Vikings considered Stone Age objects 'to have magical qualities'

Oslo, Feb 3 (ANI): Vikings considered Stone Age objects to have magical qualities, and such 'antiques' were more important in Viking culture than previously understood, according to new archaeological findings.

Excavation of around 10 Viking graves in Rogaland, southwest Norway, had uncovered Stone Age items, such as weapons, amulets and tools.

Olle Hemdorff of Archaelogical Museum in Stavanger told Aftenposten newspaper that he believes these items were buried so that 'they would protect and bring luck to the dead in the after-life'.

The latest revelations are linked to discoveries from Vikings who had travelled to Iceland, and who have been found carrying Stone Age items with them, reports, such findings were not considered to be significant, but recent analysis links them to similar, earlier-overlooked evidence from several locations over the former Viking lands.

Stone Age arrowheads and daggers were sometimes buried under Viking houses.

Hemdorff suggested that by including objects from their ancestors, the Vikings legitimised and gained 'control' over the past.

The custom of burying Stone Age treasures has also been identified in Iron Age communities and excavations from the age of migration (400-600 BC) found in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

The practice is mentioned in William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', where it is stated that flint, pottery, round stones and shards are thrown into Ophelia's grave.

Hemdorff speculates that Shakespeare 'probably built his own description on an old custom that we now know goes back to Viking times'. (ANI)

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