Earlier this summer, archeologists in northern Scotland made an extraordinary discovery. There, they found a Viking beer hall reserved for only the most elite, dating back to over 1,100 years ago! Read on to discover what this means for our understanding of the Vikings…
Massive Discovery: The Viking Beer Drinking Hall
Throughout the entire summer, a team of archaeologists had worked in and around Rousay, Orkney, a northern city in Scotland. They expected to find some Viking artifacts there. However, nothing could prepare them for what they turned up. During the last few weeks of the dig, they made a remarkable discovery: an ancient Viking beer hall. After some testing, experts dated the site back to the 10th century. From what they’ve found, archeologists are currently assuming it remained open for about 200 years! That means this Viking glory gathering place was built and used some 1,100 years ago!
The archaeologists made the discovery while looking at a previously excavated settlement in Rousay. There, they found that the walls above ground kept going below ground, much further than previously thought. Now, they know, the walls were part of the 43-foot-long Norse building.
Artifacts As Testimonies Of The Viking Lifestyle
Teams from the University of the Highlands and Islands archaeology institute, as well as Rousay locals, have worked together all summer on the dig. The discovery is a joint effort, they say.
The site has also helped us better understand the history of the Viking people. The archaeologists say that not everyone could enter and use the hall. In fact, only a few could: the elites. They likely used the space for celebrations and special occasions, as well as a place for the elites to come together and plan. Now the archeologists are hard at work digging up and cataloging everything they find, including a fragmented Norse bone comb, some pottery items, and a bone spindle whorl. With those finds, the teams can learn of the way the Vikings and their elites lived.
“An Unparalleled Opportunity”
Ingrid Mainland, the project’s co-director and an archaeologist at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said in a statement about the amazing find, “We have recovered a millennia of middens, which will allow us an unparalleled opportunity to look at changing dietary traditions, farming and fishing practices from the Norse period up until the 19th century.”
This Viking hall discovery is significant – as archaeologists found other similar drinking halls located in Orkney (and other areas in Scotland). Discovering and learning about another hall gives historians and archaeologists a better sense of Norse history. In fact, the dots are being put together, and questions are being answered thanks to the latest discovery, as the area in which the drinking hall was found is mentioned in the Norse Orkneyinga saga as the home of Sigurd, one of the most known Vikings.
“You never know, but perhaps Earl Sigurd himself sat on one of the stone benches inside the hall and drank a flagon of ale!” the expert said.