An ancient Norse code which has been puzzling experts for years has been cracked by a Norwegian runologist - to discover the Viking equivalent of playful text messages.
The mysterious jötunvillur code, which dates to 12th or 13th-century Scandinavia, has been unravelled by K Jonas Nordby from the University of Oslo, after he studied a 13th-century stick on which two men, Sigurd and Lavrans, had carved their name in both code and in standard runes. The jötunvillur code is found on only nine inscriptions, from different parts of Scandinavia, and has never been interpreted before.
"The thing that solved it for me was seeing these two old Norse names, Sigurd and Lavrans, and after each of them was this combination of runes which made no sense," said Nordby, who is writing his doctorate on cryptography in runic inscriptions from the Viking Age and the Scandinavian Middle Ages. Read more.
THE public have been given their first chance to see a fabulous treasure hoard unearthed from a North Yorkshire field.
The gold and silver objects were put on show at the Yorkshire Museum in York as fund-raising began to save the artefacts from being snapped up by the highest bidder.
Found in a field near Bedale in May 2012 the long-lost treasure would once have been a wealthy Viking’s life savings and are worth more than £50,000.
And the museum is now in a race against time to raise enough to buy the nationally-significant find before March and save it for the county. Read more.
On Christmas Day 1013, Danish ruler Sweyn Forkbeard was declared King of all England and the town of Gainsborough its capital. But why is so little known of the man who would be England’s shortest-reigning king and the role he played in shaping the early history of the nation?
For 20 years, Sweyn, a “murderous character” who deposed his father Harold Bluetooth, waged war on England.
And exactly 1,000 years ago, with his son Canute by his side, a large-scale invasion finally proved decisive.
It was a brutal time, which saw women burned alive, children impaled on lances and men dying suspended from their private parts.
Gainsborough historian Darron Childs says: “It is perhaps one of the reasons why Sweyn has been largely forgotten. Read more.
The Norwegian Vikings were more oriented towards the East than we have previously assumed, says Marianne Vedeler, Associate Professor at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo in Norway. After four years of in-depth investigation of the silk trade of the Viking Age, she may change our perceptions of the history of the Norwegian Vikings. The silk trade was far more comprehensive than we have hitherto assumed.
The Norwegian Vikings maintained trade connections with Persia and the Byzantine Empire. A network of traders from a variety of places and cultures brought the silk to the Nordic countries. Her details are presented in the book “Silk for the Vikings”, to be published by Oxbow publishers this winter, but in this article you can glimpse some of her key findings. Read more.
A CAR park in a Highland town has been confirmed by archaeologists as the meeting place of a medieval Norse parliament.
Excavations at the Cromartie Memorial car park in Dingwall uncovered evidence of a mound that archaeologists believe was established in the 11th century as a gathering spot for a Viking parliament, known as a “Thing”.
When it was constructed the “Thing” would have been on a man-made islet in the estuary of the River Pefferey, historians claimed. They believe the mound was built on the instructions of Thorfinn the Mighty, a powerful Viking earl who died in 1065. Read more.
It was already known that Iron Age Danes whitewashed their houses and halls with lime to protect clay walls against wind and weather. However it wasn’t clear whether they created their their own lime, or if it was sourced from elsewhere.
Now Danish National Museum archaeologists have found the answer in the rich Viking settlement at Tissø, Zealand. In the spring of 2013 they excavated the first lime kiln from the Danish Late Iron Age, the oldest found in Denmark.
The researchers examined a kiln used to burn slaked lime around the the middle of 800s CE. National Museum archaeologist Sandie Holst explained that, “We knew in advance that the great halls and buildings of Fuglede farmhouse were whitewashed because of previously excavated daub with traces of white chalk, but now we have proof that the limestone was burned in the immediate area”. Read more.
About 1,000 to 1,200 years ago, a Viking man still in his 20s was laid to rest on a craggy island in the Norwegian Sea. A new analysis of his skeleton and others buried nearby — several without their heads — suggests a haunting possibility: Some of the dead may have been slaves killed to lie in the grave with their masters.
Slavery was widespread in the Viking world, and scientists have found other Viking graves that include the remains of slaves sacrificed as “grave goods” and buried with their masters, a custom also practiced in ancient China and elsewhere. But the newly analyzed site is one of a very few Viking burials to include more than one slave, says the University of Oslo’s Elise Naumann, a Ph.D. student in archaeology who led the research. Read more.
Several pieces of Viking jewelry, some of which contain gold, have been uncovered at a farm site in Denmark that dates as far back as 1,300 years.
Although the Vikings have a popular reputation as being raiders, they were also farmers, traders and explorers, and the craftsmanship seen in this jewelry demonstrates their artistic skills.
Archaeologists working with volunteers used metal detectors to find the jewelry in different spots throughout a farmstead on Zealand, the largest island in Denmark. The remains of the site, which is now called Vestervang, date from the late seventh to the early 11th centuries. Read more.