According to history lessons, the Vikings were a very bloodthirsty lot and thought nothing of wiping out whole villages or taking their victims as slaves to work for them or just to be s*xual playthings.
However, a new study by researchers from the University of Oslo, Norway, suggests that the Vikings may have been even more bloodthirsty that was first thought and may have even taken their slaves to their graves with them.
According to the researchers, Viking graves found in Flakstad, Norway, that contained the remains of up to 10 people have been discovered. It appears that some of the bodies were that of the Vikings slaves as well as their masters.
One of the archaeologists of the study, Elise Naumann, said that the research team concluded that Viking slaves were sometimes buried alongside their masters. She added that they discovered this because they concentrated their study on graves that contained more that one body and they found several of these with bodies that were without their heads.
Naumann went on to say that the research team was very suspicious about these burials of more than one person. She added “They are poorly documented, and the definition of double burial was doubted at the time. It was thus strange that only one skull was retrieved from each double burial, but postcranial bones from two or three individuals.”
Naumann continued to say that some of the bodies had been buried completely intact while others had been decapitated before being buried.
An analysis of nitrogen and carbon isotopes of the bones of the bodies was done by the team to determine what the bodies had eaten before they had died. The findings showed that the bodies that were buried without their heads had survived on a completely different diet, thus confirming the belief that the heads belonged to slaves.
The results of the analysis also showed that most of the bodies found without their heads had existed on a poorer diet, mainly of fish, while the other bodies that had been buried intact, had eaten a more varied diet of red meat and dairy products.
Naumann concluded that the Vikings had apparently buried their slaves with them when they died as a sort of parting gift to their masters.