Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Fregerslev Viking From Outside Hørning


Sensational find of chamber graves from the later part of the Viking Age at Fregerslev south of Hørning in Jutland in Denmark will hopefully witness to the ethos of the Viking warriors in the 10th century.

Fregerslev is a small settlement located a few km south of Hørning in the midst of Jutland near the town of Skanderborg. It lies down to a lake at an old crossing point. At the periphery of Hørning close to the road towards Fregerslev, a Viking burial ground was discovered in 2012, consisting of two inhumation graves and a tomb with two (or maybe three) chambers. While the two inhumation graves have been excavated, the chamber graves were left in situ for later excavation. However, intensive studies carried out using metal detectors as well as electromagnetic surveying left the archaeologists with tantalising glimpses of what might be a very rich picking ground for future excavations. Also, a magnificent headgear for a horse gave an inkling of what hopefully lies beneath. During the next years funding was sought while the find was kept hidden for fear of “night-owls”. Now, However, the time has come.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Archaeologists make sensational Viking discovery in Denmark

One of the beautiful, gilded fittings (photo: Museum of Skanderborg)

In what is being described as one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Denmark in recent times, archaeologists have uncovered several chamber-graves in the hamlet of Hørning near Skanderborg in Jutland.

What is of particular interest is that one of the chamber-graves contains the remains of a high-level person from the early Viking Age, as well as a number of spectacular items that confirm the individual’s high standing. He has been dubbed the ‘Fregerslev Viking’.

“The artefacts that we’ve already found are exquisite gilded fittings from a horse bridle. This type of bridle would only be available to the most powerful of people in the Viking Age, and we believe it might have been a gift of alliance from the king,” said Merethe Schifter Bagge, a project manager and archaeologist at the Museum of Skanderborg

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Immigration to Denmark is nothing new … just ask the Vikings

A Viking grave in Randers shows evidence of early globalisation



Ernst Stidsing, an archaeologist and the curator at East Jutland Museum, has discovered that the body of a woman buried in a Viking grave in Randers was born in Norway.

The remains of her teeth were subjected to a strontium analysis, which can show where a person is born and grew up. The results of the analysis, together with jewellery found with the body, pointed to the fact that she grew up in southern Norway.

Ernst Stidsing added that people have always travelled and emigrated. However, the exact circumstances of her coming to Denmark are unknown. It isn’t clear whether she came of her own free will, was a party in an arranged marriage, or if there was another reason for her presence in Denmark.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Norwegian theme park wants to be ‘Viking capital of the world’


Theme park Thors Rike (Thor’s Kingdom) wants to attract Viking enthusiasts from all over the world.
The theme park, in the western Norwegian county of Hordaland, aims to become a traditional theme park with a difference – the carousels and rollercoasters will be supplemented by “infotainment” to educate visitors about Vikings and Viking history.

“There is much talk of rollercoasters and rides, but Viking experiences and a Viking ship will also be built. The aim is to take visitors a thousand years back in time while retaining the theme park aspect,” Terje Devold, project leader for the new amusement park, told broadcaster NRK.

Devold said that he envisaged the final result as a “theme park in Viking costume”.

Read the rest of this article...

How to Fight Like a Viking

Courage, camaraderie, and a lack of chivalry made the Norse fearsome fighters.



From the day in 793 when Viking warriors descended on an isolated monastery in the north of England, the Norsemen became an object of fascination and terror for medieval Europeans. “Never before,” an English monk later wrote, “has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from a pagan race.”

How did the Vikings come to inspire such fear in the hearts of their opponents? Archaeological excavations of Viking graves and battlefields show they used the same chain mail shirts, long spears, and sharp, double-edged swords as other well equipped warriors all across Europe.

Their reputation, experts say, came not so much from their weapons or armor as from their innovative tactics and high morale.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Why Did Greenland’s Vikings Vanish?

Newly discovered evidence is upending our understanding of how early settlers made a life on the island — and why they suddenly disappeared


On the grassy slope of a fjord near the southernmost tip of Greenland stand the ruins of a church built by Viking settlers more than a century before Columbus sailed to the Americas. The thick granite-block walls remain intact, as do the 20-foot-high gables. The wooden roof, rafters and doors collapsed and rotted away long ago. Now sheep come and go at will, munching wild thyme where devout Norse Christian converts once knelt in prayer.

