Friday 29 February 2008

PHOTO IN THE NEWS: Viking Women Wore "Sexy" Outfits

Call it the Viking version of a low-cut top.

A modern reconstruction of a Norse outfit (worn above by textile researcher Annika Larsson of Uppsala University in Sweden) is a single piece of fabric held in place by clasps that sit on the middle of each breast.

Such a provocative outfit was probably common among Viking women before Christianity took hold in Scandinavia, Larsson said in a statement. She recently analyzed ancient textiles from the Lake Mälaren Valley, which was inhabited during the "Viking Age," from about A.D. 750 to 1050.

A mélange of Nordic and Oriental flair, the clothing "was designed to be shown off indoors around the fire," she said.

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Thursday 28 February 2008

Fashion counted for some Vikings, researcher says

Vikings were much snappier dressers than thought, according to new evidence unearthed by a Swedish researcher.

The men were especially vain while the women dressed provocatively, adorning themselves in vivid colors, silk ribbons and glittering bits of mirrors, said Annika Larsson, a textile researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden.

"They combined oriental features with Nordic styles," she said in a statement. "Their clothing was designed to be shown off indoors around the fire."

The findings are based on the Swedish Vikings who traveled east into what is now Russia rather than the Danish or Norwegian Vikings who went west.

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Tuesday 26 February 2008

Vikings did not dress the way we thought

Vivid colors, flowing silk ribbons, and glittering bits of mirrors - the Vikings dressed with considerably more panache than we previously thought. The men were especially vain, and the women dressed provocatively, but with the advent of Christianity, fashions changed, according to Swedish archeologist Annika Larsson.

"They combined oriental features with Nordic styles. Their clothing was designed to be shown off indoors around the fire," says textile researcher Annika Larsson, whose research at Uppsala University presents a new picture of the Viking Age.

She has studied textile finds from the Lake Malaren Valley, the area that includes Stockholm and Uppsala and was one of the central regions in Scandinavia during the Viking Age. The findings, some of which were presented in her dissertation last year, show that what we call the Viking Age, the years from 750-1050 A.D., was not a uniform period.

Through changes in the style of clothing we can see that medieval Christian fashions hit Sweden as early as the late 900s and that new trade routes came into use then as well. The oriental features in clothing disappeared when Christianity came and they started to trade with the Christian Byzantine and Western Europe.

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Sunday 24 February 2008

Chessmen keepers reveal fear of 'Gallic hotheads'

STORNOWAY and Paris are normally difficult to confuse, but a spelling gaffe in a British Museum memo managed to mix the Gaels and the Gauls.

A document which suggested "Gallic hotheads" might seize the Lewis chessmen has come to light, much to the bemusement of islanders who have in turn accused museum officials of "ignorance".

The museum has claimed the reference is nothing more than a "spelling error".

But the gaffe has been seized on by locals who believe that metropolitan prejudice shows why the chessmen should be "repatriated".

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Saturday 16 February 2008

Get your hands on Viking relics

RESIDENTS have the chance to find out how Vikings spent their free time when a city centre excavation site opens its doors.

As part of the Jorvik Viking Festival, York Archaeological Trust is offering public access to the Hungate excavation site, just off Stonebow, today and tomorrow.

The open days are free and everyone has the chance to examine artefacts dug up at the site which include 1,200-year-old Viking ice-skates made from bone.

It will show Roman, medieval and Viking finds, which reveal how people lived in the area.

Experts will be on hand to answer any questions.

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Friday 15 February 2008

Viking centre leader honoured by city

AN ARCHAEOLOGIST has been honoured in recognition of his dedicated work in the city.

Dr Peter Addyman, the former Director of York Archaeological Trust, officially collected the title of Honorary Freeman at a ceremony the Mansion House on Wednesday 13 February.

The honour is given to those who have served the city with distinction, or those with very notable links to the city.

The recommendation was put to the council by the Guild of Freemen of the city of York, nominated at a meeting of the council by Coun Stephen Galloway and seconded by the deputy leader of the council Coun David Scott.

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Wednesday 13 February 2008

Sea Stallion from Glendalough

Newsletter 24. issue - February the 13th, 2008

The Sea Stallion’s new crew selected

Sea Stallion not sailing to London

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Tuesday 12 February 2008

Viking women had sexy style

Women who lived in the major Viking settlement called Birka in the 9th and 10th centuries dressed in a much more provocative manner than previously believed.

When the area around Lake Mälaren was Christianized about a century later, women’s dress style became more modest, according to archaeologist Annika Larsson.

Previously, it was thought that Viking ladies wore a long garment held up by braces, made of square pieces of wool whose front and back sides were contained with a belt. The characteristic decorative circular buckles, a common find at many Viking-era grave sites, were believed to have been worn at the collarbone.

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Sunday 10 February 2008

Unravelling the Northwest's Viking past

The blood of the Vikings is still coursing through the veins of men living in the North West of England — according to a new study which has been just published.

Focusing on the Wirral in Merseyside and West Lancashire the study of 100 men, whose surnames were in existence as far back as medieval times, has revealed that 50 per cent of their DNA is specifically linked to Scandinavian ancestry.

The collaborative study, by The University of Nottingham, the University of Leicester and University College London, reveals that the population in parts of northwest England carries up to 50 per cent male Norse origins, about the same as modern Orkney.

The 14-strong research team, funded by the Wellcome Trust and a prestigious Watson-Crick DNA anniversary award from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), was led by the University of Nottingham’s Professor Stephen Harding and Professor Judith Jesch and the University of Leicester’s Professor Mark Jobling.

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You can read the research article here...

Monday 4 February 2008


Archaeologists have discovered a cemetery dating back 1,500 years at the site of a new school near Doncaster.

The exciting find, which consists of 35 burials, was made by a team from the Archaeological Research and Consultancy at the University of Sheffield (ARCUS) prior to the construction of the new North Ridge Special School in Adwick le Street.

“It is not every day that we find something as interesting as this,” said Richard O’Neill, ARCUS Project Manager. “Builders often ask us ‘have you found any old bones?’ This time we can say ‘Yes!’”

Investigations have shown that the remains date from between the 5th and 9th centuries, when the area was occupied by Saxons and Vikings. The burials are thought to be pre-Christian because of their south-west to north-east orientation.

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Sunday 3 February 2008

Discovery Rewrites Viking history

The discovery of two massive Viking halls in Borre in Vestfold County gives archeologists reason to reassess the distribution of power in Viking Norway.

Vestfold County archeologists presented finds on Wednesday that show there are two great hall buildings underneath the ground about 100 meters from the major burial mounds at Borre.

The Borre mounds are the largest grouping of monumental burial mounds from the late Iron Age, between 560-1050 AD. There are seven large burial mounds at Borre, and over 30 smaller mounds, all have been opened or plundered.

One of the halls is believed to be up to 40 meters (131 feet) long and 12 to 13 meters (39-42 feet) high, the largest found in Vestfold.

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(This dates to 5 December 2007, but I have only just seen the article)