Monday, 4 November 2013


Detail of the silk textiles from the Persian region that were found in the Oseberg ship. 
Photo: KHM-UiO

The silk trade was far more comprehensive than we have hitherto assumed and recent research may change our perceptions of the history of the Norwegian Vikings.

After four years of in-depth investigation of the silk trade of the Viking Age, Marianne Vedeler, Associate Professor at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo has found that the Norwegian Vikings maintained trade connections with Persia and the Byzantine Empire through a network of traders from a variety of places and cultures who brought the silk to the Nordic countries.

One hundred small silk fragments

In the Oseberg ship, which was excavated nearly a hundred years ago, more than one hundred small silk fragments were found. This is the oldest find of Viking Age silk in Norway. At the time when the Oseberg silk was discovered, nobody conceived that it could have been imported from Persia. It was generally believed that most of it had been looted from churches and monasteries in England and Ireland.
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