Sunday, March 21, 2010
Bring Out Your Inner Barbarian
Well, it's been a while since we did a post on Vikings, and this one is prompted by a great article in National Geographic: "51 Headless Vikings In Execution Pit Confirmed". From the article:
"Naked, beheaded, and tangled, the bodies of 51 young males found in the United Kingdom have been identified as brutally slain Vikings, archaeologists announced Friday.
The decapitated skeletons—their heads stacked neatly to the side—were uncovered in June 2009 in a thousand-year-old execution pit near the southern seaside town of Weymouth".
From the 1958 movie "The Vikings"
Vikings Found With Hacked Heads, Naked Bodies
Many of the skeletons have deep cut marks to the skull, jaw, and neck. This suggests the men were war captives whose heads were savagely hacked off, said David Score of Oxford Archaeology, leader of the preconstruction survey that found the Vikings' execution pit.
"The majority seem to have taken multiple blows," he noted.
"Other injuries hint that some of the slaughtered attempted to shield themselves from their executioners' blows. For instance, the hand of one victim had its fingers sliced through, Score said.
The heads were neatly piled to one side of the pit, perhaps as a victory display."
The 13th Warrior
"Aside from their injuries, the headless Vikings "look like a healthy, robust, very strong, very masculine group of young males," he added. "It's your classic sort of warrior."
""They had left their ship, walked inland, ran into an unusually well-organized body of Saxons, and were probably forced to surrender," Siddorn speculated in July.
Despite the Vikings' brutal reputation, there was actually little to differentiate Vikings and early English warriors on the battlefield, said Siddorn, also a founder of Regia Anglorum, a historical-reenactment society.
"You would find it very difficult to tell the difference between a Viking and a Saxon if they stood in front of you in war gear," he said. Both used spears as their primary weapons, with swords and axes as backups, Siddorn added".
So despite their fierce image, Vikings occasionally got their asses kicked too.
Here's my favorite Vikings, they're from Minnesota: