Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Instead of PG Love, I Give You VIKINGS

Maybe I am a loser for not participating, or at least a killjoy, but my vacation from writing got right in the way of this blogfest participation (because we all know I'm a wait-until-the-last-minute kind of person. Oh, or maybe we don't all know! But you do now!).

However, I'd like to point out an awesomely interesting link that I stumbled across via Aardvarchaeology. I tweeted it, but I think it definitely deserves it's own post, because it is a really cool find.

An old mass grave, previously dated wrongly as Roman has been determined to be Viking instead! I don't know if it's interesting to you, but I thought it was fascinating that this so-called raiding party was made up mostly of young men and older teens. Maybe it's romantic of me, but I always pictured Viking raiders to be a bit longer in the tooth-- older grizzled men, with years of raiding under their belts.

Of course, then we have the story of Leif Ericson, who managed to get a ship of his own in his thirties, and go out a-wandering. So maybe it isn't all that odd that the older men had established homes and lands for themselves and left the raiding to the younger and more impetuous, or a few men in their 30s got together to lead a group of younger men. That being said, Leif Ericson only seemed to live about 50 years, as did his father (Eric the Red) before him, so it isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility that twenty-something was middle aged, which would make the younger raiders much less odd. It also begs the question, how young did they start boys raiding and pillaging? I need to do more reading...

A mass grave of vikings strikes me as unusual altogether, though. Generally speaking, I was under the impression that raiding worked out, on the whole, quite positively for the vikings engaging in it. Positively enough to be a staple of the culture, at least, and if they were losing 50 men to raids with frequency, that would have thinned out their ranks, and perhaps made people less interested in going off on that kind of adventure.

If reading the Saga of the Volsungs has taught me one thing though, it is that the Viking culture of reputation, honor, and glory, is not one which I can easily wrap my mind around, and what I think is a reasonable response has nothing to do with what the Old Norse people would have said or done. So take my conjecture here only as food for thought. When I have a better understanding, perhaps I'll revisit the topic.

In the meantime, I'll be anxiously waiting to hear if these 51 vikings are related to some historic event!

And don't forget that Drunk At First Sight is coming tomorrow!


  1. I missed that archaeological discovery- super cool! I've always pictured Vikings as grizzled old dudes too, but maybe not so much. I recall reading a few romance novels about them. I think.

  2. I've never read a Viking romance novel, if you think of any good ones let me know :P

  3. I wonder if it's like high school all over again. Er... Or way back when. The vikings picked their teams and that would leave one group less skilled than the rest.

    Okay, that wouldn't make sense either. Who knows! It is definitely interesting though. Romance is fun sometimes, but I kind of liked the trade-off. Very interesting post!

  4. Nisa: Haha!! The raiding party of lame fighters? lol. That's kind of awesome. Glad you liked this post!

  5. On the other hand, I'm sure that at least one of the viking raiding parties suffered a devastating defeat. Perhaps utter destruction. It could have been an isolated incident where one group attacked when a force of soldiers was nearby, or were sick, or any number of things like that.

    On the other hand, I always see a group of thirty vikings in my mind's eye. They unload from their boat and sack cities with a garrison of thousands in a matter of minutes, suffering no permanent losses.

  6. Clearly one of them DID suffer devastation! And now we have the evidence of it! Which is pretty interesting. I mean, it's sad that they were all killed, but an interesting look at the crew/make-up of the party. It's a pity that they were stripped before they were buried, though.


Comments are Love!

(Nota Bene: During #NAMEthatBUTT season, all comments are moderated and your guesses are hidden until after the butt is revealed!)