The name ‘Viking’ comes from a language called ‘Old Norse’ and means ‘a pirate raid’. Vikings traveled all over the world in their big ships and discovered lots of new things on their travels!
Some Vikings were bloodthirsty warriors and voyaged to new lands to fight but others came peacefully, to settle. They were skilled crafts people and made beautiful jewellery, wooden carvings and metal objects. They were also farmers keeping crops and animals.
The Vikings also met lots of new people on their sea voyages and traded their money and skills to buy silver, silks, spices, wine, jewellery, glass and pottery to bring back to their homes.
Join us on Facebook as we have fun making our own Viking crafts & then have a go at some of our Viking themed activities below too!
In AD865 an army of Vikings sailed across the North Sea and they wanted to conquer land. They fought in northern England, and took control of Northumbria , East Anglia and much of Mercia which had been Anglo Saxon Kingdoms.
A few years later, by AD874, almost all the kingdoms had fallen to the Vikings. The only Kingdom the Vikings didn’t capture was Wessex which was ruled by King Alfred the Great, and although he was able to beat the Viking army in battle, he wasn’t able to drive the Vikings out of Britain.
After many years of fighting the Vikings and Alfred made a peace agreement and they drew an imaginary line dividing England, from London in the south towards Chester in the north west.
The Anglo-Saxon lands were to the west and the Viking lands, known as the Danelaw, were to the east, including East Anglia! The most important city in the Danelaw was the city of York, or ‘Jorvik’, as the Vikings knew it. Over 10,000 people lived there and it was an important place to trade goods.
Many Vikings also settled in East Anglia and because good farmland was scarce in the Vikings’ own countries, they enjoyed life here and could grow crops, and make crafts.
One of the crafts Viking people made was beautiful jewellery. They used a mixture of materials including precious metals like gold and silver, precious gems and also things like simple pewter, bronze and animal bones. Men and women loved wearing jewellery and they wore things like rings, brooches, bracelets and necklaces to show their status.
Aedwen’s brooch was found locally, in Sutton, in 1694 though it was made in the early 11th century. Learn more about Aedwen’s brooch here and then have a go at designing your own!
Here and see Aedwen’s curse being read aloud in this special video made in 2015 when the brooch came to Ely Museum from the British Museum for a special exhibition
On the back of Aedwen’s brooch, there is a curse, written in runes. Runes are a Viking alphabet. Learn more about them here and have a go at writing in runes too!
Finally, learn all about Viking bynames, or nicknames here too and have a go at making your own! Why not give everyone at home their own special Viking byname too?
Do you know anyone boneless or with hairy trousers?!