Oseberg Burial Mound: Most Complicated and Controversial

Oseberg burial mound Viking ship

If you are a Viking enthusiast, chances are that you might hear about Oseberg burial mound. Back to the 20th century, the archaeologists discovered the Oseberg mound. It consisted of a luxurious grave, a Viking ship, and many luxurious grave goods.

The Ship

What strikes us the most must be the Oseberg Viking ship. The Vikings built Oseberg ship around 800s. And it was until 1904 that the ship finally revealed itself from the dirt. The ship was 70 feet long and 17 feet broad. It could carry about 30 people which means there would be 15 holes for rowing. The archaeologists conclude that Oseberg ship had the most complicated woodcarving decorations. The main style was “gripping beast”. Later it became the “Oseberg style“.

Viking Oseberg ship in the museum. Viking Oseberg burial mound
Viking Oseberg ship in the museum

Human remains

Another interesting point about the Oseberg burial mound was the human remains inside. Commonly, the archaeologists would find out a grave belonging to one individual. But Oseberg burial mound had two. Two individuals inside the grave and both of them were women.

Oseberg head post from Oseberg burial mound
Oseberg burial head post

One woman was around her eighties which was a considerable age in Viking time. The other was younger, around her thirties. Scholars put forward theories about the identities of the two. But by far, what we can do is speculate. The young woman could have been a slave that accompanied the old woman in her afterlife.

But bone analysis revealed the young woman lived a lavish life which debunked the theory that she was a slave. The old woman had to cope with a serious illness which made her suffer in her final days.

The remains of the two women inside Oseberg burial mound
The remains of the two women inside Oseberg burial mound


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