- Feb 2019
- Pennsylvania, US
These were from a mix of locations and areas - from single individual (Birka) and mass Viking burials - but also from cultures were sacrifice wasn't associated with burial rituals... In cases like the mass grave in York (supposed "Great Viking Army" burial site), where there were male and female remains, the sacrificial deaths were believed to be identified and did not include the female bodies (there were two sacrificed boys, placed in an unusual position with a sheep jaw at their feet - these were believed to be killed at the time of burial).Graves with females only? Or males and females. Because viking warriors had female slaves who were buried with their masters. It's unclear if weapons were also used as decoration with female slaves. Likely , females slaves were killed before burial. I cannot imagine burying people alive.
Also, from graves like the Oseberg Ship burial, researchers noted that the items included with the burial are not only the possessions of the diseased, but items that marked key life events for that individual. Basically this means that the importance of the objects buried with the dead are much greater than items for use in the afterlife, but they were included to tell the story of a person's life and achievements. If this represents how a Viking chose items for burial, this seem like it would give more weight to the argument that the weapons buried with women were used by the women in life...
From what I've read, holding back the possessions of the deceased from the grave (even an item that was needed by the living) would have negative effects... ranging from haunting by the reanimated corpse (the Draugr, who leave their grave with immense strength and insatiable hunger for flesh) come back to claim their possessions to condemning the soul of the dead to a sort of void/limbo, because their status in life is not recognized after death.
I've never heard that weapons were used as decorations for female slaves before... which burial was this?