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Mighty Viking Ax Discovered in Tomb of Medieval 'Power Couple'   Live Science - July 21, 2016

Archaeologists have discovered one of the largest Viking axes ever found, in the tomb of a 10th-century "power couple" in Denmark. Kirsten Nellemann Nielsen, an archaeologist at the Silkeborg Museum who is leading excavations at the site near the town of Haarup, said Danish axes like the one found in the tomb were the most feared weapons of the Viking Age. It's a bit extraordinary - it's much bigger and heavier than the other axes. It would have had a very long handle, and it took both hands to use it.




Viking Women Colonized New Lands, Too   Live Science - December 8, 2014

Vikings may have been family men who traveled with their wives to new lands, according to a new study of ancient Viking DNA. Maternal DNA from ancient Norsemen closely matches that of modern-day people in the North Atlantic isles, particularly from the Orkney and Shetland Islands. The findings suggest that both Viking men and women sailed on the ships to colonize new lands. The new study also challenges the popular conception of Vikings as glorified hoodlums with impressive seafaring skills.




Did the Vikings Get a Bum Rap?   National Geographic - September 26, 2014

The Vikings gave no quarter when they stormed the city of Nantes, in what is now western France, in June 843 - not even to the monks barricaded in the city's cathedral. "The heathens mowed down the entire multitude of priest, clerics, and laity," according to one witness account. Among the slain, allegedly killed while celebrating the Mass, was a bishop who later was granted sainthood. When the account of the Nantes attack is scrutinized a more reasonable image emerges.




Found, the Viking war lord buried in his boat: 1,000-year-old tomb of Norse invader and weapons of war   Mail Online - October 19, 2011

Judging from the opulence of his tomb, he was a revered Viking warrior destined to take his place in Valhalla among the honored dead. Laid to rest in a 17ft boat with his sword, axe and bronze drinking horn, the powerful Norseman’s burial site has been discovered by archaeologists in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands. The grave, unearthed in Ardnamurchan, is the first of its kind to be found intact on the British mainland and is thought to date from 1,000AD – the height of the ‘Second Viking Age’.




"Thor's Hammer" Found in Viking Graves   National Geographic - August 11, 2010

Norse warriors saw "thunderstones" as protection against lightning. Long dismissed as accidental additions to Viking graves, prehistoric "thunderstones" - fist-size stone tools resembling the Norse god Thor's hammerhead were actually purposely placed as good-luck talismans, archaeologists say.




51 Headless Vikings Found in English Execution Pit?   National Geographic - July 28, 2009
Naked, beheaded, and tangled, the bodies of 51 young men - their heads stacked neatly to the side - have been found in a thousand-year-old pit in southern England, according to carbon-dating results released earlier this month. The mass burial took place at a time when the English were battling Viking invaders, say archaeologists who are now trying to verify the identity of the slain.




Authentic Viking DNA Retrieved From 1,000-year-old Skeletons   Science Daily - May 28, 2008
Although "Viking" literally means "pirate," recent research has indicated that the Vikings were also traders to the fishmongers of Europe. Stereotypically, these Norsemen are usually pictured wearing a horned helmet but in a new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen, investigated what went under the helmet; the scientists extracted authentic DNA from ancient Viking skeletons, avoiding many of the problems of contamination faced by past researchers.




"Sagas" Portray Iceland's Viking History   National Geographic - May 7, 2004
Filled with larger-than-life heroes and epic battles, they may be the most accessible of all medieval literature and a source of inspiration to classic authors like J.R.R. Tolkien. Yet many people have never heard of the Icelandic sagas. Written by unknown authors in Iceland in the 13th and 14th centuries, the sagas contain 40 narratives, describing the life of Icelanders in the Viking age immediately before and after the year 1000. This was a time when they abandoned ancient gods and adopted Christianity.The early Icelanders also traveled westwards, culminating in what many believe is the true first voyage by a European to North America: Leif Eiriksson's expedition, described in the sagas as having taken place a thousand years ago.Although the Vikings themselves did not write the Icelandic sagas - the stories were constructed centuries after the end of the Viking age - the sagas may provide the most detailed accounts of Viking life. Today the sagas are part of Iceland's daily consciousness, and they are celebrated both for their historical record and their narrative artistry.




Vikings' Barbaric Bad Rap Beginning to Fade   National Geographic - February 17, 2004

It is no wonder that the Vikings have a reputation for mindless savagery. Since the Vikings were unable to write, much of their history was recorded by British and French clergy - the very people who fell victim to the Viking raids. But were the Vikings merely primitive plunderers? Far from it, say scholars. Using archaeological and other evidence, researchers have in recent years been piecing together a more complex picture of the Vikings that sharply contradicts the stereotype of the Vikings as mere barbarians. "The Norsemen were not just warriors, they were farmers, artists, shipbuilders, and innovators," said Ingmar Jansson, a professor of archaeology at Stockholm University in Sweden. "More than anything, they were excellent traders who connected peoples from Baghdad to Scandinavia to the mainland of North America."





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