The Vikings called this fjord Hvalsey, which means “Whale Island” in Old Norse. It was here that Sigrid Bjornsdottir wed Thorstein Olafsson on Sunday, September 16, 1408. The couple had been sailing from Norway to Iceland when they were blown off course; they ended up settling in Greenland, which by then had been a Viking colony for some 400 years. Their marriage was mentioned in three letters written between 1409 and 1424, and was then recorded for posterity by medieval Icelandic scribes. Another record from the period noted that one person had been burned at the stake at Hvalsey for witchcraft.

But the documents are most remarkable—and baffling—for what they don’t contain: any hint of hardship or imminent catastrophe for the Viking settlers in Greenland, who’d been living at the very edge of the known world ever since a renegade Icelander named Erik the Red arrived in a fleet of 14 longships in 985. For those letters were the last anyone ever heard from the Norse Greenlanders.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, 6 March 2017

How to Eat Like a Viking


It's no surprise that the fearsome raiders relished wild boar meat. But yogurt?



Participants at the Slav and Viking Festival in Wolin, Poland tend to be sticklers for authenticity. Many adorn their bodies with tattoos, and some adopt a Viking diet, slaughtering and roasting game. 
PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID GUTTENFELDER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

All that marauding must have left the Vikings famished. It’s easy to envision a group of them around a table, ravenous after a long day of ransacking, devouring giant hunks of meat and hoisting horns-full of ale.

But that wouldn’t quite be fair, or accurate.

As tempting as it is to assume that Viking meals were crude and carnivorous, the truth is that everyday Viking fare included a range of foods that a health-minded modern person would applaud.

Picture, for example, that burly, bearded warrior throwing down his sword to enjoy a tart treat similar to yogurt, or refuel with a tangle of fresh greens.

“The Vikings had a wide range of food and wild herbs available to make tasty and nutritious dishes,” says Diana Bertelsen, who helped research and develop recipes for Denmark’s Ribe Viking Center—a reconstructed Viking settlement where visitors can immerse themselves in just about every aspect of Viking culture, including what and how they ate.

Read the rest of this article...

The toy boat that sailed the seas of time

Some child likely played with this carved wooden boat a thousand years ago. It was found in an abandoned well during an extensive archaeological dig at the Ørland Main Air Station, on the coast west of Trondheim.
Credit: Åge Hojem, NTNU University

A thousand years ago, for reasons we will never know, the residents of a tiny farmstead on the coast of central Norway filled an old well with dirt.

Maybe the water dried up, or maybe it became foul. But when archaeologists found the old well and dug it up in the summer of 2016, they discovered an unexpected surprise: a carefully carved toy, a wooden boat with a raised prow like a proud Viking ship, and a hole in the middle where a mast could have been stepped.

"This toy boat says something about the people who lived here," said Ulf Fransson, an archaeologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) University Museum and one of two field leaders for the Ørland Main Air Station dig, where the well and the boat were found.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, 5 March 2017

New study reignites debate over Viking settlements in England

The Danish Viking King Sweyn Forkbeard conquered what is modern day England in 1013. But very little trace of the Danish Vikings is found in modern day Britons’ DNA, concluded DNA scientists in 2015. This conclusion has now come under fire from archaeologists. (Illustration: Wikipedia)

The Vikings plundered, raided, and eventually reigned over a large part of what is modern day England. But exactly how many Danish Vikings migrated west and settled down in the British Isles?
In 2015, a large DNA study sparked a row between DNA scientists and archaeologists after concluding that the Danish Vikings had a “relatively limited” influence on the British—a direct contradiction to archaeological remains and historical documents.
“We see no clear genetic evidence of the Danish Viking occupation and control of a large part of England,” write DNA scientists in a study published in the scientific journal Nature in 2015.
new study has reignited the debate by claiming that somewhere between 20,000 and 35,000 Vikings relocated to England.
Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Danish Vikings could have been economic migrants to Britain


The Viking invasion of Britain in the ninth century may have been the result of economic migration, a study has found.
Jane Kershaw, a postdoctoral fellow at University College London,  believes that they crossed the seas find a better life, the Local reported.
She told the told the Danish magazine Videnskab that their motivation was little different from migrants arriving in the United Kingdom and Denmark today.
"At that time, there may not have been enough resources in the Vikings' homeland, but in eastern England the Vikings found an agriculturally rich area," she said.    "We are currently living in a time of large-scale migration,” she added. 
Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Viking VIP: Grave Belonging to 'Warrior of High Status' Uncovered

