• Imagining History

10 Weird Viking Facts for Key Stage 2 Students

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

1. The name ‘Viking’ means a Pirate Raid. So a Viking can actually go and Viking.

2. Vikings were surprisingly clean and took pride in their appearance. Archaeologists have discovered combs, ear cleaners, razors and tweezers at burial sites.

3. Vikings loved Skiing! It is estimated that Skis were first invented in Scandinavia 6000 years ago and were used for both travel and fun. There was even a Viking god of Skiing; Ullr.

4. Vikings liked carving Runic Graffiti. In Maeshowe there is the inscription "Tholfir Kolbeinsson carved these runes high up"

5. Vikings used Onions to see how close to death a warrior with a wounded stomach was. They fed the warrior an onion and then smelt the cut. If that oniony smell could be whiffed then it meant the warrior could not be saved.

6. Vikings sold Unicorn Horns. They were actually horns taken from narwhals. But the Vikings were hardly going to mention that to the trader, Unicorn horns were far more valuable! This meant that Europeans for centuries believed Unicorns existed.

7. Sigurd the Mighty was killed by a decapitated head. He was riding on a horse with the severed head strapped behind him. The teeth of the bouncing bonce grazed his leg and caused an infection and later, death.

8. It is estimated that 25% of the English language comes from Old Norse. Anger, snot, ugly and lump all have Viking origins. They also gave us the word cake.

9. Vikings were huge Sport fans. One game was played with a ball and stick and called Knattleikr. It was a bit like hockey but with the additional body contact of American football.

10. Vikings kept bears as pets. Bear cubs would be trapped and then raised in captivity. There were stiff fines if a bear got loose and injured someone.

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