The Hammer And The Cross
A New History Of The VikingsBook - 2009
Now, with the chamber boarded up, came what was probably the heart of the proceedings. Four or five dogs and two more oxen were slaughtered, as well as fifteen horses that had first been run to exhaustion. The furniture, tools and carriages scattered across the foredeck were bathed in their blood.Stones were then piled over the ship, breaking many of the grave-goods and rendering them unusable. The sights and sounds accompanying such an orgy of blood-letting we might perhaps be able to imagine, the atmosphere conjured by it probably not. As the mourners then set about completing the mound the sight before them must have been eerie and awe-inspiring, the blood-spattered ship with its cargo of dead women seeming to lurch forward across the field in a last attempt to shake off the engulfing wave of dark earth rising behind it. The meadow flowers preserved
from this stage of the proceedings were autumnal, showing that the whole process from the opening of the furrow to the closing of the mound must have taken about four months. Clearly at least one of
the women had died long before the burial took place.