There was no greater honor for a Viking than to die in battle, beginning a journey from the flat Earth up toward Valhalla, where an eternal feast awaited. “They can have a fight and party every day,” Knut Paasche, a period archaeologist said, “and then the next day, do it again.”
But they needed a vessel to get there. Chieftains and kings, laid to rest in long ships with swords and jewels, were buried in earthen mounds signifying their stature, Paasche said. The larger the ship and mound, the more important the burial.
Archaeologists using ground-penetrating radar found a big mound carved into a western Norwegian island — along with the remains of a “huge” ship as long as 55 feet, Paasche told The Washington Post, in a discovery that may tell new tales about how the ships evolved to become fearsome and agile vessels more than 1,000 years ago
The Viking Age, from the late-eighth century to the 11th century, produced pioneering explorers such as Erik the Red, who founded Greenland’s first Norse settlement, along with powerful kings such as Cnut the Great, who ruled a vast empire in northern Europe.
The six Norsemen listed in the article are as follows:
I have internal links on my site in the list above to more info on Cnut the Great and Harald Hardrada as I have researched them a bit more since they were around the time of the Norman Conquest of England. Most of my focus over the years of independent study has been during that period of English/French/Norse history.
A thousand years after the Vikings braved the icy seas from Greenland to the New World in search of timber and plunder, satellite technology has found intriguing evidence of a long-elusive prize in archaeology — a second Norse settlement in North America, further south than ever known.
From the Archaeology News Network:
Their exploits are more linked to the Northern Isles and the west coast of Scotland, with monastries raided, islanders murdered and gold and silver plundered. But new research – and a clutch of archaeological finds – has now suggested that the North East may not have escaped the fury of the Norsemen after all.
Academics at Aberdeen University have been working to fill the “blank space” of Viking activity in Aberdeenshire and Moray, with written history barely touching on the area so far. Using finds recorded through the Treasure Trove system and the input a team of metal detectors in the North East, a picture of possible Viking activity in the old Pictish Kingdom of Fortriu during the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries is now emerging.
From Fox News:
Goran Olsen was enjoying a leisurely hike recently in Norway when he stopped near the fishing village of Haukeli, about 150 miles west of Oslo. Under some rocks along a well-traversed path, he made a discovery that’s now the envy of every detectorist in Scandinavia: a 30-inch wrought-iron Viking sword, estimated to be about 1,200 years old.
Read the full article.
From the Jorvik Viking Center. A collection of quick, historical articles detailing the lives of the Norsemen. Subjects cover:
- Who were the Vikings?
- Where did they come from?
- What did they look like?
- How did they live?
- What happened to them?
- Place names
Excerpt from “Who were the Vikings?”
Often the name Viking conjures images of brutes and barbarians, but the truth is a little different.
Vikings were warriors. More precisely ‘Viking’ is the name by which the Scandinavian sea-borne raiders of the early medieval period are now commonly known.
Even before the earliest Viking raids on the monasteries, the Anglo-Saxons used an Old English word ‘wicing‘. But this was not a word that they used often or exclusively for the Scandinavian raiders; instead it was used for all-comers and meant ‘pirate’ or ‘piracy’.
From Live Science:
The Viking Age may not have started with the plundering of England, but with the peaceful trading of handcrafted combs made out of reindeer antlers, a new study suggests.
Until now, researchers thought the Viking Age began in June 793, when Norwegian Vikings raided Lindisfarne, an island off the northeast coast of England. But new research suggests Vikings were traveling from Norway to Ribe, one of Scandinavia’s earliest towns and a lively trading center on the west coast of Denmark, as early as 725, the researchers said.
Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga
by William W. Fitzhugh
The story of the Viking expansion west across the North Atlantic between AD. 800 and 1000, the settlement of Iceland and Greenland, and the exploration of northeastern North America, is a chapter of history that deserves to be more widely known. Norse discoveries in the North Atlantic are the first step in the process whereby human populations became connected into a single global system. The Norse, and their Viking ancestors, are little known, misunderstood, and almost invisible on the American landscape. Although Norse voyages were known since the early 1800’s, the near absence of physical evidence of Vikings in the New World has rendered the information, and the possibility that Norse explorers reached the North American mainland five hundred years before Columbus, speculative, at best. Yet, discovery of a Viking site in Newfoundland in 1960 confirmed a pre-Columbian European presence in the Americas, and Norse artifacts found in archaeological sites scattered throughout the eastern Canadian arctic and sub-arctic, raise the issue of how far south of Newfoundland the Norse did explore, and what impact their contacts had on Native Americans.
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