Science and Tech

Children’s cemetery over 2,200 years old discovered in Norway

Children's cemetery over 2,200 years old discovered in Norway

10 Jul. () –

Bones extracted from a complex of more than 40 circular stone tombs discovered in the autumn of 2023 on the outskirts of Fredrikstad (Norway) have revealed that it is a children’s cemetery.

Archaeologists discovered circle after circle made of meticulously placed stones. The circles were about one to two meters wide. The stones were placed very close together, like the cobblestones of a streetSeveral of the graves had a large stone in the centre. Beneath them, archaeologists found remains of pottery and burnt bones.

After examining the bones, the experts were able to announce the biggest surprise: almost all of the graves belonged to children, except for two graves for adults on the outskirts of the burial site, According to a statement from the Norwegian History Museum.

Many had died as infants, while others were between three and six years old when they died. The infant mortality rate was probably high in this period.This children’s cemetery is unique in the Norwegian context and raises many questions that are still unknown: Why were children buried in a separate place? Why here? And how was this tradition maintained for several hundred years?

The exhibition includes a reconstructed stone tomb and offers an insight into the delicate and sometimes emotional work process from the archaeologists who carried out the excavations. Through photographs and video material, visitors can gain insight into the context and significance of the find, as well as into the life and death of our predecessors.

The children’s graves date from the transition between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Most of them were buried between 800 and 200 BC. The children’s graves were found in an area rich in cultural heritage, including many rock carvings from this period that speak of travel and sun worship. The newly discovered children’s graves open up new questions about the people who lived at that time.

These excavations began because a local quarry was to be expanded. Archaeologists believed they would find traces of the Stone Age and had no suspicion that they would find graves from the transition between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

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