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Vikings


  • Originally published 07/19/2013

    Old Arabic texts describe 'filthy' Vikings

    "They are the filthiest of all Allah’s creatures: they do not purify themselves after excreting or urinating or wash themselves when in a state of ritual impurity after coitus and do not even wash their hands after food."The Arab writer Ahmad ibn Fadlan noted the above after meeting Viking travellers around a thousand years ago.The Icelandic historian Thorir Jonsson Hraundal has studied comments about what we call Vikings in original texts by Arab historians and geographers. The texts described Arab encounters with Scandinavians in areas around the Caspian Sea and the Volga River. Their depictions differ radically from images of fearsome Viking conquerors handed down from the British Isles and France in the same era....

  • Originally published 03/22/2013

    Pre-Viking tunic found by glacier as warming aids archaeology

    , A pre-Viking woollen tunic found beside a thawing glacier in south Norway shows how global warming is proving something of a boon for archaeology, scientists said on Thursday. The greenish-brown, loose-fitting outer clothing - suitable for a person up to about 176 cms (5 ft 9 inches) tall - was found 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) above sea level on what may have been a Roman-era trade route in south Norway. Carbon dating showed it was made around 300 AD....

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    Sealing Norse Greenlanders’ fate?

    The mystery of what happened to Greenland’s Norse population is one step closer to being solved, as new evidence suggests that the colony did not die out because its inhabitants were unable to adapt to their new environment.The first Viking settlers arrived in c.AD 1000, and over time their population swelled to around 3,000 people. By the 15th century, however, they had vanished, with no explanation provided by contemporary written sources. This disappearance has long been debated by archaeologists, with some suggesting that the farming communities were defeated by climate change, which made it difficult to cultivate cereal crops for bread and beer, and limited wild plant resources....

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