Δευτέρα, 29 Αυγούστου 2016

Viking warriors were buried with board games for recreational ‘diversion’ in the afterlife


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By early 9th century, the Orkney Islands, an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, pretty much became the headquarters for pirate raids and expeditions mounted by the Vikings against both Norway and mainland Scotland. In fact, the area later became embroiled in the dynastic politics of the Norsemen, and as such was under Norse (and later Norwegian) rule till 1472 AD. Suffice it to say, the archipelago is home to a flurry of Viking archaeological sites and specimens. And now a Scottish academic, Mark Hall of Perth Museum, has unveiled how at least two of these burial sites in Orkney contain board games that accompanied the body of the occupant. According to the researcher, these board games were arrayed alongside the warrior to symbolically provide him with ‘entertainment’ even in his afterlife.

Interestingly, these Orkney burials are just two among the 36 board game burials of Vikings that are spread across Northern Europe. In any case, focusing on the Orkney ones, one of the burials from the 9th century Rousay site consisted of one male who was accompanied by 25 game pieces made of bones. The other burial at the Sanday site was a tad elaborate, with its occupants comprising one adult male, a young boy and an elderly woman – all of whom were accompanied by 22 game pieces made of whalebone. Hall made it clear –