The Vikings raided and pillaged between 800 and 1050 AD. They would appear suddenly and, with violence, strike terror into well-established societies that, while probably used to war, were unused to surprise tactics that were the Vikings’ trademark.
The Vikings’ conquests were often carried out in stages; they would often settle somewhere and stay a few years, or a generation, before continuing their conquest. It is widely believed that this was a result of a lack of arable land at home. In Norway, it was the Vikings from Western Norway who raided most frequently. Many Vikings became really rich as a result of their pillaging.
“We recommend: Attend a Viking Festival in the Land of the Vikings! The historical venue and a Viking feast allow you to step into the lives of these ancient peoples. Visit a Viking market, join a historic march or foment rebellion, the Viking way! Tales of the Sagas, trials of strength, drama, dancing and lavish banquets are just some of the activities. More Information: www.vikingfestivalen.no
Daring battles against other Vikings or the armies of other countries brought great honor at home in Norway, which was considered just as valuable as worldly goods or gold. The Vikings possessed great physical and mental strength. They had an indomitable spirit, a hunger for victory, were technically accomplished and they demonstrated great organizational skills wherever they settled. But there was a dark side to the picture. There was bloodshed everywhere they went. The thirst for blood took hold of them when they jumped ashore from their dragon-headed ships.
There are many accounts of the Viking’s bloody conquests and contempt for human life.
They were not just ruthless warriors, but also skilled traders, administrators and craftsmen in metal and wood, producing beautiful jewellery and artefacts that survive to this day.
Vikings were experts in water transportation as their native fjords stretched for great distances into Norway’s heartland.
The Vikings were also some of Europe’s best storytellers and the Norse sagas continue to fascinate modern audiences.
The powerful woman
The farmer’s wife was a powerful person. She was in charge when her husband was away. This is symbolized by the fact that she was buried with the key to the farmstead.
We know little about the recipes used in Viking times, but archaeological digs have provided us with some information about the ingredients Vikings used. Food “remains” and other items have been found in cooking pots and kitchen middens. We also learn something from writings from the Viking era. Vikings’ everyday diet consisted of porridge and soups/stews. Meat was for special occasions.
’Viking for a Day’
At Avaldsnes, you can be ’Viking for a Day’ and ’Archaeologist for a Day’, dress up and take part in activities. What was life like in the Viking Age? What can we learn about the past by studying the finds archaeologists make during their digs? www.opplevavaldsnes.no