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The Gokstad ship at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway. The Gokstad ship is a late 9th century Viking ship found beneath a burial mound at Gokstad farm in Norway. It was excavated in 1880 by Nicolay Nicolaysen.
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The Viking Age

The Viking Age was a time period in Scandinavia between 793 AD and 1066 AD. These dates are when Norwegian Vikings landed and raided parts of England (793) and when the English successfully fought off the Norwegian King Harald III’s invasion attempt (1066 AD). During these 250+ years, the Vikings explored and colonized much of Europe, and parts of Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, and even North America.

Before the Viking Age, Scandinavia was settled by Germanic tribes. Most of the Viking people lived in communities near or on the coast. Although it is not clear what made these people begin exploring their world, some archaeologists think it may be related to climate change.

Several different causes have been suggested for the end of the Viking Age. Sociologists note that many royal houses in Europe and the rise of Christianity made the overall area more stable. Also, the end of the Viking Age was when the beginning of the ‘Little Ice Age’ was. The Little Ice Age was a period of global cooling that began around 1250 and is known to have increased North Atlantic pack ice. This would have made it harder for the Vikings to cross the ocean waters, so travel would have lessened.

Last modified March 5, 2008 by Jennifer Bergman.

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