Dublin, Ireland: The archaeological site of Kilmainham-Islandbridge in Dublin “…is now demonstrably the largest burial complex of its type in western Europe, Scandinavia excluded”. This has come after a massive 15 year project making sense of the archaeology under Dublin’s streets with results expected to be published in an 800 page report titled ‘Viking Graves and Grave Goods in Ireland.’
The majority of artefacts which have been located on either side of the Rivers Liffey and Poddle have already been dated to between AD 841-902, one of the earliest known periods of dense settlement in Dublin by Vikings. Most of the burials discovered are of the more aristocratic members of society and Archaeologists state that this is a sure sign of the wealth and importance of Dublin at the time.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Archaeologist Linzi Simpson explained “The annals record these vast numbers of warriors coming to Dublin, and recent work is now matching that with the archaeology. We used to think the annals were prone to exaggeration, and maybe the Vikings weren’t so bad. But now there is a swing towards, ‘Jeepers, they were fairly catastrophic.’”
Vikings were first spotted off the coast of Ireland in AD 792, three years before the English monastery at Lindisfarne was destroyed by them for the first time. Raids on Inishbofin, Rathlin and Inishmurray followed soon after. Researchers associated with the Dublin discovery believe that such raids on both Ireland, Scotland and England began as exploratory expeditions which would ultimately result in larger scale settlement. The wealth that they found in Ireland led to Dublin morphing into one of the key centres of trade in 9th century Europe.