Archaeologists in Norway find rare Viking ship burial using only radar

The remains of a Viking Age ship have recently been discovered in Norway using ground-penetrating radar technology.

London (CNN)Norwegian archaeologists have identified a previously undiscovered "high-status" Viking burial site, featuring a feast hall, cult house, and the remnants of a ship burial.

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.
    The data shows the various mounds picked up by the radar, including a big oval shaped one that researchers identified as a Viking Age ship.
    After initial tests were conducted, efforts to fully excavate the ship are now underway.
    Gustavsen said that the mound was previously dug up in the 19th Century, when a lot of the wooden remains of the ship were burned because people were unaware of what they were, meaning there is not a lot left for researchers to analyze today.
    "It's a unique opportunity, it's just a shame that there is so little left of it," he said. "What we have to do is use modern technology and use it very carefully. By doing that, we're hoping that we can capture something from that ship, and be able to say something about what type of ship it was."
    Researchers found several burial mounds beneath the ground; including the ship, they discovered 13 mounds in total -- with some m