The man was buried with only this ax as a grave good, and archaeologist Kirsten Nellemann Nielsen of Silkeborg Museum thinks this was a symbol of his status as a warrior. Heavy, two-handed Dane axes like this were one of the most feared weapons of the Viking Age, Nielsen said. [Read full story about the Viking tomb]
The woman wore clothes woven with gold and silver threads, and was buried with two keys. One key fit a small iron and wood casket buried beside her, and the other may have symbolized her status as a leading woman of the community. Archaeologists also found a single black hair in the woman's clothing — the only human remains in the tomb that survived the centuries underground.
As well as the burials in the wooden tomb, there are several ordinary Viking burials nearby that include grave goods. But so far, no Viking houses have been found, according to the researchers.
A third grave containing the body of a second man was added at a later time, and enclosed by a wooden extension to the walls of the original tomb.
Nielsen said this discovery and others like it show that the Vikings in the Haarup area in the 10th century had widespread connection with distant areas through travel and trade.
Far and wide
Nielsen thinks the second man may have been the son or successor of the first man buried in the tomb, and their burials with only their axes and clothes in the grave signifies their status as Viking warriors.