Archaeologists found several grave goods within the Viking burial, including a sword (top),
the remains of fabric that was wrapped around the blade of the sword (lower right)
and the decoration on the pommel of the sword (bottom left).
Credit: Pieta Greaves/AOC Archaeology
About 1,000 years ago, Vikings dug a grave for a "warrior of high status" and buried him in a boat that was overflowing with grave goods, including a hefty sword and a broad-bladed ax, according to a new study.
The Viking warrior was buried in western Scotland's Swordle Bay, far from his home in Scandinavia. But, the artifacts found in his grave are Scandinavian, Scottish and Irish in origin, the researchers found.
The rare finding provides insights into how the peoples of western Scotland lived and interacted during the 10th century, when this Viking was buried, the researchers said. [Images: Viking Jewelry Revealed in Sparkling Photos]
Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Revealed: the secrets of rare Viking boat burial uncovered in Swordle Bay on Ardnamurchan peninsula


IT was the first intact Viking ship burial to be unearthed on the UK mainland, with two teeth the only remains of the person who was laid to rest there more than 1,000 years ago.
Now the first report on the rare archaeological find, discovered on the Ardnamurchan peninsula on the west coast of Scotland, has raised the intriguing possibility it may have held the body of a female warrior, rather than a male Viking chieftain as previously assumed.
Researchers believe the person was a warrior of high status, with weapons such as a spear, shield, sword and axe also found buried in the small rowing boat – but there were an assortment of other artefacts including a large iron ladle, a sickle and part of a drinking horn.
An analysis of chemical elements known as isotopes found in the two teeth suggest the Viking may have grown up in a coastal village in Norway.
While there are few clues as to why their elaborate burial site is on the remote Scottish peninsula, one theory is it could have taken place to mark the first settlement of the area by Vikings.
Read the rest of this article...

Face of Orkney's St Magnus reconstructed


Forensic artist Hew Morrison used specialist computer software for his 

reconstruction of St Magnus


A facial reconstruction has been made of Orkney's St Magnus to help mark the 900th anniversary of his death.
Forensic artist Hew Morrison's research included studies of photographs taken in the 1920s of what is said to be the skull of the 12th Century Norse earl.
Before sainthood, Magnus Erlendsson shared the earldom of Orkney with his cousin, Hakon.
Hakon's jealousy of his cousin's popularity on the islands led to Magnus being put to death.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Shetland celebrates the Up Helly Aa Viking fire festival


The annual Up Helly Aa Viking fire festival has been celebrated in Shetland.
Some 60 "Vikings" paraded through Lerwick, trailed by more than 900 torchbearers known as "guizers".
The celebration culminated in the traditional burning of a galley. Mike Grundon reports from Lerwick.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, 30 January 2017

How Much Viking Lore Is True?


Archaeologists have confirmed key details in Norse oral histories (but not the dragons, elves, and trolls).



In TV series from Vikings to Game of Thrones, the icy wastes of the north provide the backdrop to dramatic, often violent, stories of kings and warriors, dragons and trolls. The source for many of these dramas is the Icelandic sagas. In her new book, Beyond the Northlands: Viking Voyages and the Old Norse Sagas, historian Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough explores the world of the sagas, teasing fact from fiction to show that there was much more to the Norse peoples than rape and pillage. (Find out whether the Vikings deserved their terrible reputation.)
Speaking from her home in Durham, England, she explains how the United States should really celebrate Leif the Lucky, not Columbus, why the Soviets hated the idea that Russia had been founded by the Vikings, and how the gruesome Viking torture known as the Blood Eagle may have been more poetic conceit than historical practice. (Did Vikings make the modern world possible?)

Read the rest of this article...

Spectacular Viking manor discovered near Birka


A large Viking manor has been found near the ancient town of Birka in Lake Mälaren.
Birka, on the island of Björkö in Lake Mälaren, 40 kilometres from Stockholm, is thought to be Sweden's oldest town and has been the site of excavations since the 17th century.
But there is still plenty left to be discovered on the island, as Swedish and German researchers' latest find proves.

