Shipwrecks make for exciting news items, and while a recent discovery in Norway is not a shipwreck in the traditional sense, it’s still one hell of a find. Ground-penetrating radar has revealed that a Norwegian farm is sitting on topsoil that’s covering up the remains of a Viking ship—and pretty darn intact remains at that. The ship hadn’t sunk at sea but was most likely part of a Viking death ritual in which a deceased Norse leader was placed beneath a burial mound within his own ship, along with his weapons and valuables.
As Ars Technica explains, this grave has been regularly plowed over with topsoil by farmers over several hundred years, which is why its discovery comes as such a surprise to the farmer who currently owns the land. Not only is the soil obscuring this well-preserved ship, it’s also hiding what appear to be two longhouses nearby, which could shed further light on ancient Norse life.
Until additional research is conducted at the site, all that can be said for certain is that the boat likely belonged to someone very powerful. There might be several skeleton remains and an abundance of treasure aboard, or time and thievery might have scrubbed the ship of its contents. Either way, Per Hassle, the farmer whose land the ship is sitting on, seems like the loveliest unwitting host to its discovery: “The burial is indeed located on a working farm, but we couldn’t have wished for a more agreeable landowner,” said archaeologist Dag-Øyvind Solem. “He is very interested in history, especially local history, and is very enthusiastic about the project.”