Vikings Recast as Cultured Fashionistas

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2008 3:09 PM CDT
The Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick on the Shetland Isles, Scotland.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Vikings were just as interested in preening and handicrafts as they were in war and pillaging, the Telegraph reports. In a bid to educate youngsters who could well have Viking ancestry, British researchers are trying to change the popular view of the Norse explorers. "It seems that the Vikings may not have been as hairy and dirty as is commonly imagined," says a Cambridge University guide.

“The truth is that their culture was very artistic and they were keen to make an impression because they (wanted) to cultivate a certain look,” a Cambridge professor said. They wore baggy pants and jewelry (no horned helmets) and were well groomed. A burial ground unearthed in England shows they were interred with weapons, but also with crafts and riding equipment. “They were a settled and remarkably civilized people,” said an archaeologist.