Vikings lived ‘harmoniously with our ancestors’
Viking warriors who raided and colonised Britain in the 11th century went on to form harmonious relationships with our ancestors, scientists claim.
6:50AM GMT 13 Mar 2009
The Scandinavian invaders are remembered in history books as barbaric savages who pillaged towns and villages, and raped their women.
But new evidence shows that following their violent arrival, the Vikings lived in relative harmony with their Anglo-Saxon and Celtic counterparts.
According to researchers at Cambridge University, they swapped technology with our forefathers and enriched their culture.
Dr Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, a senior lecturer, believes modern-day Britons today can “take a lesson” from such positive immigration.
“Most people’s image of the Vikings centres on their arrival and disruption but that only continued for a very short period of time,” she said.
“Afterwards they started building settlements and interacting with the locals and became assimilated into their culture and influenced them in many ways.
“As such they provide a clear example of how a particular group came into a sophisticated established society and the resulting interaction was positive.
“Both societies profited and modern day people can take a lesson from this that two cultures coming together can learn from each other.”
The ‘Between the Islands’ conference has been organised by Cambridge University’s Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic studies.
Leading international scholars will unveil more than 20 cutting-edge studies of the Vikings and their interaction with ancient Britain.
Their claims were said to draw on archaeological evidence, historical studies and analysis of language and literature from the period.
Dr Fiona Edmonds, who is helping to organise a conference on the subject, added: “The latest evidence does not point to a simple opposition between ‘Vikings’ and ‘natives’.
“Within a relatively short space of time – and with lasting effect – the various cultures in Britain and Ireland started to intermingle.
“Investigating that process provides us with a historical model of how political groups can be absorbed into complex societies, contributing much to those societies in the process.
“There are important lessons that can be gained from this about cultural assimilation in the modern era.”
(article the appeared in “The Telegraph”)
What do you know about the Vikings from what you read in the booklet?
Compare what you know to the description of the vikings in this article.