Thanks to high-resolution geophysical surveys carried out in September 2016, researchers now believe they have located one of the most important Viking halls of the era, situated in the harbour bay of Korshamn, outside of Birka's town boundaries. They believe that it can be dated to the period after 810 AD.

“This kind of Viking period high status manors has previously only been identified at a few places in southern Scandinavia, for instance at Tissø and Lejre in Denmark,” said Johan Runer, archaeologist at the Stockholm county museum, in a statement.
Read the rest of this article...

'Warrior Of High Status' Was Buried At Scottish Viking Boat Burial Site


The excavation of a rare, intact Viking boat burial in western Scotland has been set out in detail for the first time.

The boat burial is the first found intact on the UK mainland [
Credit: Ardnamurchan Transitions Project]

Artefacts buried alongside the Viking in his boat found in Ardnamurchan suggest he was a high-ranking warrior.

In a report published by Antiquity, archaeologists describe the finds including a sword, spearhead and 213 of the boat's rivets.

The weapons indicate the burial of "a warrior of high status".

Archaeologists, including Dr Oliver Harris of the University of Leicester, first revealed the discovery at Swordle Bay in 2011.

Since then experts have been studying the burial site and its "rich assemblage of grave goods".

Among them were a single copper alloy ringed pin, thought to have been used to fasten a burial cloak or shroud, a broad bladed axe, a shield boss and whetstone made from rock found in Norway. Also found were mineralised remains of textiles and wood.


Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Scientists divided over whether 'Furku.Al' rock inscription is genuinely the work of Vikings


When a resident on the Isle of Eigg decided to clean his drains, he had no idea that he would stumble upon a mystery that would baffle archaeologists around the world.

The islander’s discovery of a boulder with the letters “Furku.Al” scratched into its surface has sparked a lively debate among experts as to whether it is a genuine runic inscription.

The resident alerted Camille Dressler, chair of the Eigg History Society, about his potentially significant find, and she sent a photograph to Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

“It looks quite ancient. We are intrigued by it,” Ms Dressler told The Daily Telegraph. “We just hope it is a genuine Norse inscription as that would highlight the Norse heritage of the island.”

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Bringing Vikings Back to the East Midlands


The Centre for the Study of the Viking Age is pleased to report that we have been awarded a substantial grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council Follow-On Fund for a project called Bringing Vikings Back to the East Midlands. The project will fund a variety of initiatives and events related to the British Museum/York Museums Trust travelling exhibition on the Vikings which will be on at Lakeside from November 2017 to March 2018. CSVA alumnus Dr Roderick Dale will start as Cultural Engagement Fellow on the project on 1st February. More details to follow.

Read the rest of this article...


Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Dressed up with bling stolen in Viking raids


When a female Norwegian Viking died some time during the 9th century, she was buried wearing a status symbol: a beautiful piece of bronze jewellery worn on her traditional Norse dress.
In the summer of 2016, 1200 years after her death, the piece of jewellery was found by chance at Agdenes farm, at the outermost part of the Trondheim Fjord in mid-Norway. The well-preserved object is an ornament with a bird figure that has fish- or dolphin-like patterns on both "wings."
The decorations suggest that the jewellery was made in a Celtic workshop, most likely in Ireland, in the 8th or 9th century. It was originally used as a fitting for a horse's harness, but holes at the bottom and traces of rust from a needle on the back show that it had probably been turned into a brooch at a later stage.
Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Viking gold discovered in Denmark – on live TV

The new find was made in the same field that yielded these seven bracelets over the summer. Photo: Nick Schaadt, Museet på Sønderskov

A team of Danish archaeologists digging in a field east of Ribe knew they had a better-than-average chance of discovering a treasure trove.
They were, after all, digging in the same field that back in June produced the largest ever discovery of Viking gold in Denmark. Having discovered seven bracelets, six gold and one silver, that date to around the year 900 the archaeologists went back to the field on Monday. 
 
 
This time they had a production crew from regional broadcaster TV Syd in tow. 
 
Already by midday, the archaeologists and the TV crew had cause to celebrate. In front of rolling cameras, the excited diggers pulled out what appeared to be part of another Viking gold bracelet. 
Read the rest of this article...

Rare 1,500 Year Old Odin Amulet Found In Denmark


A local treasure hunter named Carsten Helm, along with his 10 and 12-year-old sons, discovered a trove of gold on the island of Lolland that dates back 1,500 years.

