Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 11:09 UK

Irish Viking trade centre unearthed

Viking re-enactment
Almost 6,000 artefacts and a Viking chieftain's grave have been discovered

One of the Vikings' most important trading centres has been discovered in Ireland.

The settlement at Woodstown in County Waterford is estimated to be about 1,200 years old.

It was discovered during archaeological excavations for a road by-pass for Waterford city, which was founded by the Vikings.

The Irish government said the settlement was one of the most important early Viking age trading centres discovered in the country.

Its working group, which includes archaeologists from Ireland's museum and monuments service, said it was of international significance and showed the community was wealthy and sought to remain at Woodstown permanently.

Almost 6,000 artefacts and a Viking chieftain's grave have been discovered at the site, which was established by the year 860. The grave contains a sword, shield and silver mark.

The working group report said the discoveries of silver and lead weights showed it was "apparent that Woodstown falls firmly into the Scandinavian tradition."

"There can be little doubt that many, if not all of the settlement's occupants were either Scandinavian, or had strong insular Scandinavian associations," it said.

"The Woodstown site provides a rare opportunity to study a Scandinavian settlement of this period outside Scandinavia itself."




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