Highlands & Islands

'Warrior of high status' was buried at Scottish Viking site

Finds Image copyright Pieta Greaves/AOC Archaeology
Image caption A sword, top, and mineralised textile remains were found at the burial site

The excavation of a rare, intact Viking boat burial in western Scotland has been set out in detail for the first time.

Artefacts buried alongside the Viking in his boat found in Ardnamurchan suggest he was a high-ranking warrior.

In a report published by Antiquity, archaeologists describe the finds including a sword, spearhead and 213 of the boat's rivets.

The weapons indicate the burial of "a warrior of high status".

Image copyright Dr Oliver Harris
Image caption The excavated boat burial site at Swordle Bay in the west Highlands

Archaeologists, including Dr Oliver Harris of the University of Leicester, first revealed the discovery at Swordle Bay in 2011.

Since then experts have been studying the burial site and its "rich assemblage of grave goods".

Among them were a single copper alloy ringed pin, thought to have been used to fasten a burial cloak or shroud, a broad bladed axe, a shield boss and whetstone made from rock found in Norway.

Also found were mineralised remains of textiles and wood.

The burial, close to a Neolithic burial cairn, dates back to the 10th Century.

In the report, the archaeologists said: "The Ardnamurchan boat burial represents the first excavation of an intact Viking boat burial by archaeologists on the UK mainland, and it makes a significant addition to our knowledge of burial practices from this period."

Image copyright Pieta Greaves/AOC Archaeology
Image caption Other finds from the site include an axe head, top left, and a shield boss, top right

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