EVIDENCE THAT SOME VIKING TRADERS MAY HAVE ARRIVED IN IRELAND BEFORE THE RAIDERS. I have made a number of posts about whether the Vikings were raiders or traders. This article by Roger Atwood in Archaeology (March 10, 2015) describes evidence that adds “new weight to an idea gaining growing acceptance—that, instead of a sudden, cataclysmic invasion, the arrival of the Vikings in Ireland and Britain began, rather, with small-scale settlements and trade links that connected Ireland with northern European commerce for the first time.” Further, the initial trading contacts may have occurred generations before the first raids.
The evidence comes from carbon dating of the remains of four young men buried in Dublin along with Viking artifacts. Atwood explains how carbon dating provides a probability for how old an item is. For items this old, carbon dating will provide a roughly 200 year interval with a 95% probability that an item falls within that interval. It will provide a roughly 100 year interval with a 68% probability that the item’s date is within that interval. The probability intervals for these bodies and for three other bodies that have been found make it probable that the bodies were Vikings who were in Ireland before the accepted dates for the Viking raids.