A vivid picture of the Vikings that draws on the latest discoveries and augments written evidence with fine archaeological detail.
Here is the complete story of the Vikings from their origins in Scandinavia during the early first millennium AD, through the incredible period of raiding, trading, and settling known as the Viking Age and the huge impact that the Vikings had on the course of European history, to the last surviving Viking settlements in fifteenth-century Greenland.
The book explores Viking life and culture in detail, from their costumes and appearance to their longhouses and towns, including Hedeby, York, and Dublin, and the extensive Viking pantheon. Viking warfare, targets, and tactics are analyzed, as are their weapons, crafts, and other artifactsincluding their stunning pattern-welded swords, their helmets, and their hoards. The ship, the linchpin of the Viking world, is described and illustrated with numerous examples, among them Oseberg and Nydam. Box features complement the text, covering subjects as diverse as runes, navigation, silver hoards, and the sagas. 330 illustrations, 165 in color.
In a very readable narrative, Hall (director of archaeology, York Archaeological Trust, U.K.; The Viking Dig) ably presents Viking civilization, from its origins during the early first millennium C.E. to the final 15th-century settlements in Greenland. He also uses archaeological evidence to refute misconceptions perpetuated by the media (e.g., that Vikings wore horned or winged helmets). Among the hundreds of black-and-white and color illustrations are photographs of archaeological sites, drawings reconstructing Viking ways, color maps, and wonderful, mostly color photographs of Viking antiquities, some of which are fine examples of Viking art. Other features are sidebars with summaries of topics related to each chapter's time period, a gazetteer of where to find Viking archaeological sites and museums, and a time line of Viking history. Hall provides a wonderful introduction to the world of the Vikings, for whom he clearly has a great affinity. Recommended for history collections in public and academic libraries.