The Vikings, their worms, and the diseases they got

Photo by Charles Starrett / Flickr

The Vikings and people of the Norse world would have been predisposed to emphysema and other lung conditions, according to a paper published last week in Nature: Scientific Reports.

Berserkir: a re-examination of the phenomenon in literature and life

Iron helmet from a Vendel era (550-793 AD) boat grave in Vendel, Uppland, Sweden. Displayed at the Museum of History in Stockholm. Photo by Mararie  / Wikimedia Commons

This thesis discusses whether berserkir really went berserk.

Berserk for berserkir: Introducing Combat Trauma to the
 Compendium of Theories on the Norse Berserker

Photo by Jakub T. Jankiewicz / Flickr

This thesis attempts to provide a brief overview of major pieces of the English-language scholarship concerning the Norse berserker. It tries to demonstrate consistent flaws in scholarly treatment and the hollow nature of many major theories and attitudes.

The Viking Coloring Book – Kickstarter project gets funding

Image from the Viking Coloring Book project - courtesy Dayanna Knight

It took only three days for Dayanna Knight’s idea of creating a Viking Coloring Book to reach its funding goal of $3000 on Kickstarter.

Excavating Past Population Structures by Surname-Based Sampling: The Genetic Legacy of the Vikings in Northwest England

medieval studies england

The method of historical surname-based ascertainment promises to allow investigation of the influence of migration and drift over the last few centuries in changing the population structure of Britain and will have general utility in other regions where surnames are patrilineal and suitable historical records survive.

Danish ferocity and abandoned monasteries: the twelfth-century view

Ruins of Lindisfarne - photo by _The Real McCoy /Flickr

Apart from brief accounts of attacks on Lindisfarne and Donemutha in the 790s, there are almost no accounts of Viking attacks on Anglo-Saxon monasteries in contemporary sources. There are however many in twelfth century sources, most of them fictive or largely so. This article tries to explain why twelfth-century authors found it so important to invent stories of Viking brutality towards monks and nuns and what ideas and material they used to create their stories

The Christmas Eve massacre of 986

Iona Abbey - photo by dun_deagh / Flickr

For the year 986, the Annals of Ulster records, ‘Iona was plundered by Danes on Christmas Eve, and they killed the abbot and fifteen men of the seniors of the church.’ What more can we learn about this attack and why it happened?

Women in Viking-Age Scandinavia, or, who were the ‘shieldmaidens’?

The Viking shieldmaiden Lagertha, depicted in The Northmen in Britain (1913) by Eleanor Means Hull

I will address two questions: a) how are we to interpret the descriptions of these war-like women in the past, and b) does the contrast between active pagan and passive Christian women reflect real changes?

The Snake Motif in Viking Art: 10­th – 12th Centuries

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A guest post by Armstreet on Snake motifs in 10-12th century Viking art

Did People Ice Skate in the Middle Ages?

Medieval ice skates made of bone on display at the Museum of London. Photo by Steven G. Johnson, Wikipedia.

How did medieval people pass the time during the coldest part of the year? I came across several instances of medieval people strapping on skates and taking a twirl (or a tumble!) on the ice. Here is how it all began!

The Wolf-Warrior: Animal Symbolism on Weaponry of the 6th and 7th centuries

Beserkers - Vendel era bronze plate found on Öland, Sweden.

Decorative art in Scandinavia during the late Iron Age and Viking Period was largely dominated by animals in stylized forms.

Power and Politics at the time of King Harald Bluetooth, Denmark

Runeside of Harald Bluetooth's great Jelling stone at the church in Jelling, Denmark - Photo by  Jürgen Howaldt

He was the Harald that won for himself all of Denmark and Norway and made pagans Christian, and that is fairly easy to read, but what did he exactly say? What does it meant when he says he won for himself all of Denmark?

Historical Re-enactments: The Production and Design of Viking Festival Experiences

Viking and Slavic Festival in Volin - photo by Jakub T. Jankiewicz / Flickr

The main idea behind this study is to look into Viking festivals’ contents, characteristics and its concept development. Together with that we test out the Experience design model effectiveness for using in the event studies. I

From Raiders to Traders: The Viking-Arab Trade Exchange

Viking-Age silver coins discovered in Scandinavia - photo by Leroy Andersen / Flickr

In their quest for silver, the Vikings discovered and accessed valuable trade routes to Constantinople that led to an extensive trade exchange with the Arab world. Seizing upon the opportunity to enrich themselves, the Vikings came into contact with Arabic wealth and treasures through their raids, and soon realized the potential of a peaceful trade exchange.

The Use of the Lead and Line by Early Navigators in the North Sea?

Viking ship depicted in Nordische Fahrten. Skizzen  und Studien (1889)

This paper draws attention to the lack of information as to how early North Sea sailors navigated, particularly during the one thousand year period that followed Roman times.

The Making of a Legend: The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok and the TV series ‘Vikings’

Ragnar Lothbrok Vikings

Thus neither The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok nor ‘Vikings’ are immediately recognisable as straight works of history, although they both have certain strongly historical elements to their content.

Medieval Books: 5 Great New Releases!

Book - 24 Hours at Agincourt

Black Friday is around the corner – here are a few books that have just been released!

What Viking Weapon Would You Wield?

Viking sword - photo by Åge Hojem, NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet  / Wikimedia Commons

Use this quiz to find out what Viking Weapon you would wield in combat!

Understanding Torksey, Lincolnshire: A geoarchaeological and landscape approach to a Viking overwintering camp

Created by Robin Boulby / Wikimedia Commons

Viking overwintering camps of late 9th century England have been excluded from most recent dialogues regarding Viking Age England. Although overwintering camps are directly mentioned in historical records such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, these sites have remained archaeologically elusive.

The Top 10 Viking Movies

Top 10 Viking Movies

YouTuber Listy McGee has created his list of the Top 10 Viking Movies

The Vikings and clothing accessories they brought home

Mounting from a reliquary, produced in Northumbria in the 8th century. The mounting have been modified and was used as a brooch. It was found in a woman's grave from the second part of the 9th century, in Buskerud, Norway - Photo courtesy University of Oslo Museum of Cultural History

New study on the use of imported objects in Viking Age Scandinavia

Rollo, Viking Count of Normandy

Statue of Rollo in Falaise - photo by Michael Shea

n recounting what is known of Viking history and the sagas which were written about in the Middle Ages, Clements tells the story of Hrolf the Walker, otherwise known as Rollo or Rolf.

The Scale of Slave Raiding and the Slave Trade in Northumbria and Ireland, 7th-11th Centuries

15th century map British Isles - Photo: Brooklyn Museum

Slave raiding and the slave trade in early medieval Northumbria and Ireland were transcultural and inter-regional processes, involving the enslavement and transportation of people across permeable borders.

Reflections on Our Fascination with Vikings and What It Tells Us about How We Engage with the Past

A Viking Sword that has been heated and bent before being included in a burial. It is believed that the sword may have been symbolically killed. Photo by Astrid Westvang / Flickr

What drives our fascination with these people who lived so long ago, about whom we know relatively little and yet who my students see very clearly and definitively?

Visual material evidence of Viking presence in the Balkans

The First lion standing at the left side of the Door land the Arsenal of Venice is ancient Greek sculpture, originally at the Piraeus in Athens, brought to Venice by Francesco Morosini, who conquered the Peloponnesus. Photo by Didier Descouens / Wikipedia

The Swedish Vikings, who are known as ‘Varangians’ mostly in Byzantine sources, were present in the Balkans. They first carried out their military and trading campaigns from Scandinavia to the territories of European Russia, Ukraine and reached the Balkans.

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