Anglo-Saxon and Viking Ship Burials as Indicators of Rank and Wealth

Author(s): P. Nick Kardulias; Meagan Shirley

Year: 2015


This study compares the funerary practice of ship burials in Anglo-Saxon and Viking societies. The custom of ship burial is an expression of rank and wealth held by an individual during their lifespan. In addition to common outward appearance of rank shown through such funerary treatment, similar artistic traditions are evident from grave goods and hoards. Items such as jewelry, furniture and boats are crafted in related styles that also express their owner’s rank through the materials and motifs. Several aspects of Anglo-Saxon and Viking culture are examined to provide a foundation for the analysis of rank in these societies. Ship burials provide unique insight into the elite culture of northern Europe in the latter half of the first millennium A.D. These types of burials include the presence of female occupants, which presents a new aspect of Viking society to study. The inclusion of males and females in a similar funerary setting and the luxury goods included in their burials suggests that both genders could hold significant roles in Anglo-Saxon and Viking society.

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Anglo-Saxon and Viking Ship Burials as Indicators of Rank and Wealth. Meagan Shirley, P. Nick Kardulias. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397584)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;