The Odin amulet was called a "rare and exciting discovery" 
[Credit: Museum Lolland-Falster]

Among the gold discovered was a so-called bracteate, a thin gold medallion worn as jewellery during the Germanic Iron Age. Archaeologists at Museum Lolland-Falster believe that the image on the amulet depicts Nordic god Odin. Their conclusion was based on other finds of similar bracteates that include a rune inscription reading ‘The High One’, one of Odin’s nicknames.

“It is a very exciting find,” museum spokeswoman Marie Brinch said. “Even though it is a previously-known type, it is a rare and exciting discovery. Throughout history there have only been three found on Lolland, the latest in 1906, and in all of Northern Europe there are only around 1,000 of them.”

Helm and his sons also found an additional gold pendant, three gold pieces that were likely parts of a necklace, a gold ring and assorted pieces of silver.

Their finds will go on display at the Maribo County Museum on Friday.


Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Somerset skeletons are oldest evidence of monks found in UK


Carbon dating of remains unearthed in Beckery chapel near Glastonbury indicate monastic life dating back to fifth or early sixth centuries


Skeletons excavated at a site near Glastonbury are the oldest examples of monks ever found in the UK, carbon dating has proved.
The remains, unearthed at the medieval Beckery chapel in Somerset, said to have been visited by legendary figures such as King Arthur and St Bridget, indicate a monastic cemetery dating back to the fifth or early sixth centuries AD, before Somerset was conquered by the Saxon kings of Wessex in the seventh century.
Archaeologists first located an extensive cemetery of between 50 and 60 bodies during an excavation in the 1960s. The fact all were male – apart from one female, thought to have been a visitor, nun or patron, and two juveniles, who may have been novices – left little doubt this was a monastic graveyard.
Read the rest of this article...

Monday, 28 November 2016

Altar of Miracle-Making Viking King Discovered in Norway

Archaeologists uncovered the foundations of a wooden church where the body of the Viking king Olaf Haraldsson may have been enshrined after he was declared a saint.
Credit: Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU);
Distributed Under a Creative Commons License

The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) announced Nov. 11 that its researchers had discovered the foundations of a wooden church where the body of King Olaf Haraldsson was taken immediately after he was declared a saint in 1031. St. Olaf, as he is now known, conquered and consolidated Norway in 1016 but held on to rule for a little more than a decade before his power was threatened by Canute I, king of Denmark and England. Olaf died in the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030.
Now, archaeologists say they've found a key location in the king's posthumous journey from martyr to Norway's patron saint. [25 Grisly Archaeological Discoveries]
Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

York to reopen Vikings of Jorvik attraction 16 months after floods


The December 2015 floods that forced the Vikings of Jorvik attraction to close. 
Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

It’s almost a year since Sarah Maltby, sat comfortably at home on her sofa in the sleepy days after Christmas, got a phone call to warn her that the Vikings of Jorvik were up to their waists in water.
“The first I knew of it was a call from the staff on duty saying the centre was open, there were visitors inside, but water was starting to pour in and what should they do,” the director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust said. “There was only one answer. Get the visitors out and close immediately.”
Jorvik, the unique visitor attraction under the streets of York and built on an archaeology site that revealed the real everyday lives of its Viking residents, has been closed ever since. It has only just announced a reopening date in April 2017.
Read the rest of this article...

Friday, 11 November 2016

Why did Greenland’s Vikings disappear?


In 1721, missionary Hans Egede sailed a ship called The Hope from Norway to Greenland, seeking Norse farmers whom Europeans hadn't heard from in 200 years in order to convert them to Protestantism. He explored iceberg-dotted fjords that gave way to gentle valleys, and silver lakes that shimmered below the massive ice cap. But when he asked the Inuit hunters he met about the Norse, they showed him crumbling stone church walls: the only remnants of 500 years of occupation. "What has been the fate of so many human beings, so long cut off from all intercourse with the more civilized world?" Egede wrote in an account of the journey. "Were they destroyed by an invasion of the natives … [or] perished by the inclemency of the climate, and the sterility of the soil?"

