SURTSHELLIR CAVE, ICELAND — Archaeologists digging in a Viking cave in Iceland have discovered rare artifacts from Iraq in a huge stone boat.
They say the stone boat was used to burn animals to strengthen a god that had to fight to save the world.
Here are the details: Archaeologists were surprised to find artifacts from as far away as Iraq and Turkey while digging in an ancient Viking site in Iceland.
Located in the Surtshellir cave, the ancient site is located in a lava pipe of a volcano that erupted almost 1,100 years ago.
At the time of that eruption, the Vikings had recently colonized Iceland.
In a study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, researchers theorize that the effects of this cataclysmic eruption must have been deeply unsettling for the Vikings.
They say that, after the lava cooled, the Vikings entered the cave and constructed a boat-shaped structure out of rocks.
Within this structure, the Vikings burned animal bones at high temperatures as a sacrifice.
This may have been done to appease Surtr, a giant who Vikings believed would kill the last of the gods in the battle of Ragnarök and then engulf the world in flames.
Another possibility is that the burnt offerings were meant to strengthen Freyr, a Viking fertility god, in the hopes that he could defeat Surtr and stop the fiery end of the world.
Yep, the Vikings sure had some dark ideas floating around in those heads of theirs.
Thank goodness we live in a time when we don't have to burn stuff in dark caves to feed imaginary giants — just so they won't burn us and our world.