Australia: Archaeologists Unearth Ruins of Viking Trade Center

vikings

Derby| Archaeologists excavating on the site of some recently discovered ruins on the northern coast of Western Australia, may have just made the greatest find in the history of the country: the remains an 11th century Viking settlement.

The scientists, associated with the Department of Archaeology of the University of Sydney, were called of the site after some locals discovered what looked like the foundation of an ancient building in July, near Derby.

The archaeologists, directed by Professor Allison Fletcher, were expecting a site from the early colonial period, but they rapidly realized that they were dealing with something completely different.

They have unearthed the foundations of three larger buildings which were identified as houses, and two smaller workshops identified as a carpentry, which was also used as a boat repair area, and a smithy, containing a forge and iron slag.

The type of construction and the items found on the site are very similar to the various Viking colonies discovered in Groenland and Iceland.

“Everything on the site suggests that this was a Viking colony,” says Professor Fletcher. “Honestly, we have no idea how they made it here, but these people were almost certainly Norsemen. The various dating analysis have shown that the site dated from around 1000 AD, precisely at the time of “Viking expansion”. The architecture and the various objects found on the site are all consistent with other Norse colonies or trading posts.”

vikingaustralia

The scientists have also unearthed a total of sixteen tombs, including these warriors who were buried with their weapons and treasure.

The archaeologists have discovered a large quantity and variety of artefacts on the site, including a few weapons and blacksmithing tools, some bronze and silver jewelry, four ivory combs, a few stone oil lamps, a dozen iron rivets and a bone knitting needle.

While most of the items seem to be of Norse origin, a few of the items suggest that the inhabitants of the site were either conducting piracy in the region or they were part of an extended maritime trade network.

Two broken pieces of porcelain, a bronze vessel and a jade ring from China were found in the tomb of one of the women, and some semi-precious stones from India and Sri Lanka were found in the tomb of one of the warriors. This proves that the Vikings had some form of contacts with the Asian continent, but the nature of these contacts remains uncertain.

vikings3

This large bronze vessel, found in the tomb if a Norse woman of high status, was manufactured in Southeastern China in the 9th or 10th Century.

Professor Fletcher believes that the Norsemen could have chosen this site for its natural harbor, the availability of eucalyptus wood and the region’s abundant iron ore.

It’s a long distance from the site of any known Viking settlement, expedition or raid, however, and it remains unclear how the Norsemen actually reached Australia.

“The most probable route is certainly by going around Africa and rounding the Cape of Good Hope, like Vasco de Gamma did centuries later,” says Professor Fletcher. “If we consider the Vikings’ navigational techniques, they must have remained close to the African and then Asian coasts during the whole trip, meeting countless cities and people along the way. I can’t even imagine how many difficulties they must have faced before they made it here!”

The Vikings were a seafaring people who raided and traded from their Scandinavian homelands across wide areas of northern and central Europe, as well as Russia, during the late 8th to late 11th centuries.

Using their advanced seafaring skills and their famous longships, they are known to have created colonies and trading posts throughout the North Atlantic islands, navigating as far as the north-eastern coast of North America.

The Vikings are also known to have raided North Africa and some Mediterranean islands, but this is the first time that any trace of their presence is found in the Indian Ocean.

6 Comments on "Australia: Archaeologists Unearth Ruins of Viking Trade Center"

  1. My thoughts on how the Vikings may have ventured into the Indian Ocean was by way of the ancient canal that was the predecessor of the Suez Canal.
    I have been shown by locals where the ancient canal was located.
    If they had their horses with them their boats could have been dragged over the dry areas that linked the lakes together.
    Google “ancient Suez Canal”

    • Mikael Bravin Karlsson | September 6, 2015 at 7:44 pm |

      No need for horses or ox, they where easily pulled by manpower on logs.
      However they did carry livestock for purposes like the one You mention and for food. One theory suggest that the Nordic seafarers took their round metal-rimmed shields and mounted on the side of the ship as wheels..

      The longboats tilted on their or side or turned upside down also gave shelter, like a caravan or “Winnebago” 😉

  2. William Bourke | September 4, 2015 at 7:35 am | Reply

    Mongs!

  3. If you research Kennewick Man you will find that he could not possibly be Indian and he predates any Americas discovery.

  4. While it may be unusual to some people it isn’t to me. Having studied the Viking for a while I am surprised that remains have been found this far south. However as Rome ventured into the Indian ocean and as far west as Mongolia, perhaps we should not be surprised. They were in America long before Columbus, who incidently found the West Indies, not the mainland. Amerigo Vespucci was before him

  5. The Gympie pyramid in SEQ predates this WA settlement by thousands of years and has produced artifacts from the Egyptian era, soon to be lost under the Bruce HWY expansion due to the ignorance of Australian government contracted archeological “experts”

Leave a Reply to Kevin Girard Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.


*