Archaeologists Suggest They Have Found Descendants Of The Vikings Buried In 800-Year-Old Graves In Sicily

Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Archaeologists have recently discovered 800-year-old medieval graves in Sicily and have suggested that there is a very strong possibility that these burials could be descendants of the Vikings.

New research has been conducted by Polish archaeologists on the graves that were found close to Palermo at San Michele del Golfo, which is an old medieval church. As the International Business Times has reported, Professor Sławomir Moździoch, who works at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, noted that some of the burials were “undoubtedly members of the elites or the clergy, as the form of some of the graves indicates.”

While excavations have not been fully completed as of yet, archaeologists have so far discovered the graves of two children and three women. There is reported to be a 12th century document that could hold the key to unraveling the mystery of the link between the church hospital and the cemetery here. However, archaeologists have not managed to uncover any hidden medical equipment from the site so far that would corroborate what was written in the medieval document.

Archaeologists are reported to have discovered clues which point to the 800-year-old graves in Sicily as belonging to the Normans, who are the descendants of the Vikings. Professor Moździoch has noted that a Sicilian anthropologist also holds this view, explaining that “the tallness and massive build of skeletons of people buried here indicate this origin.”

The professor then went on to add that this area was originally taken back from the Arabs by a Norman, which further indicates that these graves were indeed most likely descendants of the Vikings.

“In the second half of the 11th century, the island was recaptured from the Arabs by a Norman nobleman, Roger de Hauteville.”

It isn’t just the history of this location near Sicily which points to the 800-year-old graves as being descendants of the Vikings either. In fact, when DNA tests were taken of the remains of some of the bodies, Professor Moździoch concluded that these tests were “consistent with our concept of the northern pedigree of the church and the deceased buried here because they show that the deceased had a lighter shade of skin, hair and eyes compared to the then dominant communities in Sicily.”

Further, the archaeologist who is in charge of the excavations here has noted that coins that were discovered near the graves were “minted in Champagne and Lucca.” This is more proof that “its builders and users could have come from Normandy and the north of the Apennine peninsula.”

Also of interest is the fact that the church where the graves were discovered is clearly more in keeping with churches from western Europe rather than those that were routinely built in Sicily during the medieval era.

“Our research has changed the previous theories concerning the church structure. It indicates that its form referred more to the western European churches of the 11th and 12th centuries than to the buildings of this type erected in Sicily during that period. To put it simply, the concept of construction was directly transferred from the north by the craftsmen brought from there.”

With so much evidence pointing to descendants of the Vikings being buried in these 800-year-old graves in Sicily, archaeologists will almost certainly have more news about their excavations in the future.