London, June 30 : Archaeologists have excavated 23 rare amber gaming pieces from a Viking oat grave in Sweden, which indicates that the Vikings believed that their dead played board games on their way to the afterlife.
According to a report in Chester Chronicle, Dr Martin Rundkvist, Dr Howard Williams from the University of Chester, and the archaeological dig team excavated a boat-grave dating back to the 9th century AD at Skamby in Ostergotland, in South Sweden.
The excavation uncovered 23 very rare amber gaming pieces, which illustrates the lifestyle of the family buried there, as well as their pagan beliefs in relation to the afterlife. he only other dig to have uncovered such gaming pieces took place more than a century ago outside the Viking town of Birka.
According to Dr Williams, an international expert in mortuary archaeology within the university's Department of History and Archaeology, "The boat-grave itself was poorly preserved, but these finds show the social aspirations of the burying community at Skamby."
"They also tell us that playing board-games, a popular pastime among the Viking warrior elite, was something the dead were believed to do, perhaps on their way to the afterlife," he added.
The artifacts, dating to the time of the Vikings, have been put on permanent display in a Swedish museum after being excavated.
The final report into the discovery will be published shortly, containing insights into life and death in Scandanavia during the Viking period.
According to Dr Martin Rundkvist, who partnered Dr Williams in the excavation, "I am very proud that our finds will be seen by so many museum visitors."