“Disturbing” Archaeological Excavation of Viking Headless in Dorset

Viking headless skeletons in Dorset

During a construction of the Weymouth relief road, a grave was found and what it carried inside was of interest to many people. It contained about 50 headless skeletons. The day this news hit the headlines, it became the famous Viking Headless in Dorset.

The archaeologists believed that the men’s skeletons inside the grave was the Viking warriors. The executors could have been the Anglo-Saxon warriors. Although it remains a mystery under what circumstances that these Vikings met their demise, it occurred during the conflicts of the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxon.

Unexpected discovery of Viking headless in Dorset

The road construction, in fact, met with disagreement because it crossed the legally protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This site was historical importance.

Viking headless in Dorset
This is where the archaeologists found out the mass grave of Viking warriors

In June 2009, the archaeologists announced that they had discovered a pit with remains of 50 individuals inside. They were all headless and their skulls were placed next to their skeletons. It seemed like the Anglo-Saxon dug this hole to dump the deceased foes rather than to use for any purpose.

54 skeletons belonged to male. There were only 51 skulls appearing inside the pit. The archaeologists believed that the executors could have brought 3 skulls as the souvenirs or placed them on the stakes. The 3 skulls must have belonged to important figures.

Skeletons on one side and skulls on the other
Skeletons on one side and skulls on the other

Many traces on their skeletons suggested that the executors severely tortured these Viking warriors. There were cuts on their vertebrae, jawbones, and skulls. Their hand had traces of chains. One skeleton showed that a sharp weapon thrust through his hand as if he was trying to defend himself.

Judging through no remains of cloths or possessions inside the pit, the archaeologists concluded that these Vikings were naked when thrown into the pit.

They were all in their fighting age in the Viking society, between their teens to 25 years old. Their remains suggested that these men once were healthy and robust with good physique. In the beginning, the archaeologists believed that the skeletons belonged to the Anglo-Saxons killed by the Vikings or the Anglo-Saxons. But after the Isotope analysis, the archaeologists agreed that the skeletons belonged to the Vikings.

Possible circumstance

It could have happened like this: the Vikings left the ships on the shore. They came to raid Dorset part. But they met with the extraordinarily well-organized enemies who easily forced them to surrender.

Also, the archaeologists believed that the execution spot was a public place. It meant many people could have observed the execution.

A scene of Viking Great Heathen Army
A scene of Viking Great Heathen Army

Some scholars believe that this mass grave belonged to the Viking warriors of Viking Great Heathen Army. Actually the Anglo-Saxons called this military group Viking Great Heathen Army who raided Anglo-Saxon around the 9th century.

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