Archaeologists still wonder today. No chapter of Arctic history is more mysterious than the disappearance of these Norse settlements sometime in the 15th century. Theories for the colony's failure have included everything from sinister Basque pirates to the Black Plague. But historians have usually pinned most responsibility on the Norse themselves, arguing that they failed to adapt to a changing climate. The Norse settled Greenland from Iceland during a warm period around 1000 C.E. But even as a chilly era called the Little Ice Age set in, the story goes, they clung to raising livestock and church-building while squandering natural resources like soil and timber. Meanwhile, the seal-hunting, whale-eating Inuit survived in the very same environment.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Archaeologists discover a Viking toolbox



ScienceNordic journalist Charlotte Price Persson, became an archaeologist for the day as she helped excavate a 1,000 year-old Viking toolbox. She how she did in the video above. 
(Video: Kirstine Jacobsen, ScienceNordic)


It might sound incredulous, but the small lump of soil pictured above represents one of the most sensational discoveries made at Denmark’s fifth Viking ring fortress: Borgring.

The lump of soil was removed from the area around one of the fortress’ four gates and it contains the remains of a collection of tools, which probably once lay inside a Viking toolbox.

The toolbox is the first direct indication that people have lived in the fortress. There have been only a handful of similar discoveries around the world.

ScienceNordic was allowed to help archaeologist Nanna Holm excavate the toolbox as it was opened for the first time in 1,000 years.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, 7 November 2016

Danish archaeologist discovers new Viking fighting style


Shields were apparently used for much more than just protection

The famous round Viking shield may have been more useful than previously thought 
(photo: Wolfgang Sauber)

Danish archaeologist Rolf Warming has been working to discover the fighting skills that Vikings in all probability must have used during battle.

Warming’s research revealed that along with using their shields to defend themselves against attacks, the shields were also an active part of fighting.


“It turns out that the Vikings may have used their shields much more actively than previously thought,” Warming told Vindenskab.dk.

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists Discover Viking Toolbox


The toolbox before Nanna Holm began to dig [Credit: Stine Jacobsen, Videnskab.dk]

The lump of soil was removed from the area around one of the fortress’ four gates and it contains the remains of a collection of tools, which probably once lay inside a Viking toolbox.

The toolbox is the first direct indication that people have lived in the fortress. There have been only a handful of similar discoveries around the world.

ScienceNordic was allowed to help archaeologist Nanna Holm excavate the toolbox as it was opened for the first time in 1,000 years.

Tools scanned at the hospital

The exciting find first came to the attention of Holm and her colleagues when a couple of amateur archaeologists with metal detectors found a signal near to the fortress’ east gate.

Read the rest of this article...

Viking raiders were only trying to win their future wives' hearts

Viking raiders were proving their masculinity to try to win women's hearts  CREDIT:AFP/GETTY IMAGES/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

When the Vikings landed at the holy island of Lindisfarne in 793AD, it marked the beginning of hundreds of years of terrifying raids, which would earn the Norsemen a fearsome reputation as murderers and pillagers throughout Europe.

But the reason why groups took to the seas in the first place continues to divide historians, some blaming over-population in Scandinavia, and others seeing it as a preemptive strike against the seemingly unstoppable march of Christianity.

Now a new theory suggests that the Vikings actually had matters of the heart on their minds.

Dr Mark Collard, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen and currently the Canada Research Chair at the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, along with colleague Ben Raffield and Neil Price, Professor of Archaeology at Uppsala University , believes that changes in society had led to a desperate shortage of marriage partners.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Missing Viking-era rune stone turns up in Sweden


A Viking-era rune stone that went missing for almost two centuries has been found after a Swedish archaeologist stumbled on it almost by chance.
The find took place during installation work of a lightning conductor at Hagby Church, west of the central Swedish university town of Uppsala. It was found underground a few metres from the building.
"We knew that there had been a medieval church there, but didn't know that this rune stone was in that exact location," Emelie Sunding, archaeologist at Uppland Museum, who was present during the construction project to preserve any historic remains discovered, told The Local on Wednesday.
Read the rest of this article...

Viking arrowheads emerge from melting Norwegian glaciers

High up in the mountains, archaeologists are now discovering human traces dating as far back as the Stone age.



The oldest ice in this snowdrift glacier may have formed in the Stone Age. Now the ice is melting, and archaeologists have a golden opportunity to find ancient traces of human activity. 
(Photo: Lasse Biørnstad, forskning.no)

Julian Martinsen bends down and places a tape measure next to a small treasure located between two large rocks. He is the curator and archaeologist in Oppland County and has been  tasked with picking up and packing the artefacts that the team of archaeologists find.
“This is a rare specimen, a bird point,” says Martinsen, as he picks a mysterious arrowhead up off the ground. The arrow has a very special appearance. The point is split in half, like two knife blades facing each other.
According to Martinsen, it stems from the Viking Age, between 900 and 1050 CE. The dating is based on what kinds of arrows and building techniques people used in different time periods.
Read the rest of this article...

