Who were the Vikings and where did they come from?

The Vikings invaded Britain in 1785 so they were around before then. The Vikings came from Scandinavia, They invaded Ireland, England, Scotland, Shetland and France. The reason we know about Vikings and where they came from is because they have left some of their houses and treasures. The archaeologist found lots of treasure all over the world the best finds were in  York (Jorvick)  and Jarlshof. Vikings settled around Europe. the Vikings traded with people around their world.

This is a picture of where the Vikings went.


Vikings Longships

Longships where very slim, long and sometimes short.  So the Vikings could sail up narrow rivers so they could invade places, so people that thought that they were safe because they lived near a narrow river would be more in danger if they live they lived right in the middle where there was hardly any sea or rivers around. The longships were very fast so if they were sinking they could travel to the nearest land that they could find.

Longships could fit up to 120 people who were coming to invade. Longships were different sizes. So if it was a small ship it would be able to carry 10 warriors around. Longships were made out of oak because it was very strong. When making the longships the women would make the rope and sails and the men would make the boat structure. All of the longships were handmade.

When the warriors went to sleep they would have slept under the sail which was like a canopy, the warriors would slept in seal skins sleeping bags because the deck was very wet. The Vikings invented sleeping bags.

This is a picture that I took in France of a Viking longship.

Vikings in Shetland

Vikings came all the way from Norway, Sweden and Denmark to Shetland. Vikings settled all over Shetland including Jarlshof. Jarlshof is famous all over the world because it has the best Viking houses and treasures, most of the treasures found in Shetland has gone into the Shetland Museum which is in Lerwick. Archoligists found very very very old cooking pots and water bailer. A water bailer is what the Vikings used when they were on the longships.

This is small replica of  a water bailer (owskerri)

Trip to the Shetland Museum

On Wednesday 21st November 2012, we went to the Shetland Museum to see a Viking exhibition. When we got there a Shetland Museum guide called Trevor told us about some of the Vikings history and then took us on a tour to the exhibition cases. In the cases we could see all the extremely old tools that the Vikings used. We got to handle some replicas of some old tools and clothing.

We learned about what some of the tools were made from. We saw a fishing weight and also lamp holders which were made out of soapstone. We saw old cooking pots; we know that they were used for cooking because you could see brown burnt bits on the bottom of the pots. Trevor told us about where some of these tools came from like Jarlshof (in Shetland), Norway (where some of the Vikings came from!) and also other places in Scandinavia.



Viking Runes

The Vikings had no pens, paper or books, not many of the Vikings  could write or read. The people that could write would write in runes. They carved the runes into  wood and stones, the didn’t use curved lines in the letters because  it would have been too hard to it into the stone. There are 16 different letters in their alphabet.

This is my name in Viking  runes.

This is a site where you could see your name in runes

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/write-your-name-in-runes.html

Trading

When Vikings invaded places they also traded animal skins, spices and silk. Vikings took the things that they have traded back to their house and wore them or made something with them.  When Vikings were trading with people they also got ideas from them like chess, then Viking would take back the ideas and make something better then that. Chess was invented by the Chinese and the Vikings traded with them so that is how they got that idea. The Lewis chessman were 1,000 years old, they were in the Shetland Museum 2 years ago. The Lewis  Chessman were found in Lewis but the archoligist think that the Lewis Chessman were from Norway, they were made out of walrus tusk. The Lewis Chessman were buried under the sand for over 1,000 years.

Viking Food

Vikings grew leeks, onions and carrots.

Carrots weren’t an orange color they were either purple or white.

Vikings would pick wild strawberries and blueberries to eat.

Vikings would grow rye and barley and then grind it with a quern (a quern is two stones with a wooden pole) and then make it into bread.

Vikings kill their own animals and wild animals to eat.

This is us making Viking Bread.

Viking Farm Life

Farms were built on hills, they were built with a thatch roof and cobbled walls. The walls were very thick to keep the Vikings warm. They had an oven for baking bread and they had a kiln for baking pottery. Vikings grew plants like onions, cabbage and beans. Archaeologist found an old spade which might have been used for gardening. Vikings used manure from the animals to keep the soil in good condition.

Viking would have kept pigs, goat, sheep, cows, hens, geese and ponies.

When the Vikings wanted flour they didn’t go to the shop and buy it, but they grew wheat and then used a quern to grind it down to make flour.



Viking Gods/Viking Burials

How did the world start according to Vikings.

The Vikings thought that there were an empty space that had ice at the north and fire at the south. When the ice started to move around it started to melt and then it made a frost giant and a giant cow. When the frost giant went to sleep and started to sweat it made lots of giants and giantesses. When the giant cow was licking the ice he found this man called Buri, who had a son called Bor. Bor also, had three sons called Odin, Vile and Ve. Odin, Vile and Ve became gods. That’s how the Vikings thought the world evolved.

Thor and Jormungand

Thor was the god of thunder, Jormungand was the serpent and Hymir was a big giant.

Thor and Hymir go to sea to fish, but when they were rowing Hymir said “Stop!” but Thor doesn’t stop until he got to the Jormungand (The Giant Surpent) resting place. Then Thor casts the fishing line out to sea and in a split second the giant serpent comes up to the surface of the sea. The greedy serpent swelled the fishing line bait and then he felt quite distressed because the fishing hook was stuck.

Thor began to pull the giant serpent in towards the boat and when he was about to smash the giants serpent’s head Hymir cuts the fishing line! Thor was so angry he smacked Hymir on the head and then walked away on the sea bed because the boat had fallen into pieces.

The next time Thor would see Jormungand would be in the Twilight of the gods, he will beat the giant serpent but he also loses his life.

Viking Beliefs

Vikings believed that when their Jarl died in battle they would get take up the sprit of the Jarl by the Valkyries to Vallhella.

The Valkyries are like angels that hover about when a viking battle is taking place.

Gods

Vikings believed that viking gods  live in Asgard. Vikings thought that Odin was the god of wisdom and war. Odin knew about everything around the world because of his ravens called Memory and Thort.

Loki

We made fans with all the animals that Loki could turn into.

Click to here to learn about Loki.


Viking Burials

If a Viking Jarl were killed on a battle field they believed they would go to a next life in Valhella so they would need all their precious things buried with them. If the Vikings died naturally they would go to hell and they would also need to have their precious things.

Viking Clothes and Jewellery

Vikings wore silk, linen, fur and leather. The Vikings made clothes by hand with a spindle and sometimes if it was silk they would import it from China.

If the warriors and ladies were rich they would wear silk and wore lots of jewellery to show who was really rich and who wasn’t but the poor would still wear jewellery but not that expensive.

The ladies would have made the clothes out of dyed wool and then they would weave the wool to make cloth for the clothes.

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