Historical Reads: Women's Work And Family In The Viking Age


Over at The Freelance History Writer, Susan Abernethy discusses women's work and family in the Viking age. To quote:

Grave goods signify the type of work related to women during the Viking Age. These objects indicate women’s tasks were related to the preparation of food and clothing. Women were responsible for bringing up children and caring for the elderly. They did have the ability to become merchants, work outdoors on the farm and perform carpentry and leatherwork as well as practice medicine. Burials indicate women could achieve a high social standing in rural communities. The sumptuous burial of Oseberg especially shows women attained power, influence and wealth. But these women were the exception.

The introduction of Christianity in Scandinavia opened up the opportunity for women to travel on pilgrimages to the far reaches of the known world. It is clear from the rune stones and saga evidence that women did travel and helped colonize Iceland, Greenland, Scotland and the Faroe Islands and even North America. There is clear evidence women also accompanied men on trading and raiding voyages, especially in England. Burials in the trading centers of Birka, Hedeby and others suggest women did engage in trade and manufacturing and crafts either alone or with their husbands. It is clear women played an integral role during the Viking Age.


To read the entire article, click here.