History Stories

Viking Village With ‘Graffiti’ Found in Dublin

12th century slate with graffiti art. (Credit: ACAS- Aisling Collins Archaeology Services)
12th century slate with graffiti art. (Credit: ACAS- Aisling Collins Archaeology Services)
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    Viking Village With ‘Graffiti’ Found in Dublin

    • Author

      Becky Little

    • Website Name

      history.com

    • Year Published

      2018

    • Title

      Viking Village With ‘Graffiti’ Found in Dublin

    • URL

      https://www.history.com/news/dublin-viking-village-graffiti-discovered

    • Access Date

      August 21, 2018

    • Publisher

      A+E Networks

Archaeologists in Dublin have discovered an 11th-century Viking village, along with several other artifacts from the Norse seafarers who famously traveled through Europe and the Middle East several centuries ago.

One of the most notable finds is an example of Viking “graffiti”—which, though it sounds like a modern hipster trend, actually predates Techno Viking by hundreds of years. As Vikings’ moved from place to place, they graffitied words or images along the way that historians have used to track their travels.

At the Dublin site, researchers uncovered a 12th-century image of a man on horseback that a Viking had drawn on slate. Previous Viking ‘graffiti’ uncovered by archaeologists includes the names of two Vikings etched into a wall of Hagia Sophia, a former church and mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. In addition, Viking runes have been found on a statue of a lion that once stood in Piraeus, Greece (later, it moved to Venice, Italy).

12th century slate with graffiti art. (Credit: Kevin Weldon/ACAS- Aisling Collins Archaeology Services)
12th century slate with graffiti art. (Credit: Kevin Weldon/ACAS- Aisling Collins Archaeology Services)

Archaeologists found the latest graffiti artifact at a site where a hotel company, the Hodson Bay Group, is building a new development. The company’s director, Johnny O’Sullivan, told the Irish Times that he wants to include some of the discovered artifacts in the hotel’s decoration, and also preserve some of the archaeological site.

Because the site has been waterlogged for centuries, artifacts made from organic materials like wood and leather are well-preserved.

“The preservation of the organic material was excellent, with lots of 12th-century leather shoes, a wooden spoon, a wooden bowl, a copper alloy decorated stick pin, a 12th-century copper alloy key, and worked bone objects,” said Aisling Collins, an archaeologist at the site, according to the Independent. “There was also a lot of pottery sherds found, including an almost complete jug.”

A wooden spoon, a silver coin, and a copper alloy key found at the excavation site. (Credit: ACAS-Aisling Collins Archaeology Services)
A wooden spoon, a silver coin, and a copper alloy key found at the excavation site. (Credit: ACAS-Aisling Collins Archaeology Services)

This news follows another major Viking discovery the United Kingdom this year. In February, researchers announced that a mass grave in the English county of Derbyshire held fallen soldiers from a “lost” Viking army.

On the other side of the Atlantic, archaeologists are attempting to uncover the Viking’s travels in North America. Although at least a couple of Viking sites have been discovered there already, researchers are hoping that they’ll uncover many more in the decades to come.

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