The Viking Age, which spanned from the late eighth to the mid-11th century, was a time of great exploration and innovation for the Norse people. Among the many remarkable achievements of this period was the Vikings' discovery of various metals and their mastery of metalworking techniques. Through their metal discoveries, the Vikings unlocked the secrets of the past, developed new weapons and tools, and paved the way for modern metallurgy.
Iron was one of the most important metals discovered by the Vikings. They found iron ore in various locations, including Sweden, Norway, and Iceland. The Vikings learned to extract the iron from the ore by heating it in a furnace with charcoal. This produced a substance known as wrought iron, which could be shaped and hardened through forging. The Vikings used wrought iron to create weapons such as swords, axes, and spears, as well as tools such as hammers and plows.
Another important metal discovery of the Vikings was silver. They found silver deposits in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, and became skilled at extracting the metal from the ore using a process called cupellation. This involved melting the ore with lead and other substances to separate the silver from the impurities. The Vikings used silver to create jewelry, decorative objects, and coins.
Gold was also a precious metal discovered by the Vikings. They found gold in various forms, including nuggets, dust, and ornaments. The Vikings used gold to create highly ornate jewelry and other objects, often incorporating intricate designs and symbolic motifs.
In addition to these metals, the Vikings also discovered bronze, a metal alloy made from copper and tin. They used bronze to create a variety of objects, including weapons, tools, and decorative items. Bronze was especially important for the Vikings' shipbuilding efforts, as it was used to create nails, rivets, and other hardware.
The Vikings' metal discoveries and mastery of metalworking techniques were a key factor in their success as a civilization. Their weapons and tools gave them a military advantage, while their jewelry and other decorative objects reflected their wealth and cultural sophistication. The Vikings' metalworking legacy continues to influence modern metallurgy and inspire new innovations in the field.
"The Vikings and Metals." Science Museum Group. https://group.sciencemuseum.org.uk/our-work/research-and-collections/vikings-and-metals/.
"The Viking Age." National Museum of Denmark. https://en.natmus.dk/historical-knowledge/denmark/prehistoric-period-until-1050-ad/the-viking-age/.
"Wrought Iron." Viking Answer Lady. http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/iron.shtml.