Sunday, April 30, 2017

Iceland's "Woman In Blue"

A Viking-age (9th/ 10th century) woman grave was discovered at Ketilsstaðir, eastern Iceland, in 1938. Her skeleton was very poorly preserved and incomplete. The woman from Ketilsstaðir wore typical copper-alloy Scandinavian oval brooches, one of which was in direct contact with her face, resulting in significant soft tissue and textile preservation.  Now, researchers say that the unknown woman buried with Viking-era objects, was a child of some of the island’s earliest settlers, researchers say. Tooth development and wear suggest she was between 17 and 25 years old when she died. (read more here @ Message To Eagle)

She’s known as the Icelandic “Woman in Blue” due to the color of the apron she wore to her grave. In less romantic terms she’s a partial skeleton and one of Iceland’s earliest inhabitants. Her grave, including the skeleton and other Viking-era burial goods, was discovered in 1938 in Eastern Iceland near the town of Ketilsstaðir. During a recent annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, researchers presented the results of their ongoing examination and testing of the girl’s remains and the objects found buried with her.

The incomplete and poorly preserved skeletal remains belong to a young woman determined to have been between 17 and 25 years old (radiocarbon testing of the fabric and tooth show she was born around the year 900 CE and the time of her death was sometime around the year 920 CE). Based on the chemical analysis of one of her teeth, the Woman in Blue moved from the British Isles or Scandinavia to Iceland when she was between five and ten years old, a fact indicated by her change in diet from mostly land animals and plants to one that included a large amount of seafood and fish. (read more here @ New Historian)

The grave was that of a young woman, most likely in her twenties, who was believed to have moved to Iceland from Scotland at the age of five or ten. She is thought to have died around 920. Buried with her were two silver brooches and an expensive pearl necklace. One of the brooches laid pressed up against the girl’s chin, amazingly preserving part of her skin, enabling researchers to determine her age, origin as well as other information which will be presented at the exhibition. (read more here @ Iceland Magazine)

The ‘Woman in Blue’ moved to Iceland as a young child, probably from Scotland. She died at just over twenty years of age around 920.  In a marvellous struck of luck for anthropologists, one of two copper brooches that the ‘Woman in Blue’ took to her grave moved position, covering the cheek of the buried body. The result is that the woman’s jawbone and cheek have been preserved for over 1,100 years.  This material gives us today an inestimable insight into the life of our Viking-age ‘Woman in Blue’, so named as she was found buried in blue clothes of Icelandic wool. (read more here @ Iceland Monitor)

Though she was dressed in traditional Viking attire for her burial, researchers are unable to conclude whether she was Viking or hailed from Northern Europe. In addition to her clothing and the blue apron, she was also buried with an extravagant pearl necklace and two Scandinavian brooches — and one of the brooches, in an amazing twist of fate, contained the clue that opened to door to her life story. (read more here @ New York Times)

From Archaeology Magazine:
The remains of the “Woman in Blue,” discovered in 1938 in eastern Iceland, have been subjected to a battery of tests that have revealed new details about her origins and life history. Chief among these is that the woman, named after a blue-dyed apron she was buried in, appears to have come to Iceland during its early settlement period. (read more here @ Archaeology Magazine)

No comments: