Recent genetic research has shown that Orcadians have a significant amount of Viking blood running through their veins. We have all become accustomed to seeing our Viking ancestors as a fierce warrior race, but was there another side to them?
Secret excavations in Norway on the steep slopes of a fjord have revealed something quite extraordinary that is rewriting Norse history. Inside the grave of a high status Viking Earl have been found an array of artefacts that he would need as he made his way into Valhalla. The finds were as you would expect in those of a warrior: remains of shield, decorated sword ,knife, gaming dice – but also something unexpected.
At first archaeologists were puzzled as to what the 2 thin sharply pointed long thin metal objects were. It was not until the deposits around the ‘pins’ were examined under a microscope that it revealed a gathering of fibres. Taking a sample of the fibres for further examination the boffins were able to determine that they were of a wool substance.
In an exclusive interview with The Orkney News head archaeologist Prof Hans Gnittink said:
“det er en overraskelse, Vær vennlig og snakk saktere?”
And went on to say:
“Snakk til meg på norsk”
Back in Orkney specialists at our own internationally renowned Centre for Nordic Studies a spokesperson told us that the finds in Norway have resulted in a re-examination of all the Viking warrior grave goods ever excavated in the islands. The preliminary results are astounding. The metal pins are found in all the graves.
It appears that Viking warriors were skilled knitters. Far from being a woman’s hobby as many of the ill informed today think of it, knitting was an essential part of the warrior’s training. Dexterity with thin sharp pointy pins and patience was part of the warrior’s way of destressing after a long day of pillaging.
And those pointy helmets which historians laugh at as never having existed in Viking times – well think again – it is now thought that they did exist and not only that but that they had an important use – for keeping a warrior’s wool untangled.
62 researchers are now embarking on fully funded PhDs to explore this new side to our Viking warrior past that has been denied – until now.
Reporter: Fergus Graemsay