Vikings needed women!

New research may show that the Viking raids of the 8th through 11th centuries may have been triggered by a shortage of marriageable women, possibly brought on by the Norsemen themselves.

James Barrett, deputy director of Cambridge University's McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, believes that the problem may have begun with the practice of killing newborn females. "Selective female infanticide was recorded as part of pagan Scandinavian practice in later medieval sources, such as the Icelandic sagas," said Barrett.