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Local authorities at first assumed the remains belonged to a luckless WWII soldier, until Konsa arrived and recognized a spearhead and carved-bone gaming pieces among the artifacts, clear signs the remains belonged to someone from a much earlier conflict.

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They came to be known as an unstoppable force capable of raiding and trading on four continents, yet our understanding of what led up to that June day on Lindisfarne is surprisingly shaky.

A recent discovery on a remote Baltic island is beginning to change that.

The craft was a remarkable find—the first such boat ever recovered in Estonia, complete with the bodies of its slain crew.

Two years later, Jüri Peets, an archaeologist at the University of Tallinn, uncovered evidence of another, far larger and more technologically sophisticated craft just 100 feet away from the first boat.

According to historians, the Viking Age began on June 8, A. 793, at an island monastery off the coast of northern England.

A contemporary chronicle recorded the moment with a brief entry: “The ravages of heathen men miserably destroyed God’s church on Lindisfarne, with plunder and slaughter.” The “heathen men” were Vikings, fierce warriors who sailed from Scandinavia and bore down on their prey in Europe and beyond in sleek, fast-sailing ships.

Archaeologists use the remains of the past to help solve the puzzles of history.

Whether you’re curious about ancient cultures or are considering a career as an archaeologist yourself, these resources can help you put it all together.

The craft had a keel, an element critical to keeping a sailing ship upright in the water.

Peets believes clusters of iron and wood near the center of the boat and pieces of cloth recovered from the soil are indications of a mast and sail.

Nearby, in the larger vessel, 33 men were buried in a neat pile, stacked like wood, together with their weapons and animals.

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