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Norwegian Vikings Purchased Silk From Persia

Update Date: Nov 02, 2013 04:55 PM EDT
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Trade connection between Persia and Norwegian Vikings has become more evident in a recent study. A complete network of traders from different places as well as cultures brought the silk to Nordic Countries, the study found.

The study has been performed by Marianne Vedeler who is Associate Professor at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo in Norway. Findings of her study will be published in the book “Silk for the Vikings,” coming this winter.

More than hundred of small silk fragments were found on the Oseberg ship. Experts believe that the same ship was excavated a century ago. Silk fragments were the oldest find of Viking Age silk in Norway.

Earlier when the Oseberg silk was discovered none expected the it could have been imported from Persia.

“Even though Birka has the highest number of burial sites containing silk, there are no other places where so much and such varied silk has been found in a single burial site as in Oseberg,” said Marianne Vedeler to the research magazine Apollon.

“When seeing it all in its totality, it’s more logical to assume that most of the silk was purchased in the East, rather than being looted from the British Isles.”

According to Vedeler, in the Viking Age, silk was imported to two main areas. The first one was Byzantium which is around the area of Constantinople. The second was the Persia.

She also believes that the silk may have been brought northwards through different paths.

“A band of traders joined up in Kiev. Along the river they were attacked by dangerous tribesmen. They needed to pass through rapids and cataracts. Then, slaves had to carry their boat,” she added, according to Apollon.

“We may safely assume that the Vikings engaged in trade, plunder, exchange of gifts and diplomatic relations in equal measure.”

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