SETTLERS OR RAIDERS? (COMMENT). Apparently, the controversy over what the Vikings were like is referred to in shorthand as “raiders or traders?” It is hard to reconstruct ways of peaceful living from over a thousand years ago, while conquests and battles and treaties are better documented. The wikipedia article on the Danegeld refers to some of the kinds of evidence that individual Vikings lived in an assimilated fashion with Angles and Saxons. Place names: “name endings such as “by” or “thorp” having Norse origins.” Genetic surveys: A recent survey showed that Norwegian Vikings settled sporadically throughout the British Isles. Interestingly, “descendants of Danish Vikings could not be distinguished from descendants of Anglo-Saxon settlers.” Archaelogical findings: Even though a treaty in 884 set a boundary for the Danelaw, archaelogical sites do not show a real demographic or trade boundary. This “could indicate that there was considerable population movement between the areas.” It seems to me that we have found more about how Viking settlers lived than I would have thought possible, but not enough to establish conclusions.

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  1. Nick says:

    The people who did the Yorvik museum seemed to be pretty solidly in the camp of “Settlers.”

  2. Mary Jane says:

    We have recorded a program called “Warriors,” which I hope the 3 of us get to watch soon. It’s about the Vikings. I wager, in advance, it’s a balanced view, that is to say: it shows both aspects of Viking life — the relentless and effective marauding, and also the peaceful family settlements. I guess they would have to have both aspects to their culture. How else could they have “put to sea” if they didn’t have a home base?

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