway’s mountainous region, according to the journal Antiquity. 

Researchers collected a haul of more than 100 artefacts at the site includes horseshoes, a wooden whisk, a walking stick, a wooden needle, a mitten and a small iron knife.

Although a warming world is revealing these extraordinary relics, archaeologists are in a race against time because the ice is what is keeping them preserved.

Archaeologist Regula Gubler told AFP in October 2020: ‘It is a very short window in time. In 20 years, these finds will be gone and these ice patches will be gone.’

‘It is a bit stressful.’

She explained that materials like leather, wood, birch bark and textiles can be destroyed by erosion.

And the only reason they have stayed preserved is because of the ice.