Viking skeleton found in Wales



Author: Alex Hickey | Source: Daily Post [October 24, 2012]


A skeleton of a Viking has been discovered by archaeologists at Llanbedrgoch, Anglesey. Scientists from Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, who made the discovery believe it will shed new light on the interaction between Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Viking-age worlds operating around the Irish Sea. 


The skeleton find is an unexpected addition to a group of five (two adolescents, two adult males and one woman) discovered in 1998-99.  Originally thought to be victims of Viking raiding, which began in the 850s, this interpretation is now being revised. Tests by Dr Katie Hemer of Sheffield University indicates that the males were not local to Anglesey, but may have spent their early years (at least up to the age of seven) in North West Scotland or Scandinavia. 

The Llanbedrgoch site was discovered in 1994 after a number of metal detector finds had been brought to the museum for identification. These included an Anglo-Saxon penny of Cynethryth (struck AD 787-792), a penny of Wulfred of Canterbury (struck about AD 810), and three lead weights of Viking type.


The new excavations this year have also produced seventh-century silver and bronze sword/scabbard fittings, suggesting the presence of a warrior elite and the recycling of military equipment during the period of rivalry and campaigning between the kingdoms.

Excavation director and acting keeper of archaeology, Dr Mark Redknap, said: “The 2012 excavations have revealed not only surprises such as the additional burial, bringing with it important additional evidence on this unusual grave cluster and its historical context, but also valuable new data on the pre-Viking development of the site.

“Other finds from the excavation, which include semi-worked silver, silver casting waste and a fragment of an Islamic silver coin (exchanged via trade routes out of central Asia to Scandinavia and beyond), confirm Llanbedrgoch’s importance during the 10th century as a place for the manufacture and trade of commodities.”

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