Hundreds of Viking artifacts discovered in northern Russia

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GOROZHANE, Russia – Archaeologists working near the Gorozhane settlement in the Russian region of Pskov discovered more than 350 artifacts from the time the Vikings roamed the region, one of the members of the Citizens-2019 expedition revealed.

“It is clear that there will be more discoveries as the fieldwork continues. Among the findings are eight Arab Dirham coins, as well as other imported items, mostly beads, weapons, jewelry and others,” the member said.

After being discovered in 2016, the archaeological reserve near Gorozhane has become an important source of interest for archaeologists, with remains of houses and hundreds of man-made objects, including Byzantine imperial coins dating from 920-944, scales, arrowheads, horseshoe fasteners and dozens of artifacts made of glass, stone, clay, ferrous and non-ferrous metals found locally over the years.

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Researchers believe that the site, dating back at least to the tenth century, served as a hub for a trade route between the Greeks and the Varangians (the name given to the Vikings by the Greeks and the ancient Rus peoples). All ancient objects found before the current excavation were delivered to the local archaeological center, with students from universities in Russia, Belarus and Estonia invited to participate in the expeditions with the support of the Russian Historical Society.

The Vikings began exploring lands that are part of the Baltic States, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine between the sixth and ninth centuries, traveling aboard their distinctive ships across the Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas and conquering many local settlements amid efforts to open trade routes with the Greeks and the Middle Eastern empires.

It is believed that most Varangians assimilated with the local Slavic tribes sometime after the eleventh century. According to the ‘Primary Chronicle’ of Rus Kievana, published in Kiev in 1113, a Varangian leader named Rurik became ruler (knyaz) of the town of Veliky Novgorod in 860, with his successors expanding south to Kiev, and founding the first Eastern Slavic state, known as Rus Kievana.

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