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What does a female viking look like

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Today when many people think of the Vikings they often tend to think of them as being tall, dirty, and violent with horned helmets. There is a lot of different sources available from the Viking age to us, about their physical appearance, but the most important source is probably from excavations, where there has been found around Viking skeletons in Denmark. The average Viking was cm inches shorter than we are today. The skeletons that the archaeologists have found, reveals, that a man was around cm tall 5. People who had access to more or better food in the Viking age were often taller than the average person due to having a better lifestyle.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Real Viking Look (Danish, Norwegian Phenotypes)

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: What did the Vikings look like in the Viking age?

Viking Women: What Women Really Did in the Viking Age

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Modern culture has very firm ideas about what the Vikings looked like, well encapsulated by their presentation in the show Vikings. Tall, blonde, burly, with long beards and a bit dishevelled from their hard life as warriors. We imagine them as a fearful race! How to be like a real viking? While there is some truth in these stereotypes, it is far from a clear picture of what the Vikings looked like.

Read on to find out what the Vikings really looked like, and why. Thanks to the survival of a large number of Viking skeletons from across Scandinavia and the Viking territories, we actually know quite a lot about the stature and size of the Vikings.

Most of us imagine the Vikings as towering, like modern Scandinavians, and strong, like they are presented in modern popular culture. However, if you encountered a Viking today, you would probably consider them quite short.

The average Viking male was around cm tall 5. However, while today we would consider them on the short side, at the time, they still probably towered over many of their contemporaries.

Britons living in around AD 1, would have been a good 5 cm shorter than the Vikings. This is largely down to their comparatively good diet for the time. People who came into contact with the Vikings often commented on what they looked like, especially their stature and size.

Their additional statue would have enabled them to carry more muscle than their shorter contemporaries, and the hard life as a warrior or a farmer in the cold Nose climes probably meant that the were quite well built. Surviving skeletons also allow for the reconstruction of Viking facial features and what the Vikings looked like. Though these reconstructions are less accurate and more open to interpretation than height and size.

There was almost as much variation among Viking faces as there is among modern Norse faces. The Vikings had a lot of contact with other cultures, contact that often resulted in offspring. Nevertheless, modern Scandinavians faces probably resemble what ancient Viking faces looked like more closely than anyone else living today.

One notable thing about Viking faces like Leif Erikson , is that there were not as many differences between the faces of men and women as we are accustomed to see among Scandinavians today. Women had more pronounced brow ridges, more like their men folk, and men had softer jaw bones and brow ridges, more like their women folk. The result of this is that it is often difficult to distinguish between the skeletal remains of Viking men and women based on the skull alone, and archaeologists must look at height and pelvis to determine gender.

Genetic studies confirm that it is not true that all Vikings were blonde. There was a mix of blondes, redheads and dark-haired Vikings. However, it is true that blonde hair was considered particularly attractive, and many darker haired Vikings bleached their hair blonde using Lye soap.

There was also no uniform Viking style for hair or beards. The Vikings certainly had fashions, but these changed depending on the location and the time, and there were always trendsetters, traditionalists, and those that did their own thing. Viking men did generally wear beards, often long, but sometimes short [link to bead article].

Surviving Viking depictions of men and gods all the male gods, with the exception of Loki, appear to have had beards show a variety of beard styles from long and flowing or braided to short goatees or just moustaches. Regardless of how they wore their beards, it is clear that a beard was an important part of the Viking style. It also seems that not having a beard was problematic, as in another saga the hero Brunt Njal is mocked as being a beardless old man.

Men and women both wore their hair long, though it seems that men did sometimes cut or shave their heads at the back to create a kind of reverse mullet. Both men and women were in the custom of adorning their hair with beads and other decorations. Both would also tie their hair back, often at the base of the skull, for work, or fighting. In modern popular culture the Vikings are often depicted as dirty due to their tough, warrior lifestyle, but they were probably cleaner than many of their contemporaries.

Writing in around , English chronicler John Wallingford described the superior hygiene and grooming habits of Viking men. Archaeological investigations have retrieved a wide range of grooming instruments including tweezers, combs, nail cleaners, ear cleaners and toothpicks.

Combs were probably one of the things that men and women carried with them at all times in the pouches that they carried on their belts. He was so distraught after the death of his son Balder that he refused to wash or comb his hair in grief. This is clearly depicted as a break with all expected social norms. The Arab Ibn Fadlan did describe the Vikings as dirty, but he was a Muslim from a culture accustomed to washing five times a day for prayer. In his account of the Vikings living on the Volga River, he describes how a slave woman brought a bowl of water to her master every morning, which he used to wash his hands hair and face.

However, he also says that the final thing that this master would do was blow his nose and spit into the water, and that this water would then be used by other to clean themselves. That does sound pretty disgusting. He also suggests that the Vikings wore make-up to make themselves look younger and more beautiful, in particular eye kohl.

While eye kohl remains popular today, some Viking beauty practices may seem less familiar and stranger. The Vikings were also in the practice of filing horizontal lines in the enamel of their front teeth, which they would then pain with red resin.

The Vikings gave great care to the bodies, so it is little surprise that they also paid a lot of attention to what they wore. But for Viking style clothing read our previous blog post about the history of Viking clothing. Despite depictions of Odin as an older man in the modern Marvel movies, it is difficult to picture an older Viking, as we imagine them dying in their prime on the battlefield. The average life expectancy for Viking men was around 45 years, while for women it was 38 years, significantly lower due to the increased likelihood of dying in childbirth.

