A Viking Mystery

Historical Viking Revelation of the Week
July 2011 Dorset, England

Unearthed 2009 Weymouth:
54 skeletons
51 skulls
all male and in their late teens to about 25
1 individual with intentional dental modification

Image: Oxford Archaeology

Historical Importance:
This 10th or 11th century find in Weymouth has indicated that Vikings participated in tooth filing like other Scandinavian cultures. “Teeth with neat parallel grooves have been found in Viking graves in Sweden, Denmark and England, and farther afield”

The purpose behind such an uncomfortable practice is still being sorted out by
experts. However, some pose that it was to frighten, or intimidate opponents.

Image: Oxford Archaeology

I like this idea in an amusing sort of way:
To show their furrows, the individuals would have had to smile quite broadly and to be visible from any distance they would need to be ‘coloured’. However, this would have disappeared when they ate and drank, so they would have had to reapply regularly. Their “dental bling” would have needed to be applied after meals, like lipstick, and really, how intimidating is the look of rotten teeth?

Image: Hans Splinter, Flickr.


This post is part of the January is Viking Month blog series. To read the next post, A Link in the Viking Chain, click here. To see the series page click here.

One thought on “A Viking Mystery

  1. Cynthia Ravinski says:

    The BBC just posted this story http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-16708401 about the site discussed above. New suspicions is that the Vikings buried here were mercenaries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.