About 1,000 to 1,200 years ago, a Viking man still in his 20s was laid to rest on a craggy island in the Norwegian Sea. A new analysis of his skeleton and others buried nearby — several without their heads — suggests a haunting possibility: Some of the dead may have been slaves killed to lie in the grave with their masters.
Slavery was widespread in the Viking world, and scientists have found other Viking graves that include the remains of slaves sacrificed as “grave goods” and buried with their masters, a custom also practiced in ancient China and elsewhere. But the newly analyzed site is one of a very few Viking burials to include more than one slave, says the University of Oslo’s Elise Naumann, a Ph.D. student in archaeology who led the research.
Story: Traci Watson, USA Today | Photo: Elise Naumann