Vikings in a Historical Perspective

So yesterday I spoke about the Viking tour we took. This was extremely interesting and I’m going to elaborate on the Vikings’ historical significance in England. The Vikings were not only the brutal raiders we usually see them in today’s media, but they also colonized and traded in a number of places in England (as well as other regions).

The Viking Age began in 793 when the attack on Lindisfarne monastery took place and marked an era of the North men. They traded numerous goods with those in England, Ireland, Germany, and even in the East! They brought with them as well, a unique form in their coinage system. Mainly the design of the coin became different, including the addition of Thor’s hammer on one side. The value of the coin was more on who minted the metal, instead of each coin having a certain amount like we have today. Yes, of course, the Vikings also raided numerous villages for many different reasons including economic, political, and social factors. Some included to acquire more money and thus more fame, to expand how much land people would be able to work upon, and to establish more trading routes, etc.

There have been a substantial amount of archaeological excavations, especially in Coppergate, that have illuminated  the Vikings and how they developed medieval society in their era. The most important point in time which held the most excavations was from the mid-1940s to the 1970’s. Different objects varying from amber pieces, soil, roof remains, and bones were found that can describe how they built their homes, what they usually ate, different materials they would sell, and so much more. Scientists have also done more into isotope analysis in the bones of individuals found, to look at their diets! Those who mainly ate meat have different particles or signatures in their bones than those who ate more fish or fruits/vegetables/grains. Also, scientists and archaeologists have been looking at skeletons to look at the person’s life, such as their age at death, if they were a warrior (if they had battle wounds), and if they suffered from different physical ailments. These studies have greatly increased our understanding of Viking society and life, and it’s significance in England.

Emily C (OP #2)


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