Archaeologists have discovered the remains of rare artefacts from the Middle East in a cave in Iceland that the Vikings linked to the Ragnarök event, in which the gods were believed to have been killed and the world engulfed in flames.
The cave is located next to a volcano that baseball jersey erupted nearly 1,100 years ago. At the time of that eruption, the Vikings had recently colonized Iceland. “The effects of this eruption must have been worrisome, posing existential challenges for settlers,” a team of researchers wrote in a paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. just arrived in Iceland.”
Archaeological works show that
after the lava cooled, the Vikings entered the cave and built a boat-shaped structure out of stone. In this structure, the Vikings would burn animal bones, including those of sheep, goats, cattle, horses and pigs, at high temperatures as a sacrifice. This may have been done in an attempt to stop Ragnarok.
Near the structure
Archaeologists have discovered 63 beads, three of which are from Iraq, said Kevin Smith, associate director and curator of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University. The team also found ruins of orpiment, a mineral from eastern Turkey, near the rock structure. This mineral was used at the time to decorate objects, but is very rarely found in Scandinavia. "Finding it inside this cave was a huge shock," Smith said.
Historical records indicate that the Vikings associated the cave with Surtr, a giant in Norse mythology who would eventually trigger the chain of events known as Ragnarök.
According to Viking mythology
"the world will end when Surtr, an elemental present in the creation of the world, kills the last god in the battle of Ragnarök and then engulfs the world in flames".
The entrance of the cave related to Ragnarök is seen here. Archaeologists have found inside a number of strange and rare objects.
Archaeologists do not know why rare objects from the Middle East were left in the cave. The Vikings traveled as far as the Middle East, and these goods may have reached Iceland via trade routes.
But there is a possibility that they were meant to appease Surtr, in the hope that he would refrain from destroying the world. Another possibility is that the item was intended to strengthen Freyr, a Viking fertility god who fought Surtr.
In the Ragnarök story
Freyr dies fighting Surtr and is unable to prevent the baseball jacket apocalypse. The presence of many animal bones - animals that spawn here strengthen Freyr in the hope that he can defeat Surtr and prevent the battle of Ragnarök.
People in Iceland converted to Christianity about 1,000 years ago, and shortly after they stopped sending objects in caves. The final objects housed in the boat-shaped rock structure included a "set of weights with a weight in the shape of a cross," the team writes.
However, even if Icelanders are Christians, they still associate the cave with the end of the world. An Icelandic tradition considers the cave "the place where Satan will appear on Judgment Day".