There was no greater honor for a Viking than to die in battle, beginning a journey from the flat Earth up toward Valhalla, where an eternal feast awaited. “They can have a fight and party every day,” Knut Paasche, a period archaeologist said, “and then the next day, do it again.”
But they needed a vessel to get there. Chieftains and kings, laid to rest in long ships with swords and jewels, were buried in earthen mounds signifying their stature, Paasche said. The larger the ship and mound, the more important the burial.
Archaeologists using ground-penetrating radar found a big mound carved into a western Norwegian island — along with the remains of a “huge” ship as long as 55 feet, Paasche told The Washington Post, in a discovery that may tell new tales about how the ships evolved to become fearsome and agile vessels more than 1,000 years ago