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Archaeologists find evidence of possible Viking stronghold in Ålands

Aerial evidence discovered in the village of Kvarnbo, Saltvik in the autonomous Åland Islands points to the existence of an ancient Viking banquet hall – a possible watering hole for Viking elite of an era long gone. Since the first aerial explorations, researchers have excavated personal jewelry, evidence that the site may have been frequented by Viking nobles.

According to archaeologists aerial infrared images suggest the existence of a late Iron Age settlement, possibly the largest such find ever in the Åland Islands or all of mainland Finland.

The aerial imaging highlighted a depression 40 metres deep and 12 metres wide which might have been the site of a massive hall used to host gatherings of ancient Vikings. No other similar find of this size has ever been discovered in the Ålands of on the Finnish mainland.  

The imaging project followed observations of depressions which resembled the outlines of late Iron Age structures from other parts of Scandinavia. Once the images revealed the outline of the hall, cautious excavation turned up personal ornaments cast in silver and bronze, and which point to the site as an important location in the Viking world.

Researchers working under the leadership of archaeologist Dr. Kristin Ilves found that the items had been forged in the shape a bird of prey as well human or animal heads. These findings they say, give weight to the theory that the site was visited by persons of elevated status. The jewelry has been dated back to between the 5th and 10th century.

The research project, "The Hall at the Crossroads of Baltic Waterways" was initiated in 2012 following the results of the infrared imaging.

Read more about the research project here. (siirryt toiseen palveluun)

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