Flint Dagger discovered in a Viking grave in Rogaland, Western Norway. (Photo: Terje Tveit, Museum of Archeology, University of Stavanger)
Analyses of ten Viking Age graves in Rogaland, Western Norway, have surprised the archaeologists: Inside the graves there were found several Stone Age artifacts (c. 10000-1800 BC) made thousands of years before the Viking Age. One theory is that the objects linked the Vikings to their ancestors and provided protection in Afterlife.
– Inside the graves, they (the Vikings, Editor’s Note) put stone axes and amulets of quartz, flint or small round stones for protection, and to bring luck for the deceased in Afterlife, says archaeologist Olle Hemdorff at the Museum of Archeology in Stavanger to Aftenposten newspaper.
In addition to the prehistoric stone axes, arrowheads and daggers presumably were considered having magical powers. Such objects were also put into the graves, and many places there are found stone axes buried by fireplaces inside Viking houses.
Scientists have attributed little significance to the prehistoric artifacts during previous excavations and therefore the items almost never were reported as part of the archaeological finds.
In recent years, more thorough investigations have been conducted and experts have gained greater understanding of the significance of the artifacts and can see resemblances between several funerary objects from different parts of Norway.
Shakespeare Influenced by the Vikings?
Also in graves dating back to the Migration Period (c. 400 to 550 AD), there have been discovered several-thousand-years old stone axes, including in Åseral in Southern Norway and Sogndal in Western Norway.
In Sweden and Denmark, “prehistoric antiquities” of flint and other artifacts in graves dating back to the early Iron Age (550 – 1050 AD) are found.
In “Hamlet,” William Shakespeare wrote in connection with Ophelia’s suicide, a young noblewoman of Denmark, that there should be thrown flint, round stones and shards of clay vessels on her grave.
Ophelia by John Everett Millais (1852), part of the Tate Gallery collection.
– Shakespeare’s description probably stems from an old ritual that we now know goes back to the Viking Age and the Migration Period, says Olle Hemdorff to Aftenposten and puts forward his own theory.
William Shakespeare grew up in England heavily influenced by the Norse culture with about three hundred years of Viking invasions and assimilation, so Hemdoff’s theory could prove to be true.
Text by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews