12 March 2010

Viking Victims

It's all over the news media today: the 51 bodies in the mass grave discovered a few months ago in Dorset are 'Vikings'. Insofar as the media reports are accurate, the bodies are identified as Scandinavian on the basis of isotope analysis of the teeth of 10 of them, while the grave has been radiocarbon-dated to the period 910-1030. The bodies are all of men, in their twenties or thirties, they have been decapitated, and the archaeologists speculate that this was done in front of an audience (not clear why they think this), and that the men were stripped naked before being executed, as there is no evidence of pins or other dress accoutrements. Of course we have always maintained that the Vikings had no monopoly on violence - man's inhumanity to man is well-documented throughout history. For further info, see the BBC's report, or that of The Guardian.

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