The UK mainland’s first fully intact Viking boat burial site has been uncovered in the west Highlands, archaeologists have said. The site, at Ardnamurchan, is thought to be more than 1,000 years old. Artefacts buried alongside the Viking in his boat suggest he was a high-ranking warrior.
Archaeologist Dr Hannah Cobb said the “artefacts and preservation make this one of the most important Norse graves ever excavated in Britain”. Dr Cobb, from the University of Manchester, a co-director of the project, said: “This is a very exciting find.”
She has been excavating artefacts in Ardnamurchan for six years. The universities of Manchester, Leicester, Newcastle and Glasgow worked on, identified, or funded the excavation. Dr Oliver Harris from the University of Leicester says the burial artefacts belonged to a high-status individual Archaeology Scotland and East Lothian-based CFA Archaeology have also been involved in the project which led to the find. The term “fully-intact”, used to describe the find, means the remains of the body along with objects buried with it and evidence of the boat used were found and recovered.
The Ardnamurchan Viking was found buried with an axe, a sword with a decorated hilt, a spear, a shield boss and a bronze ring pin. About 200 rivets – the remains of the boat he was laid in – were also found.