But low life expectancy does not mean that no one lived until a ripe old age. High infant mortality significantly brings down life expectancy.

While 50 would have been considered old among the Vikings, there would have been Vikings that lived to the ripe old age of 60 or One of the women buried in the Osenberg Ship burial is estimated to have been between years old, and badly afflicted with arthritis. The elderly would have lived in the home with their children, who cared for them in their old age. Sadly for the elderly, even if they passed the prime of their lives as fearless warriors, if they did not die in battle, they would not be taken to Valhalla to live with other warriors until the coming of Ragnarok, but pass their eternity in Helheim.

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What Did Vikings Really Look Like?

Women in the Viking Age enjoyed more equality and freedom than almost all other women of their time. From warriors to farmers, here's the story of the roles of Viking women. Some recent articles have highlighted gender equality in the Viking Age. But while women did hold a certain level of power, there were still great differences in the roles of men and women.

If this is your first time registering, please check your inbox for more information about the benefits of your Forbes account and what you can do next! It's thought to have become the first real urban center in Scandinavia, housing nearly 1, people at its height and trading with peoples coming from as far away as Constantinople.

We have picked out five myths from the resulting debate and asked researchers to help us confirm or bust these myths. Armed with this information, our graphic designer then took a shot at drawing some examples of our infamous forefathers, which you can see in our picture gallery. Unwashed, rough warriors with froth hanging out of the corners of the mouth. Popular culture portrays the Viking as a somewhat filthy person. The finds suggest that cleanliness meant a lot to the Vikings.

Viking women: at home and at war

The cliched image of Vikings as a horn-helmeted warrior race of snarly Scandinavian marauders is so indelibly cemented in our psyches that we intuitively know it couldn't possibly be true — which inevitably leads to the question: What did they actually look like? She discovered there tend to be five prominent misconceptions about Vikings and what they looked like:. For example, archaeological finds have revealed tweezers, combs, nail cleaners, ear cleaners, and toothpicks from the Viking Age — a strong indication that they were cleaner and possibly far daintier than we tend to give them credit for. It also turns out that Vikings were about centimeters shorter than the Danes of today, they had hair color of all sorts, and that Viking men and women had very similar faces — and if anything, men were more feminine looking in their features than the other way around. In fact, archeologists tend to have a hard time telling male and female Viking remains apart. When you see a Viking in cartoons, games or in movies, he's often depicted with a horned helmet on his head. But real Vikings did not wear these horned helmets. It wasn't until the end of the 19th century that people started drawing Vikings wearing horned helmets because the villains in a popular Wagner opera wore such helmets. From picture sources we know that the Vikings had well-groomed beards and hair.


Historians disagree about whether they existed or not. They also appear in stories of other Germanic peoples : Goths , Cimbri , and Marcomanni. The historical existence of shield-maidens is heavily debated. Scholars like Neil Price [2] argue that they existed, while scholars such as Judith Jesch cite a lack of evidence for trained or regular women warriors.

Modern culture has very firm ideas about what the Vikings looked like, well encapsulated by their presentation in the show Vikings.

From matriarchs and artisans to traders and travellers, Judith Jesch explores the often rich and adventurous lives of women in the Viking age. From traders to travellers, women in the Viking age led rich and adventurous lives, argues Judith Jesch…. As wife, host, teacher and storyteller, the mistress of the household was the fulcrum of Viking family life.

Yes, There Were Viking Women Warriors In The Middle Ages

But though these Vikings became infamous as fierce warriors and brutal raiders, they were also accomplished traders who established trade routes all over the world. They formed settlements, founded towns and cities Dublin, for example and left a lasting impact on the local languages and cultures of the places where they landed their ships. While earlier historical research about the Vikings had theorized that the seafaring Norsemen traveled in male-only groups—perhaps due to a lack of desirable mates in Scandinavia—a more recent study tells a very different story.

Findings of skeletons and artefacts contains many information about the Viking as people. Preserved skeletons show that that the Vikings were, on average, cm shorter than we are today and they rarely achieved an age of more than years. Arthritis was common and many had worn or missing teeth. Cavities in the teeth were, on the other hand, uncommon, as they did not eat much sugar. Only few skeletons show evidence of violence.

Viking women

The richest Viking burial we know of is for a woman: The Oseberg Queen. Photo Wikimedia Commons. As manager of the household, the lady of the house had a lot of power. In the sagas we meet strong, proud and independent women, Some of them are also vindictive and uncompromising. C, Krogh.

The Vikings must have taken great care of their hair as one of the most common finds from the Viking Age are combs made of wood or bone. Both men and women.

Although our sources of information are limited, it's clear that the roles of men and women in Norse society were quite distinct. Norse society was male dominated. Each gender had a set of expected behaviors, and that line could not be crossed with impunity.

Picture a Viking. Do you see a young, strong, red- or blonde-haired man in front of you? Perhaps there is something in this. They are like date palms and their skin is reddish".

In , a team of Swedish archaeologists announced an exciting discovery: They had, for the first time, identified the remains of a Viking woman warrior. The skeleton in question was originally discovered in in a grave known as Bj. Lacking the scientific knowledge available today to determine the biological sex of human remains, the 19th-century archaeologists looked at the objects buried with the skeleton — weapons like swords and spears, shields, and even the remains of several horses — and declared the human remains to have belonged to a male warrior.





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