Ten centuries ago, Vikings lived in northern Europe, in an area that now includes Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Vikings were infamous pirates and warriors, terrorizing Europe for hundreds of years. But warfare was not their only pursuit. They excelled on the sea, and were among the best shipbuilders of their time. Learn more at the following sites.
From the first Viking raid on Britain in 794, until their final expulsion from Scotland in 1468, the Vikings were in Great Britain for seven hundred years. This BBC School site explores the Viking invasion, Viking life and Viking beliefs. My favorite click is the Shockwave game, Thorkal and the Trading Ship, where you visit the Jorvik (now known as York) to buy five gifts for your captain's family in Norway. For more multimedia fun, visit BBC History: The Vikings.
The NOVA Vikings television program and this companion website examine "a new, less barbarian image of the Norsemen based on recent archeological investigations." Highlights are the articles about the Viking long ships, the rune alphabet ("See your name spelled in runes") , and the science of tree rings used by archeologists to date the remains of wooden Norse ships. Build a Tree-Ring Timeline is an exercise in matching the unique patterns that form a tree's fingerprint to create a chronology of trees from specific forests.
In western Gotland (an island in the Baltic Sea, off the shore of Sweden) , Frojel was one of the most important trading places of the Viking era. Spend a sunny summer eleventh-century afternoon there, courtesy of the Frojel link on the front page. After your multimedia time travel, click on General Information for a Viking introduction, time line, maps, and photos. To finish your adventure, there are two interactive quizzes: one simple and the other more advanced. "Did the Vikings have horns on their helmets?" The answer might surprise you.
William Bakken created this site as a college project in 1996. It covers both the facts and fallacy of Vikings in North America. I was immediately drawn to the dispelling of Viking hoaxes, as I had not seen this covered in any other sites. "There have been many claims for the discovery of Viking artifacts in North America, but most of them have been proven to be hoaxes, or are not accepted for other reasons." See the Minnesota and Miscellaneous sections for a discussion of the Kensington Rune Stone (discovered in 1898 in Minnesota) and other dubious artifacts..
1000 years ago Norseman, the first Europeans to set foot in the New World, landed in Newfoundland, Canada. "The Vikings did not stay long in North America, but the story of their arrival and contacts with the Native Americans is a remarkable tale, or in Nordic terms, a saga." The Smithsonian online exhibit is interesting, but the Viking Voyage, a narrated multimedia sail across "the stormy seas of the North Atlantic in your own longship," is amazing. Don't miss it.