Unsolved Puzzle: "Allah" Found on the Viking Funeral Clothes

Posted by Ms Elly on

Unsolved Puzzle: "Allah" Found on the Viking Funeral Clothes

As time progresses, the archaeologists make more effort to unveil layers of mystery covering the Viking history. Interesting as usual, archaeologists found out a burial site in Sweden. What stoke their attention the most was the small remains of the funeral clothes inside it. After carrying out some study, archaeologists claimed that the patterns depicted "Allah" which was the god in Muslim. 

The small and deteriorated piece of clothes found inside the 9th or 10th-century grave was initially thought to be so much important. But the result after studying the textile showed a relationship between the Vikings and the Muslim. 

This discovery of "Allah" pattern was carried out by textile archaeologist Annika Larsson of Uppsala University. That was when she was studying the burial costumes of both men and women in the grave excavated in Birka and Gamla Uppsala in the 20th century. 

Image of Viking burial ship items

A reconstruction of the Viking ship burial in an exhibition at the Enkopings Museum (Cre: NYTimes.com)

Of interest is that Larsson found out that the material of the clothes might have come from central Asia. The design which was as high as 1.5cm (0.6n) in height was nothing similar to the Scandinavian patterns she studied before. 

Puzzle remains unsolved 

Once again, Larsson claimed that she was not looking at the Viking patterns. Because it resembled the ancient Arabian Kufic script, an ancient calligraphic form. There were two words that kept appearing on the textile. One word, with the help of her Iranian co-worker, was "Ali" the fourth caliph of Islam from 656 to 661 AD. But the second word was truly difficult to decipher. 

By enlarging the pattern, Larsson figured out that it was the word "Allah" (God) that was written in the mirroring letter. 

Image of Viking artifact explained

Analysis of the patterns found in graves excavated in Sweden. This reveals "Allah" (God) in Arabic script.


This finding of Larsson raised questions about the occupants of the grave. It is impossible to tell who exactly they were. But the chance that they were Muslim could not be sorted out. Because some other Viking graves included the people with DNA not originated in Scandinavia but somewhere in Persia where was dominated by Muslim. But there was no official conclusion over the grave with the pattern "Allah". So it is hard to tell whether they were Muslim or just the Vikings who once traded with the Muslim and got influenced by the burial tradition. 

Larsson also added to her research that she was not saying that they were the Muslim. Instead, she would believe that it was the Scandinavian people who had been taking part in an international route, enjoying a viewpoint shared by people of different religion. Because there have been some Viking artifacts excavated showing various religions across the world, for example, the Viking Buddha Statue in Helgo, Sweden. 

Exciting as the discovery might be, no official conclusion has been made. That is to say the answer to this puzzle must lie somewhere in the future ahead. 

Older Post Newer Post

Recent Articles


  • Good point, Andy! Viking warriors always welcomed knowledge whatever form it might take!!!

    Ms Elly on

  • It is well known that Vikings travelled to Arab Countries, and that they served as mercenaries, in many countries. They brought to their homelands, silver, gold, precious stones, and materials, it is known that they adopted Christianity, whilst still honouring the old god’s, possibly they also adopted Allah, or maybe didn’t understand the insignia ?

    Andy Randell on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published