The Faroe Islands were colonized much earlier than previously believed, and it wasn’t by the Vikings, according to new research.
New archaeological evidence places human colonization in the 4th to 6th centuries AD, at least 300-500 years earlier than previously demonstrated.
The research, directed by Dr Mike J Church from Durham University and Símun V Arge from the National Museum of the Faroe Islands as part of the multidisciplinary project “Heart of the Atlantic”, is published in the Quaternary Science Reviews.
The research challenges the nature, scale and timing of human settlement of the wider North Atlantic region and has implications for the colonization of similar island groups across the world. Read more.
Research by a University College Cork scholar has made new discoveries about the “Viking loot” from Ireland.
He traced how sacred objects were turned into jewellery by Vikings in Norway, Sweden and other Scandinavian countries.
There are no plans, however, to seek to have returned to Ireland the crosiers that were turned into brooches and chalices that became jewellery boxes, ransacked over two centuries from the “soft targets” of the churches.
However Dr Griffin Murray of the Department of Archaeology at UCC will tell an international Viking Conference in Shetland this week that he would like to see Irish treasures “taken by the armful” returned in the form of a temporary exhibition. Read more.
Recent peaceful Viking rebrands are smashed in a vast and bloodthirsty show that will soon set sail for London
All around the hull of the longest Viking warship ever found there are swords and battle axes, many bearing the scars of long and bloody use, in an exhibition opening in Copenhagen that will smash decades of good public relations for the Vikings as mild-mannered traders and farmers.
"Some of my colleagues thought surely one sword is enough," archaeologist and co-curator Anne Pedersen said, "but I said no, one can never have too many swords."
The exhibition, simply called Viking, which will be opened at the National Museum by Queen Margrethe of Denmark on Thursday, and to the public on Saturday, will sail on to to London next year to launch the British Museum’s new exhibition space. Read more.
Some 1,000 years ago, the Vikings set off on a voyage to Notre Dame Bay in modern-day Newfoundland, Canada, new evidence suggests.
The journey would have taken the Vikings, also called the Norse, from L’Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of the same island to a densely populated part of Newfoundland and may have led to the first contact between Europeans and the indigenous people of the New World.
"This area of Notre Dame Bay was as good a candidate as any for that first contact between the Old World and the New World, and that’s kind of an exciting thing," said Kevin Smith, deputy director and chief curator of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University. Read more.
The outline of a foot on the Gokstad Ship gives us an inkling of what it might have been like for Vikings to cross the ocean.
He’s crowded into a sleek sailing ship with 65 other men. Scarcely room to move. It’s been days since anybody has seen land − longer since anyone bathed. The old-timers’ repeated tales of bygone raids and voyages are beginning to wear thin.
His place is behind an oar, but there is no need to row continuously on the North Sea. With wind in the sail, the boat surges towards England, where riches await.
But what is there to do while waiting to reach a foreign coast?
Maybe it was a teenager engaged in a Viking version of tagging a school desk. In any case, someone took out his knife, bent down and traced the outline of his foot on the deck of the Gokstad Ship. Read more.
A mysterious Viking sundial found in Greenland may have helped the ancient mariners sail at the same north-south latitude across the Atlantic, new research suggests.
The study, detailed Tuesday (April 9) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A Mathematical and Physical Sciences, suggests that the raiding Norsemen might have been even more impressive sailors than previously thought.
"It is widely accepted that Norse people were excellent mariners. Now it seems they used much more sophisticated navigational instruments than we thought before," said study co-author Balázs Bernáth, a researcher at Eötvös University in Hungary. Read more.
For centuries, it has been a crystal of legend locked in the verses of Norse myth with little or no evidence that it was ever real. Now it seems scientists at last have grounds for believing that the Viking “sunstone” used to navigate the seas did indeed exist.
Researchers who have spent three years poring over a cloudy crystal discovered in the wreck of an Elizabethan ship sunk off the Channel Islands believe they have proved that it could be the substance described by the Norsemen as helping to locate the sun when obscured by cloud.
The so-called sunstone has long been the subject of scientific intrigue after it was described in one Icelandic saga as a magical gem which, when held up to sky, would reveal the position of the sun even before dawn or after sunset.
The recent excavation of a pair of Viking feet and a tiny silver Anglo-Saxon coin may lack the glamour of the discovery of the last Plantagenet, but it has shone a light on one of the least known periods in the long history of York Minister: the centuries between the fall of Roman empire and the coming of the Vikings, in AD866.
The coin, no bigger than a 5p piece, is a sceat, minted in York. It is in such good condition that experts at the British Museum first thought it was a Victorian fake. So good is its state of repair that marks are legible identifying the maker as Eadwine, who also minted coins for the Northumbrian court. It proves that York had enough status and wealth in the early 9th century to support its own mint. Read more.