Decapitated 'Scandinavian Vikings'

BBC News - Weymouth ridgeway skeletons 'Scandinavian Vikings'

IFA Salon for April says:

Decapitated bodies in Dorset revealed to be those of Vikings

A good example of public support for human remains research comes from Dorset where, as reported in Salon last year, a mass grave was discovered by Oxford Archaeology staff working on the route of the Weymouth relief road. Huge crowds gathered last month to learn more about the discoveries when the remains went on display in the town’s Pavilion Ocean Room. Steve Wallis, Dorset County Council’s Senior Archaeologist said: ‘We had over 1,000 people in the first two hours; we were counting on a good turn out because we know people round here are interested in archaeology, but we weren’t expecting anything like this.’

Public interest was stimulated by the results of analysis that suggested the remains were those of Viking males who might have been publicly executed 1,000 years ago. Radio-carbon dating has placed the remains in the period between AD 910 and AD 1030. Isotope analysis indicated that the fifty-one men found with their heads hacked off and their torsos tossed into a pit, came from a variety of places in Scandinavia. All were well-built young men in their late teens and early twenties, and at least one of them had lived much of his life inside the Arctic Circle.

All died a brutal death: Ceri Boston, who studied the remains, said they were all hacked around the head and jaw, and cuts on their upper torso, hand and arm bones show they tried to defend themselves. ‘It doesn’t look like they were very willing or the executioners very skilled’, she said. It is possible that the men were from a captured raiding party.

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