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A Viking Burial Chamber in England?

A viking burial chamber in England? This is Lanhill Long Barrow, a Neolithic chambered tomb in Wiltshire dating from around 3500 BC.

Excavated around the beginning of the 20th century, the mound boasted three separate chambers that contained around 20 skeletons, ranging in age from 12 months to 60.

What does it have to do with vikings? Lanhill Long Barrow was once known as Hubbas Low, and a tale arose that told how a Norse leader was interred here after being killed in battle nearby. Ubbe, one of the sons of the the semi-mythical Ragnar Lothbrok, was killed when his army was defeated by defending Saxons at the battle of Arx Cynuit, thought to have been somewhere on the north Devon or Somerset coast. That's the history, but the legend claims that Ubbe's dejected men carried him eastwards in search of a suitable burial place.

On spotting the long barrow at Lanhill, the Danes decided to lay Ubbe at rest inside one of its chambers, complete with his sword and shield, leading the mound to be known as Hubbas Low.

Is there a grain of truth in any of this? Well, Ubbe was a very real co-leader of the Great Heathen Army, and was probably defeated somewhere on the West Country coast. But! The name Hubbas Low seems to have been an early 19th century invention, with the antiquarian John Aubrey the likely culprit. Its thought that his elderly and aristocratic neighbour told him some tall tales with very little substance behind them.

A very impressive long barrow that ranks among Britain's very oldest buildings, with a little sprinkling of folklore to boot - that's fine with me.

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