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Home Boundless meetings 01: The hidden silver hoards of Gotland 02: Glittering golden hoard of silver 03: Finds with varying interpretations 04: Written down centuries later 05: The sources for what we know 06: Sometimes Viking – sometimes not 07: The Viking Age – a recent invention Family and hierarchy Midgard Belief and traditions The living and the dead Divine craftwork Trading and raiding Waterways Town-like centres Christian monuments Svenska

Sometimes Viking – sometimes not

The word Viking appears both on runestones and in the written sources. We do not know exactly what it means. The term is often used to describe a situation or activity. Someone could “go on a viking” meaning going on a trading trip or raiding expedition.

Other formulations suggest that it was possible to switch into and out of the roles of Viking, farmer or travelling merchant. The sources show that women and children and youths went along on the journeys. Could it be that a large proportion of the population were sometimes Vikings?

An inscription on a runestone in the county of Uppland, Sweden , says that Assur was a land defender [guard] against the Vikings. This shows that those who “went on a viking ” were feared everywhere.

Many kinds of objects were brought to Scandinavia. Sometimes from Viking trips, sometimes from transactions between people from near and far when they met in trading centres.

Many of the objects in the display case are of eastern origin. For example, weights with Arabic weight markings, a silver hat decoration and a finger ring with a glass stone on which the text ”for” or ”to Allah” is engraved in Arabic calligraphy. There is also a carnelian scarab and many beads, along with rock crystal pendants which could also be used as magnifying glasses.

A number of objects came from the west. For example, here is a green glass beaker from the Frankish Empire. It is called a grape beaker because of its design. The copper frame for a wooden pail comes from the British Isles and is decorated with tree and a spiral ornamentation reminiscent of birds.

Some of the jewellery in the display case – the pendants, neck rings, armlets, and brooches – are from southern Scandinavia or Gotland.

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Glass beaker

  Glass beaker

Vessel

  Vessel

Ring brooch

  Ring brooch

Set of beads

  Set of beads

Set of beads

  Set of beads

Finger ring

  Finger ring

Brooch

  Brooch

Ring-headed pin

  Ring-headed pin

Pendant

  Pendant

Round brooch

  Round brooch

Armlet

  Armlet

Armlet

  Armlet

Armlet

  Armlet

Pendants

  Pendants

Set of beads

  Set of beads

Pendant

  Pendant

Brooch with chain

  Brooch with chain

Box-shaped brooch

  Box-shaped brooch

Weight

  Weight

Pendant

  Pendant

Pendant

  Pendant

Button

  Button

Pail

  Pail

Cap mount

  Cap mount

Pendant

  Pendant

Torque

  Torque

Torques

  Torques

Finger ring

  Finger ring