Monday, 10 September 2012

Forget Crimewatch – the Vikings were there first

We think of Vikings as highly aggressive raiders who ravished Europe in the Early Middle Ages but how could these men be controlled when they returned to their homeland after plundering other countries?

A researcher from the University of Aberdeen, who presented today at the British Science Festival, suggested this is a problem Viking societies themselves were deeply concerned about – so much so that they took on the role of early criminal profilers – drafting descriptions of the most likely trouble-makers.

Dr Tarrin Wills, from the Centre for Scandinavian Studies, has examined early Icelandic literature and discovered that its authors pinpointed physical characteristics of high testosterone levels – known to cause violent behaviour – creating some of the earliest ‘criminal mugshots’.

Dr Wills, whose work is published in Viking and Medieval Scandinavia began investigating the link between Viking behaviour and levels of testosterone after reading an article about hormones and city traders.