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VIKING NETWORK IRELAND

THE NAVAN VIKING BURIAL.


In July 1848, when workers were working on the railway in Navan near the river Boyne, they discovered a quantity of human remains and the skull of a horse. With these were discovered a copper alloy bridle-bit and harness mounts, some links of a chain and a massive boss, iron rings plated with bronze, some small bronze buttons and seven richly gilt articles.

According to a report "The human bodies do not appear to have been placed in any order: and in the surrounding earth was found a great quantity of charcoal, extending from 2 to 10 feet below the surface." Only a small portion of the site appears to have been disturbed and no proper excavation was carried out.

These are illustrations of three of the seven richly gilt articles.

Navan items
All of these were highly decorated and were gold plated. They all had loops on the back to attach them to something. They have been regarded as horse trappings or harness decorations.

Navan item

This find mas made close to the confluence of the Boyne and Blackwater rivers, a site identified as Dún Dubchomair, where a Viking fleet was reputed to have landed.

Sources

Wilde, William, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Antiquities of Animal Materials and Bronze in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy(Dublin, 1861), pp. 573-4.
Wilde, William, The Beauties of the Boyne and Blackwater (Dublin, 1850), pp. 134-5.
D. Ó Murchadha, "Odhbha and Navan", Ríocht na Mídhe, 8 (1992-3), pp. 112-23.
Raghnall Ó Floinn, The Archaeology of the Early Viking Age in Ireland in Clarke, H.B., Ní Mhaonaigh, M., Ó Floinn, R. (eds) Ireland and Scandinavia in the Early Viking Age (Dublin, 1998), pp. 144-5.


Updated March 2001 by the Viking Network
IRISH CO-ORDINATOR Michael Farry.
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