The discovery of a Viking longhouse in Newfoundland in 2002 confirmed that Columbus was indeed not the first European to come to the North America. However, two new recent studies on Vikings show that we still have a lot more to learn about this fascinating Northern European seafaring people.
The first research comes to us via The Royal Society Philosophical Transactions B. By looking at Viking DNA evidence, they found that male Vikings brought along lady Vikings with them during some of their conquests. Previously it was believed that Viking men left their wives at home when they headed out to sea to explore, but thanks to mitochondrial DNA research done on 45 Norwegian skeletons by researchers from University of Oslo, they were able to determine that women accompanied them on many of their Northern European conquests.
More research from in the journal Viking Archaeology is changing how we look at Vikings: They weren't the dirty, brutal, cruel, people once imagines, but rather were more settlers and explorers. Although they did their fair share of pillaging and plundering, it is now understood that they sent their ships out to spread their culture. By looking at excavated longhouses dating from 900, they discovered the vikings wielded politics, diplomacy and even public relations to show their wealth and power.
Does this change how you think of Vikings, or did you suspect this about them all along? Share your comments about Vikings below.
Viking Women Colonized New Lands, Too (Discovery.com)
"Vikings may have been family men who traveled with their wives to new lands, according to a new study of ancient Viking DNA."
"A new study shows that when Vikings moved to new territories, men and women traveled together."
New Research Shows That Vikings Were Cultured (New Historian)
"Recent research has shown that Viking settlers in Iceland had a complex and sophisticated social hierarchy."
The Vikings: A Memorable Visit to America (Smithsonian)
"Roughly 1,000 years ago, the story goes, a Viking trader and adventurer named Thorfinn Karlsefni set off from the west coast of Greenland with three ships and a band of Norse to explore a newly discovered land that promised fabulous riches."
Why We're So Fascinated by the Vikings (Wall Street Journal)
"The finger of fashion is pointing once again at Scandinavia."