Monday, July 21, 2014

Stone Ships

Stone Ships – Early Burials – Bronze/Iron Age

Stone Ships
Stone ships were a kind of early burial that was used, during the bronze and iron ages, as well as during the Viking period.

Their shapes were in the form of acute oval stones circles and could have been used to frame graves that were within the sides of the ship though they could also be considered as memorials for the deceased. They could be early burial customs of the Scandinavian which are also found in Northern Germany as well as the Baltic states.

These cremation or grave burial seems to be surrounded by loosely of tightly fit stones or slabs in the outline of a ship and are found in grave areas but which are at time far away from other archaeological remains.

It is not known why the wealthy Vikings were buried in this way but there is a belief that the stone ship portrays a boat which was intended to carry the deceased to the land of the dead since they discovered bones and urns on excavation of the sites.

There are various sizes of ship setting, some of monumental proportions and the largest known stone of such likeness existed in Jelling, which was a gigantic stone ship 354 meters long and the stone ship is the oldestof its kind, the Jelling stone ship in Denmark from the Viking age.

South Mound/Gorm’s Mound

Stone Ships
In Sweden, the size range from 67 meters to a few meters and the orientation also tend to vary. They can be cobbled or filled with stones on the inside or just have raised stones in position of masts and the illusion of them being ships has been reinforced by the use of larger stones towards the end.

 Harold Bluetooth took the stone ship as his beginning point when he erected the two gigantic mounds and part of the stone ship was covered by the south Mound or Gorm’s Mound, Remaining of the oldest Jelling stone ship from the Viking age are traced here, In 1861, while excavating the South Mound, King Gorm’s grave was not discovered but various other monoliths were traced but due to the narrow galleries it seemed hard to get to know what they were like.

Monoliths Surfaced 

Stone Ships
Monoliths also appeared during the excavation of the North Mound that same year which were placed across the gallery and had to be blown away by engineers.

In 1941, another excavation was carried out on the South Mound and they decided to dig down from the top of the mound though they did not succeed in locating a grave but few of the monoliths surfaced which stood in two rows around two meters apart from each other forming an acute angle.

 Through the center of the South Mound, Harold Bluetooth’s large runic stone and the barrow in the North Mound, a line is drawn in the middle of this angle. New examinations and measurements were done in 1992 at the South Mound and it was discovered that the monoliths had been put up in two slightly curved courses,

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