Horses and dogs sailed with Vikings to Britain, say scientists

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Icelandic horseImage source, Getty Images

By Georgina Rannard

Climate and subject reporter

Vikings sailing from Scandinavia to England brought horses, dogs and possibly adjacent pigs with them, according to investigation of bony remains.

Invading Vikings were antecedently thought to person mostly stolen animals from villages successful Britain.

The findings besides supply grounds Viking leaders had a adjacent narration with animals and travelled with them, the pb idiosyncratic says.

The 9th Century bones were recovered successful burial mounds successful Heath Wood, Derbys.

Cremated carnal and quality remains had been recovered buried together, suggesting the creatures had peculiar meaning and been burned connected the aforesaid ceremonial pyre arsenic humans, doctoral researcher Tessi Löffelmann, from Durham University and Vrije Universiteit Brussels, told BBC News.

Image source, Tessi Löffelmann

Image caption,

Fragments of cremated equine bones were recovered successful Heath Wood

"They were treated much similar companion animals alternatively than conscionable for economical purposes," she said.

"I find it truly touching and it suggests we underestimate conscionable however important animals were to Vikings."

The horses and dogs would person travelled connected Viking longboats crossed the North Sea, a travel that could instrumentality respective weeks.

"Horses backmost past were smaller than horses are now, which could person made the travel a small spot much accommodating, but it was inactive astir apt bedewed and uncomfortable," Ms Löffelmann said.

Prof Julian Richards, from the University of York, who co-directed the excavations, said: "The Bayeux Tapestry depicts Norman cavalry disembarking horses from their fleet but this is the archetypal technological objection that Viking warriors were transporting horses to England 200 years earlier."

Image source, Tessi Löffelmann

Image caption,

Scientists excavated Scandinavian burial mounds successful Derbyshire

Norse mythology and 13th Century sagas amusement animals played a large relation successful Viking life.

The scientists besides recovered a pig bony successful Heath Wood, the lone ample Scandinavian cremation tract successful Britain, but this whitethorn person been a token oregon portion of a crippled brought from Scandinavia, alternatively than a unrecorded animal.

They discovered the animals had travel from Scandinavia by analysing the strontium successful their bones.

This constituent occurs people successful rocks, ungraded and water, earlier making its mode into plants - and, erstwhile these are eaten, bones and teeth.

Archaeologist Cat Jarman, who has worked astatine Heath Wood but was not progressive successful the research, said utilizing this method connected cremated bony was "really exciting" due to the fact that galore Viking burials utilized cremation.

"It has opened up a full caller avenue of evidence," she said.

The findings are published successful technological diary Plos One.

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