Students hoping to study Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic might be predisposed to think that there isn’t anything ‘new’ that can be discovered about this seemingly old subject. However a recent discovery not only has made historians reconsider a significant moment in the creation of England as we know it, but has also once again backed up the idea that Viking warriors were female.
The idea that Vikings warriors were women is a fairly recent discovery. The famous ‘Valkyrie’ warriors were iconic figures shrouded in myth and legend, however recent discoveries in both Sweden and now through radiocarbon dating by the University of Bristol, have revealed that 20% of Viking warriors were in fact female.
The discovery also backs up the idea that in the 9th Century, the Great Heathen Army invaded the four Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that constituted England in 865. The army would have consisted of elements from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Ireland, as it was not uncommon for different Viking leaders to join together for a common cause. They defeated the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and executed King Ælla of Northumbria by ‘blood eagle’, a rather gory method, due the King killing their father, Ragnar Lodbrok. Interestingly, ‘Lodbrok’ translates as ‘Shaggy-Breeches’ – turns out baggy trousers were popular even before they were iconicized by MC Hammer.
As the Vikings were seafarers, their diet consisted of mainly fish and sea-based food. As much of the carbon consumed by organisms in the ocean is a lot older than carbon on land, this means that dating can get tricky, and radiocarbon testing can make the remains appear much older than they actually are. This is called the ‘Marine Reservoir Effect’. The archaeologists need to correct this by essentially estimating how much seafood each of the Vikings would have eaten.
Students hoping to study Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic may want to think about how this Viking raid shaped modern day Britain, and maybe want to delve into the interestingly named leaders/brothers of the Great Heathen Army: Ivar the Boneless, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Björn Ironside and Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye.
- Oxford and Cambridge International Grade Requirements If you’re applying to Cambridge or Oxford but you’ve not... Read more >
- International Applicant Handbook This incredible resource will guide you through every stage of... Read more >
- Download an English Personal Statement “My background as a student at a European School, including... Read more >
- Oxbridge Open Day Guide With open days drawing ever nearer, applicants and parents alike... Read more >
- Philosophy Reading List If you are interested in Philosophy, there are several options... Read more >
- Cambridge Law Test overview If you’re applying to read Law at Cambridge you will probably need... Read more >
- Music Scholarships There is a wide range of musical scholarships available to... Read more >
- Download a Law Personal Statement “Participating in a Citizenship Foundation Mock Trial Competition during Year... Read more >
- Personal Statement Workbook Download A personal statement is a unique document which is all... Read more >
- July’s Top News Stories Read more about some of the biggest news stories to... Read more >
- US University Applications: How Decisions Are Made Article contributed by: Dr Jon Tabbert, US university admissions educational... Read more >
- PPE: answer like a pro If you’re applying for Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) or... Read more >
- Bursaries Both Oxford and Cambridge are committed to the principle that... Read more >
- Personal statement: our tips in the Independent Here are 3 quick tips every hopeful should consider before... Read more >
- History Reading Lists The main challenge in the step up from school to... Read more >
- What You Need To Know About A Level Reforms The A Level system that has been in place since... Read more >
- Is Oxbridge right for me? Have you asked yourself why you are planning to apply... Read more >
- Course By Course Fact Sheet This helpful guide sets out by course what grades you... Read more >
- Download an Economics Personal Statement 2 “Beyond this essential interest in the subject, I find that... Read more >
- PAT overview If you’re applying for Physics, Materials or a relevant joint... Read more >
- The Differences Between Similar Courses At Oxford and Cambridge For some applicants, deciding between applying to Oxford or Cambridge... Read more >
- The Most Competitive Subjects At Oxbridge (And How To Choose Wisely) Oxford and Cambridge are two of the best universities in the... Read more >
- For Your Reference: Admissions Test Factfiles The majority of Oxford courses, and an increasing number of... Read more >
- Oxford or Cambridge? Many applicants know that they want the best, but when... Read more >