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The grave of a 12th century warrior has been discovered in South Finland…by hobbyists with a metal detector.

Photo via YLE of an archaeologist working at the site.

Photo via YLE of an archaeologist working at the site.

This confirms it.  I have to get a metal detector!

A group of “amateur historians” using a metal detector in a field in South Finland stumbled upon the grave of a 12th century warrior.  The group was in the area because it previously showed traces of prehistoric settlement.  They started digging when the metal detector alerted on some “minor objects.”  When the group uncovered a spear tip, an axe blade, and a broken sword they contacted Finland’s National Board of Antiquities (NBA).

NBA’s researcher Simo Vanhatalo, who led the excavation, told Finland’s YLE that the grave contained the well-preserved body of 12th century warrior, measuring 5’9”, two swords, and tools.  The skull is still encased in sand, which experts will remove in a controlled environment.  Researchers will conduct DNA and isotope testing to find out who he was, where he was born and raised, and what food he ate.  Experts will also conduct radiocarbon dating to find out when he died.  Due to the body’s good state of preservation they also hope to find out what he ate for his last meal.

What’s really unusual was that the grave contained two swords from two different time periods: a 4 foot long sword dating to the 12th century; a Viking-age blade that shows signs of being in a fire, possibly from a cremation.  Vanhatalo said, “There were two swords, one on top of the other, the smaller of which was a Viking-era artifact. There is now speculation that it may have been in a fire. In other words, it may have been an heirloom that was in a cremation fire. So that’s a rare combination.”

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