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Isotopic provenancing of the Salme ship burials in Pre-Viking Age Estonia

  • T. Douglas Price (a1), Jüri Peets (a2), Raili Allmäe (a2), Liina Maldre (a2) and Ester Oras (a3)...
Abstract

Ship burials are a well-known feature of Scandinavian Viking Age archaeology, but the discovery of 41 individuals buried in two ships in Estonia belongs to the Pre-Viking period and is the first of its kind in Europe. The two crews met a violent end around AD 750, and were buried with a variety of richly decorated weapons, tools, gaming pieces and animal bones. The rich grave goods suggest that this was a diplomatic delegation protected by a cohort of elite warriors. They were armed with swords of Scandinavian design, possibly from the Stockholm-Mälaren region, and stable isotope analysis is consistent with that being the probable homeland of the crew.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
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