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Mon Sep 7, 2020, 05:08 AM

Viking sword placed on warrior's left side likely prepared him for 'mirror afterlife'

By Laura Geggel - Associate Editor 3 days ago

The 1,100-year-old steel sword is nearly 3 feet long.

Archaeologists in Norway have unearthed the 1,100-year-old grave of a Viking warrior, whose steel sword was placed in an unusual spot: on his left side.

Though the sword's sinistral position is still somewhat perplexing, one theory is that the Vikings perceived the afterlife to be a mirror image of the real world, so whoever buried this warrior may have been accounting for that, said Raymond Sauvage, the excavation's project manager and an archaeologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) University Museum. According to that theory, the warrior would have been left-handed and worn the sword at his right hip, so the 2.6-foot-long (80 centimeters) sword was simply buried on what would have been his "mirror" side, Sauvage said.

"Usually, the swords in Viking graves are placed on the right-hand side," Sauvage told Live Science in an email. "Normally, a warrior would [fasten] his sword on the left side" so that it could be pulled out by the right hand. This discrepancy that is, that Vikings buried their swords on the opposite side of the body from where weapons were typically worn has led some archaeologists to think that the Vikings believed in a "mirror world" afterlife.

"The idea is that this placement must reflect some beliefs that were important in the mortuary rites," Sauvage said, adding that "other [Viking] items are often found to be placed mirrored of what is normal. Several archaeologists therefore believe that this may reflect a belief that they understood the afterlife to be mirrored of the normal world."

More:
https://www.livescience.com/viking-warrior-sword-left-burial.html

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