Researchers were able to discover the findings without having to dig into any land, instead using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to see below the surface.
Key amongst the findings from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research — published Tuesday in the Antiquity journal — is a Viking ship burial site located on the Jell mound in Gjellestad, southeastern Norway. Boats symbolized safe passage into the afterlife and were usually accorded to the elite of Viking society.
The GPR data showed that the Iron Age vessel measures around 19 meters (62 feet) long, with the ship buried between 0.3 meters to 1.4 meters (0.9 to 4.6 feet) beneath the ground’s surface.
“When we’re doing these kinds of surveys, it’s normally just gray and black and white blobs — but this data set is so visually striking,” said lead author of the study Lars Gustavsen, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research.
“We knew that there was something special there, but we had no idea that there was going to be a ship burial, that’s pretty unique,” he told CNN.