Scandanavian

Govan stone: Viking treasures in Scotland

The Scottish town of Govan, near Glascow, has long been known for its shipbuilding, but lying in a churchyard are some of its lesser-known masterpieces: a collection of 31 recumbant stones carved with classic Viking patterns. The stones, including five massive "hogbacks," dating from the 9th century. (photos)

Jotunvillur code cracked

The ancient Norse 'jotunvillur' code, dating back to the 12th or 13th century, has been cracked by Norwegian runologist  K Jonas Nordby of the University of Oslo. The key was an unassuming wooden stick, found at the the Bergen Wharf in Norway and covered with runes. (photo)

"Staggering find" links British Isles and Norway

Curator Barry Ager of the British Museum discovered a rare Viking artifact lately in an unexpected place: the storeroom of the British Museum. The ornate, gilded brooch, spotted by Ager "in a lump of organic material excavated from a Viking burial site at Lilleberge in Norway," turned out to be a rare piece of jewelry. (photo)

Raising a horn with the Vikings

For centuries, the Norse used animal horns as drinking vessels, many of which had decorative metal terminals and mounts. Proof of this has been found in grave sites, although the actual horns have long decayed. A new book by Vivian Etting entitled The Story of the Drinking Horn – Drinking Culture in Scandinavia during the Middle Ages tells the long story of the custom. (photos)

Sweyn Forkbeard, the "murderous" King of England

Sweyn Forkbeard, England's shortest-reigning monarch, is mostly forgotten today, due mainly to his short time as king (less than five years) and his "murderous character." Sweyn declared himself King of England on Christmas Day 1013 and established Gainsborough as his capital.

"Organic lump" holds rare Celtic brooch

In 1891, the British Museum acquired a lump of organic material found at a Viking burial site in Lilleberge, Norway. The material had metal pieces in it, but no one took the time to examine it further - until recently when Curator Barry Ager took a second look and ordered the material x-rayed. (photo)

#Beow100

College students forced to read Beowulf be heartened! Welsh medievalist, Elaine Treharne, has brought social media to medieval Scandinavia with Beowulf in a Hundred Tweets. The work is available on her blog Text Technologies.

Multi-period grave swords puzzle experts

Archaeologists working at the site of a 12th century crusader grave in Hyvikkälä, Janakkala, Finland were puzzled to find the remins buried with two swords from different historical periods.

"How we have heard of the might of the kings"

The Old English poem Beowulf has been the subject of many translations over the centuries, especially the first word hwæt. Now Dr George Walkden, a University of Manchester lecturer, believes he knows what the poem's first line really says.

Eggshells and pipes highlight 16th century Swedish kitchen

Swedish archaeologists were recently given the rare opportunity to excavate a portion of the Södermalmstorg area in Stockholm. The excavation revealed a complete 16th century kitchen, including intricately-carved tobacco pipes and an unexplained pile of eggshells. (photos)

Viking trade connected with Persian and Byzantine Empires

A new study by Marianne Vedeler, Associate Professor at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, shows that Norwegian Vikings enjoyed a brisk silk trade with the Persian and Byzantine Empires. The study was based partially on silk fragments found In an Oseberg ship. (photo)

16th century blacksmith shop found in Norway

The discovery of an old forge, an iron arrowhead and utensils has led archaeologists to believe that they had found an area used by blacksmiths dating to the 1500s. The site was unearthed under Klosterenga in Oslo, Norway.

Wooden pillars puzzle experts in Old Uppsala

Archaeologists working on the site of a railway line in Old Uppsala, Sweden are trying to puzzle out the purpose of two rows of large wooden pillars near a 5th century pre-Viking burial ground and religious center. (photos)

Whitewashing showed high Viking status

The discovery of a lime kiln near the Viking royal hall at Tissø has led archaeologists to believe that high status Nords whitewashed their walls. The 9th century kiln is Denmark’s oldest known lime burning oven. (photo)

Archaeologists ponder Swedish "murder mystery"

"It's like Pompeii: Something terrible happened, and everything just stopped," said Helene Wilhelmson, a researcher from Sweden's Lund University about the recent discovery of a well-preserved fort on the island of Öland, just off the Swedish coast, which contained a number of skeletons.

