Norwegian archaeologists have discovered a Viking burial site, complete with a long-buried, 62-foot-long Viking ship. The find was revealed in a study published Wednesday in the journal Antiquity. The site is located in Gjellestad, which is home to the Jell Mound, one of the largest Iron Age burial mounds in Scandinavia. In addition to the previously unknown Viking ship burial, the area may include a feast hall, farmhouse and some kind of religious structure.
The scientist didn’t have to dig up the site; instead, they used ground-penetrating radar to map the underground features.
“The site seems to have belonged to the very top echelon of the Iron Age elite of the area, and would have been a focal point for the exertion of political and social control of the region,” Lars Gustavsen, lead study author, said in a press release.
Researchers say the site has its origins in an ordinary mound cemetery, which was later transformed into a high-status cemetery represented by monumental burial mounds, hall buildings and the ship burial. The archaeologists classified the site as “high-status” after finding objects including a gold pendant. A tweet from the journal notes that similar pendants were common in burials from AD 1-400.
“Test excavations have been conducted and a full excavation of the ship burial is underway,” the journal said in another tweet. “This is the first time a Viking ship burial has been excavated in almost 100 years, offering a chance to do it with modern scientific techniques.”
Buried about 4.6 feet (1.4 meters) underground, the boat is about 62 feet (18.8 meters) long.