Researchers find remains of ‘satanic’ Viking rituals in Icelandic cave

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A group of archaeologists have found a unique Viking Age site 300 meters (984 feet) beyond the entrance to the Icelandic Surtshellir Cave, which appears to have been used for Viking rituals. The most amazing find in the cave was a boat-shaped structure made of rocks. Rare artifacts like pearls from the Arabian Peninsula, remains of orpiment (an arsenic sulphide with a dark orangey yellow color) have also been found inside this ancient cave. A group of archaeologists and researchers from the United States, Iceland and Norway have undertaken excavations and field studies in the Icelandic cave of Viking rituals, and recently published their findings in the Journal of Archaeological Science .

The Icelandic Surtshellir Cave, named after the fire giant Viking Surtr, was the site of Viking satanic rituals according to the latest research article published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. (John Charles Dollman / Public domain )

Surtshellir Cave, Norse Mythology and Dark Viking Rituals

Named after the Viking fire giant, Surtr, Surtshellir Cave is one of several lava caves located in western Iceland. Incidentally, it is the longest lava cave in the country, around a mile long and the world’s first known lava tube. The cave is located near a volcano that erupted 1,100 years ago, and among the locals there is an aura of mystery and intrigue. Icelanders inhabiting the nearby mountains say that the murderous ghosts and their spirits reside there, sparking much superstition and folklore.

According to Norse mythology, Surtr was present at both the creation of the world and its destruction, after the Battle of Ragnarok. Ragnarok refers to the events foreshadowing the great battle, resulting in the deaths of a large number of important characters like Odin, Loki, Thor and others, as well as natural disasters and the submersion of the world.

It is a hugely significant event in Viking history and not only occupies the popular imagination, but is also the subject of serious debate, scholarship and scholarship. “The impacts of this eruption must have been troubling, posing existential challenges for the newly arrived Icelandic settlers,” the study authors wrote.

The outline of the stone boat found in the Icelandic cave where Viking rituals took place.  The boat was surrounded by the remains of various domestic animals.  (Journal of Archaeological Science)

The outline of the stone boat found in the Icelandic cave where Viking rituals took place. The boat was surrounded by the remains of various domestic animals. ( Journal of Archaeological Science )

Norse Viking rituals and evidence found in the cave

Radiocarbon dating, fieldwork on three occasions (2001, 2012 and 2013) and tephrochronological dates served as the basis for Bayesian analyzes which revealed that the cave had been formed as a result of the first volcanic eruption observed by Northern Europeans, about 1,100 years ago.

The Nordic Vikings, who were marine conquerors of southern Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) were at their peak between the 8 e and 11 e centuries AD in Europe. They began to colonize Iceland shortly after the eruption. The researchers noted that Iceland had had 205 eruptions, among 30 active volcanoes since the settlers arrived. However, they were only to realize the magnitude of this after settling down.

To ward off any future threat and eruption, the Vikings entered the cave after the lava cooled and built the boat out of stone. One hundred and twenty meters (394 feet) around the boat were scattered bones of sheep, goats, horses and pigs, which researchers call the “dark zone.” They believe these animals were burned in and around the boat to ward off the threat of Surtr and his potentially apocalyptic flame engulfing final act that would destroy humanity.

The researchers said: “The world will end when Surtr, an elemental present at the creation of the world, slays the last of the gods in the Battle of Ragnarök and then engulfs the world in flames.”

Another theory vaguely postulates that rituals and sacrifices were to appease Freyr, the god of peace and fertility, who fights Surtr in Norse mythology (but ultimately loses).

Although very distinct entities, there are obvious similarities between Surtr and Satan, and this fire-carved cave is a suitable site to be considered as the entrance to the underworld of the two belief systems, be it Hel or Hell. . There is also evidence that even after Iceland’s conversion to Christianity, Ragnarok was assimilated into the Christian fold as the Day of Judgment – the cave being the place where Satan would emerge for it. This is supported by a set of scale weights found in the boat, which were placed in the shape of a cross, and would corroborate this hypothesis.

Pearls and other artifacts from the Middle East, including Turkey, have also been found in the cave, but researchers have yet to understand their significance and how they have traveled so far.  (Kathy / Adobe Stock)

Pearls and other artifacts from the Middle East, including Turkey, have also been found in the cave, but researchers have yet to understand their significance and how they have traveled so far. ( Kathy / Adobe Stock)

Unanswered questions

According to Live Science , artefacts from the Middle East and even Turkey have left researchers perplexed. “Finding her inside this cave was a big shock,” according to research team leader Kevin Smith, deputy director and chief curator of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University.

Sixty-three pearls were discovered near the cave structure. Three of them were directly attributed to Iraq. In addition, the remains of orpiment minerals have been found in eastern Turkey. Perhaps it was used to decorate the cave, but there is not enough evidence to support it.

Top image: Evidence of Viking rituals and battles against evil has been discovered in Surtshellir lava cave in Iceland along with a stone boat and unusual artifacts like pearls from the Middle East. Source: danielegay / Adobe Stock

By Rudra Bhushan



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