In 1991, a small team of hardy archaeologists rescued a remarkable Viking boat burial at Scar, in Orkney, just before the winter storms finally claimed it. The boat's wealthy cargo included not one, but three people: a man aged about thirty when he died, a child of about ten, and a woman who was astonishingly old by the standards of the time, probably in her seventies. Amongst the rich panoply of finds in the 7-metre long boat was a magnificent carved whalebone plaque, an unusual gilded bronze brooch, a fine sword, a set of bone gaming pieces and much else besides. In this lecture, Olwyn Owen will piece together the intriguing story of the unlikely group of people buried in the Scar boat burial, trace the origins and significance of the objects they took with them to the pagan afterlife, and explore the wider context of the burial in our understanding of Viking Scotland. Olwyn Owen is an archaeological consultant, specialising in the Viking period, who has excavated widely in Scotland and Scandinavia and published numerous books and papers. Previously, she had a long career in a range of heritage management roles in Historic Environment Scotland, most recently as Head of Scheduling, Marine and Battlefields. She is currently a Trustee of Archaeology Scotland, amongst other voluntary roles. An Archaeology Scotland Lecture.
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