Friday, 16 September 2016

New Viking graves discovered in Denmark


A new archaeological excavation in Denmark reveals the remains of graves and buildings that span the Stone Age, Bronze Age, the Vikings, and right up to the Middle Ages.



Archaeologists are busy unearthing the traces of three thousand years of activity at Silkeborg, west Denmark.
Excavations have already revealed pit-houses, which were typically used as workshops during the Viking era, and residential homes in the so-called Trelleborg style (see Fact Box), together with several graves.
At least two of the graves could have accommodated high-status Vikings.
“There’s been activity here at least since the Stone Age,” says one of the archaeologists involved in the dig, Maria Thiemke, from the Silkeborg Museum, Denmark.
“There’s at least 14 houses and five graves from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, right up until the Middle Ages,” says Thiemke.
Read the rest of this article...

Major Archeological Find in Iceland


From the excavation site in Stöðvarfjörður. Photo: Screenshot from Stöð 2
A recent archeological find in Iceland suggests that the country may have been inhabited as early as the year 800, or 74 years earlier than its official settlement date, Vísir reports. Four weeks of excavation in Stöðvarfjörður, the East Fjords, under the direction of archeologist Bjarni F. Einarsson, have revealed some of the most interesting signs of human presence found i the country. They suggest a longhouse was built there shortly after 800, but until now, Iceland’s first permanent Nordic settler, Ingólfur Arnarson, is said to have arrived in 874.
“The C-14 dating method shows a date shortly after the year 800,” Bjarni explained. “I have no reason to doubt that analysis.”
Signs of human presence from a similar time have been discovered before in Kvosin, Reykjavík, in Hafnir, Reyjanes, and in Húshólmi by Krýsuvík.
“We’ve started detecting a longhouse-shaped structure with thick floor layers,” Bjarni stated. The long-fire is missing, but a fireplace is coming into view by one of the gables, by the wall.
Read the rest of this article...

Monday, 12 September 2016

Ancient Viking warrior blade unearthed by Icelandic goose hunters


© The Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland

Hunters tracking geese in the wilds of southern Iceland have returned with an unexpected catch - an incredibly well-preserved 1,000 year old Viking sword.

The group of hunters fortuitously stumbled upon the weapon in Skaftárhreppur, south Iceland, a region badly hit by floods last year.

Pictures of the Viking weapon of war - a double edged sword - show it to be in remarkably good condition, save for the tip which has broken off.

The sword is slightly curved at the point and due to years of exposure the metal blade has partially corroded. But despite years out in the open, splinters of wood can still be observed around the handle.

Read the rest of this article...

Tenth century Viking sword discovered in Iceland


A few friends hunting for geese accidentally discovered an impressive Viking sword this weekend which they handed over to the Cultural Heritage Centre of Iceland. 

The sword was found in Hrífunes, South Iceland. 

Only 20 such swords have been found in Iceland and this one is in a very good condition. 

Experts believe it dates from between 900 - 1000 AD and that it was placed in a pagan grave. 

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Mighty Viking Ax Discovered in Tomb of Medieval 'Power Couple'


One of the largest Dane axes ever found, recovered by archaeologists from a 10th-century Viking tomb near Silkeborg in central Denmark.
Credit: Silkeborg Museum

Archaeologists have discovered one of the largest Viking axes ever found, in the tomb of a 10th-century "power couple" in Denmark.
Kirsten Nellemann Nielsen, an archaeologist at the Silkeborg Museum who is leading excavations at the site near the town of Haarup, said Danish axes like the one found in the tomb were the most feared weapons of the Viking Age.
"It's a bit extraordinary — it's much bigger and heavier than the other axes. It would have had a very long handle, and it took both hands to use it," Nielsen told Live Science. [See Photos of the 10th-Century Viking Tomb]
The simplicity of the mighty ax, without any decorations or inscriptions, suggests this fearsome weapon was not just for show. "It's not very luxurious," she said.  
Read the rest of this article...