Mathematics used to measure sociability of the Vikings

Pádraig Mac Carron and Ralph Kenna from Coventry University's Applied Mathematics Research Centre recently published an article in the European Physical Journal on the social relationships of Vikings, showing them to have more complex social networks than previously believed.

"Secrets of the Viking Sword" available online

In case you missed the presentation of PBS' Nova: Secrets of the Viking Sword, the program is available to view on the PBS website.

Weights important tool in Viking trade

Much of the trade during the Viking Age was international in nature, leading merchants to depend on the balance weight scale and its weights as an important tool. In Ireland, these weights were often made of small, decorative items, apparently broken off of larger objects, usually from churches or monasteries.

Were headless skeletons slaves of Vikings?

In the 1980s, a number of graves were discovered on an island in the Norwegian Sea, some without their heads. New research may show that the headless burials were slaves to their dead Viking masters.

"The greatest hall under heaven" unearthed in Denmark

Much of the action in the epic poem Beowulf takes place in the great hall. Now archaeologists in Denmark believe they have discovered the great royal feasting hall described in the poem as "the greatest hall under heaven."

Soil samples help analysize death of Danish child

Analysis of soil samples has revealed the suffering of a 13th century Danish child in the days before his death, according to chemist Kaare Lund Rasmussen from University of Southern Denmark. The 10-13 year-old child from Ribe had been treated with mercury, causing great suffering.

"Spectacular" Viking jewelry puzzles experts

Archaeologists working with volunteers have discovered several spectacular pieces of Viking-made jewelry on a farm in Zealand, the largest island in Denmark. The finds include a "heart-shaped animal head with rounded ears and circular eyes," and a "central wheel cross in relief, with inlaid gold pressed into a waffle form." (photo)

Arabs slam Vikings in historic texts

"They are the filthiest of all Allah’s creatures: they do not purify themselves after excreting or urinating or wash themselves when in a state of ritual impurity after coitus and do not even wash their hands after food," wrote Arab writer Ahmad ibn Fadlan about his encounter with Vikings in areas around the Caspian Sea and the Volga River.

Viking sword from Isle of Man on display

Showcased at the ongoing Heroes exhibition at the Jorvik Viking Centre in York are the fragments of a highly-decorated Viking sword, discovered in 2008 by metal detector enthusiasts Rob Farrer and Daniel Crowe on the Isle of Man. The sword dates to the 10th century. (photo)

Boat burials might help solve mystery of Viking trading center

To most historians, Steinkjer was just a name mentioned in the Norse Sagas, but new evidence discovered in two boat graves in Lø, Norway, may have solved the puzzle of the mysterious trading center.

Viking Shield: Viking Age replicas and gifts.

Viking Shield specializes in all your Viking needs. They offer a full range of weapons, clothing, armor, jewellry, games, feasting gear, and art.

Vikings "stole by the armload"

Sometimes Vikings are just Vikings. Studies of jewelry created by Viking artists show that objects gold and jewels used in the objects originated in the churches and monasteries of Ireland. Now Dr Griffin Murray of the Department of Archaeology at UCC asks that Irish loot be returned - in the form of a temporary exhibition.

Viking Veggies

Fans of Veggietales - or Vikings in general - will enjoy a look at the video We Married Vikings from Lyle the Kindly Viking. The short video is available on YouTube.

Early Christian grave found in Iceland

Archeologist Margrét Hallmundsdóttir believes that a skeleton discovered in 2012 in Hrafnseyri, Iceland, dates to around 1000 CE, the year of the country's conversion to Christianity. The grave was found in the vicinity of a church, dating to the same time period.

Viking and NASA collaboration stirs controversy

Ved Chirayath, an aeronautics graduate student at Stanford University, was looking for an unusual photo shoot when he connected NASA's Ames Research Center with a local group of Viking re-enactors. The results were amazing photos... and an investigation by a member of the United States Senate.