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Oseberg Cart (Detail III)
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Viking Ship Museum, Oslo, Norway.
The burial mound at Oseberg is, together with Gokstad a little further to the south, the most famous ship burial from Viking-Age Norway. Both graves are located in the southeast part of the country, close to the Oslo fjord.
The diameter of the Oseberg mound was around 40.5 metres (132.8 feet), and it was probably around 6.4 metres (20.9 feet) high.
The ship was 21.44 metres (70.2 feet) long and 5.1 metres (16.4 feet) wide.
Through dendochronological analysis, the Oseberg burial has been dated to AD. 834. This date is based on analyses of wood in the grave chamber, which was probably constructed for the burial itself. The ship was a little older.
The excel-lent preservation conditions together with the extraordi-nary grave goods provided the monument with its rightful reputation.
As an illustration of the excellent preservation conditions, it might be noted that some of the skin was preserved on one of the oxen, and that the excavators could still detect the bad smell of its stomach contents during excavation.
The burial involved two female bodies, one which was more than eighty years old at the time of her death, the other who was in her early fifties.
At least one of the bodies was probably laid down in a bed together with high-quality goods such as down duvets. Due to later robbery, the skeletons were not in order when excavated.
The beautifully carved ship is important for our understanding of Viking-Age ship technology, and thus as evidence for how international Viking raids were possible.
However, an important component of the grave goods was a wide range of more-or-less complete artefacts.
We may presume that these surrounded the women in their daily life before death. In addition to the artefacts, many animals and birds were preserved.
Among the animals in the grave were for instance a couple of oxen, four dogs and thirteen horses.
Fruits and berries (such as crab apples and blueberries) were also found in the chamber.
Personal belongings, exotic objects and materials including walnuts, precious metals paintings of various colours, insular objects and artefacts produced by advanced craft techniques were present in much of the surviving artefacts, important to the study of style and technology in the Viking Age.
Fine art combined with ad-vanced technology was found, for instance, in beautiful textiles, carved wooden objects like beds, sledges, wag-ons, tents, buckets, coffins, various kitchen utensils, and of course on the ship itself.
A vertical loom and other textile equipment testified to the women’s production.
From: "Death In Abundance – Quickly! The Oseberg Ship Burial In Norway" by Sæbjørg Walaker Nordeide.
Image by @ Dark Dreams Photography
Dark Dreams @ Dark Dreams Photography