Archaeologists in Denmark have announced the discovery of several Viking grave chambers, probably of a high ranking individual, containing exquisite artefacts.
The site is located in the town of Hørning near Skanderborg in Jutland and the graves were initially discovered in 2012. However, only a small part of it has been excavated and works will resume on April 19. The reason why the discovery was not announced earlier, since it had been made about four years ago, is that the team working on the excavation wanted to secure funding for a full excavation of the site.
The findings include some unique items which indicate that the person buried at the site was high-ranked. Archaeologists refer to the individual as the ‘Fregerslev Viking’.
Among the findings of outstanding value are gilded fittings from a horse bridle, which would belong only to the most powerful people in the Viking Age, according to Merethe Schifter Bagge, archaeologist and project manager at the Museum of Skanderborg. The fittings date to circa 950AD, which means that the Fregerslev Viking was either the confidant of king Gorm the Old or a rival. The fittings are unique and were discovered when a small test pit was dug in one of the chambers.
The discovery of the bridle artefacts indicate that the significance of the grave is comparable to two other findings of paramount importance, the Tollund Man and Egtved Girl. But nothing similar has been found in Denmark since 1983.
The excavation will be managed by the Museum of Skanderborg, said Ejvind Hertz, museum inspector and manager of its archaeological department. The museum will organise daily guided tours to the excavation. They have also created a website (vikingfregerslev.dk), which is in Danish only, where information and updates on the excavation works will be posted.
Some of the items discovered so far will be exhibited at the Museum of Skanderborg from 7 April until 7 May.