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6. Across the ocean: seafaring and overseas expansionlocked

  • Julian D. Richards

Abstract

What was it about the Vikings and their dragon-headed longships that makes them seem so distinctive in our imagination? Overseas exploits were not exceptional at that time. ‘Across the ocean: seafaring and overseas expansion’ looks at what archaeological discoveries can tell us about the accuracy of our image of the Vikings. The Vikings were accomplished seafarers but these discoveries reveal a more complex picture. Where has the image of the dragon-decorated ships come from? Were the Vikings raiders or traders first? They are said to have adopted many native customs and become part of a mixed group involved in a combination of exchange and raiding called ‘agressive trading’.

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