Human bones in Salme I boat-grave, the island of Saaremaa; Estonia

  • Raili Allmäe Department of Archaeobiology and Ancient Technology, Insititute of History, Tallinn University, Estonia
Keywords: boat-grave, human bones, osteology, bioarchaeology


In the autumn of 2008 human and animal bones came to light during the cabling works in the village of Salme, on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia. Some days later a contour of an ancient boat was discovered. The ancient boat, as well as human and animal bones inside it, dates to the second half of the 7th century or the beginning of the 8th century. The osteological analyses of the human bone material featured the specific quality of this burial-skeletal remains of seven men, which are unknown in the boat- and ship-burials around the Baltic Sea and in the broader context of Northern Europe. The absence of bones of dogs and horses, which are very common in Scandinavian boat- and ship-burials, is also exceptional.


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