All posts tagged: Vikings

Part of the earthly treasure of King Bluetooth, the man who Christianized the vikings, discovered

A teenage boy, Luca Malashnitschenko, 13, and his teacher Rene Schon were out with metal detectors on Rügen Island. Located in the Baltic Sea, off the northern coast of Germany, it is the country’s largest island. Then came the bleep on Luca’s detector indicating the presence of metal. When they dug down and found a splash of silver, they suspected it was probably aluminum. But once they dug it out they discovered it was a silver coin from the Viking era. When more relics and coins started appearing, they realized there was more to this find and reported it to the regional archaeology service. A team was eventually dispatched and an excavation of a 4,300 sq foot area uncovered a viking hoard consisting of coins, jewellry —  braided necklace and brooches, as well as a Thor hammer and over 600 coins that ranged in age from AD714 to 983. This included 100 coins dating to the reign of the Danish Viking King Harald Gormsson, otherwise known as Harry Bluetooth. In old Norse, the phrase is …

Iceland Credit: Lovepro/Flickr/Creative Commons

Study says a pagan poem and volcanic eruption resulted in the Vikings turning to Christ

According to a report in the journal Climate Change, a volcanic eruption and an ancient pagan poem convinced the Vikings to embrace Christianity. The mass conversion of the Vikings to Christ took place around 1100 AD and according to the researchers from the University of Cambridge two events in the 10th century played a role in this decision. Using ice cores, they said Iceland’s Eldgjjá volcano erupted between 939 AD and 940 AD. At this point the Vikings were creating settlements on the island. It involved a prolonged lava eruption that spread over a year. It also resulted in a tremendous amount of ash pouring into the atmosphere blocking the sun causing very cool summers and extremely cold winters. The ash not only affected the climate of Iceland, but reached into North America and Northern Europe, the traditional home of the Vikings. This resulted in droughts, animal stock dying off and increased mortality. The second thing that attributed to the conversion was an apocalyptic Viking poem called Völuspá written around the same time. In English, …

Replica of a Viking ship. Photo: valt98/Flickr/Creative Commons

Viking tales and dinosaurs

In the late 1930s, while digging in the remains of an ancient fortress, Sverresborg Castle, located near Bergen, Norway, archaeologist Gerhard Fischer came across the partial skeletal remains of a body in a well filled with rocks. But when World War II broke out the excavation stopped,  the remains buried and the discovery largely forgotten. However according to the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage, in 2014 archaeologists have stumbled across more remains of this body in the well. After dating a bone shard they discovered it was over 800 years old — dating it to 1200 AD. But here the story takes an interesting twist. There are a number of sagas or epic poems written by Vikings and handed down through the generations. Many disregarded them as fanciful tales. But there is one saga entitled the Sverris Saga, dated to the 1200s, that talks about Viking wars, great voyages and clan feuds. In it there is an elaborate story about King Sverre Sigurdsson who led a group called the Baglers. They were so poor they wore shoes made of birch bark. …