The find was made in Denmark, in a tomb from the 10th century, in which lie the remains of a very „powerful couple.“
Neleman Kirsten Nielsen, an archaeologist at the Museum of Silkeborg, leading the excavations in the town Aarup said Danish axes like this one, were the worst weapons from the Viking era.
„It’s a little unusual,“ she says, because it is „much larger and much heavier“ than similar axes of the time. It must have had a very long handle and it was necessary to use both hands for it.
The simplicity of the mighty ax without any decorations or inlaid proves that the weapon was not just for decoration. „This is not a luxury,“ says Nielsen.
The man in the grave was laid in the ground with his ax. „He is not possessed nothing to be buried with him, which means that it has identified only by his great weapon.“
The Ax in the grave is one of the artifacts found in Viking tomb Aarup. They are also called „dødehus“, which means „house of death“ in Danish. The tomb was built with a wooden palisade, roof structure with dimensions of 13 x 4 meters, which covers both graves.
The tomb is dated from year 950 and in it were laid the remains of a man and a woman. They are identified by clothing and accessories, as the only surviving something of them is a black hair strand found in women’s clothes.
The woman was buried in a wooden coffin, which is a testament to its noble origin. A pair of keys were found among her belongings, a prove for her leading role in the community, according to archaeologists.
The keys were a symbol of power and nobility in Denmark and elsewhere in Europe in the Middle Ages and the tradition probably dates from much earlier, says Nielsen. One of the keys opens a small wooden box with steel rings buried in the grave. The woman also owned gold and silver vessels found among the clothes in the grave.
According to archaeologists, both in the tomb may have not been spouses, but certainly were a „powerful couple“ in the community. The special feature here is that the two are buried each in his own grave but within the same structure. No one can say whether they are siblings or spouses, but definitely these two were the most influential people in the community.
Sometime later the remains of a second man were buried in the same grave. It is also sent to their eternal sleep with his ax, but it is not nearly as great as the first. According to Nielsen, the second man is probably a relative or heir of the former. He was also a warrior. „They have battle-axes and definitely were warriors.“
This grave in Aarup is unlike any other Viking tomb ever found.
„Unique is unique, I have not seen anything like this before,“
There is not much evidence from the time of the Vikings. So far archeologists have found only their tombs. There are no findings of their villages or homes. The graves are the only way to learn something more about them.