Skeleton found in well confirms Viking Saga
Archaeologists working in Trondheim in Norway are amazed by the discovery of a human skeleton in the bottom of an abandoned castle well. The skeleton provides evidence that confirms dramatic historical events mentioned in the Sagas.
|Archaeologists working in the well [Credit: The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research]|
Scholars have questioned the chronicle’s trustworthiness as a historical document. But now, at least one part of the saga seems to hold truth – down to the tiniest detail.
"This is truly astonishing. As far as I know there is no known example of the discovery of an individual historically connected with an act of war as far back as the year 1197. And the fact that this actually corroborates an event described in Sverre’s saga is simply amazing," says lead archaeologist at the site, Anna Petersén.
Man left in castle well for 800 years
In 1197 King Sverre Sigurdsson and his Birkebeiner-mercenaries were attacked and defeated in his castle stronghold, Sverresborg, by his rivals, the Baglers. According to the Saga, the Baglers burned down buildings and destroyed the castle’s fresh water supply by throwing one of King Sverre’s dead men into the well, and then filling it with stones.
|Overview of the Castle site [Credit: The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research]|
Skeleton and well structure
The archaeologists from The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research have returned this year to conduct a full excavation of the well with the goal of removing the layers of dumped stone and ultimately the whole skeleton.
|The skeleton at the bottom of the well [Credit: The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research]|
"This is a unique glimpse of an important historical event. You can almost feel it. Its almost as if you were there," enthuses Petersén.
The archaeologists at Sverresborg are being supported by a forensic specialist from the Trondheim police district, which adds to the feeling that we are witnesses to the result of a brutal crime.
Source: The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage [June 11, 2016]