Debate: Viking Age Should Be Renamed As Steel Age

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Debate: Viking Age Should Be Renamed As Steel Age

The Viking Age should be called the Steel Age because it presented what was the basic material for survival in the Viking era, said a Danish archaeologist. Since then, it has become a debate among scholars. 

The beginning of the 19th century witnessed the official classification of the history into three time periods: Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. It is the Three-age System that divided the history based on the underpinning material used in each period. 

One hundred years later, another scholar placed the Viking Age among the Iron Age and the Middle Age. But the "Viking Age" didn't suggest any major tool in their society. Rather, it was a transiting phase, an intermediate period of time among the other two. 

Common knowledge is that the Viking Age started in 793 when the Vikings first launched their hit-and-run raid on Lindisfarne monastery. But the Viking Age stretched prior to the attack in 793. And if you happened to travel back time to the Viking Age and you asked them what era was that, they would not say "Viking Age". Because the Vikings didn't even call themselves Vikings. 

The basic problem is that "Vikings" refers to those living in Scandinavia sharing the same culture and ethnicity. But the archaeological evidence showed that Scandinavian parts were also occupied by people from other regions. Another problem was that there was no big change in the main material culture between the Iron Age and the Viking Age. Moreover, the archaeologist believed that calling it "Viking Age" didn't make sense. Rather, it fostered the image of brutal Viking warriors to the mind. 

Accordingly, the archaeologist turned into the domestic archaeological material. 

One suggestion was the "Sailing Age" referring to the advancement in sailing to facilitate raids and the prerequisite for international trade. But "Sailing Age" didn't go well with the "Iron Age" where sails were not preserved. 

Accordingly, "Steel Age" is the best option, as it goes well with some aspects from Iron Age but also refers to something new and innovative in this time. 

But the idea of changing "Viking Age" into "Steel Age" met with disagreement.

Many reasons have been voiced to go against the idea of changing "Viking Age" into "Steel Age".

Should we rename "Viking Age" into "Steel Age"?

It can be appropriate to change "Viking Age" into "Steel Age" in the future. But not now. Why have to change when what "Viking Age" can express stretches beyond a warrior-producing age. It refers to the spirit and the toughness of the people as well. Not many scholars believe "Steel Age" can do the same stuff

Archaeologist Jens Ulriksen head of research at the Museum of South East Denmark disagreed. He thought the brand "Viking Age" was a good brand. What we are interested is what happened during the era rather than what it is called. So there is no need to change the name and people around the corner are now getting used to the name of "Viking Age".

Personal opinion is that I prefer "Viking Age". The misleading image media depict the Vikings cannot affect our mind unless we allow it to do so. If we dwell into the Viking Era deep enough, we will just realize the Vikings were not merely the brutal warriors. And the Viking Age was not just a warrior-producing age but also a foundation phase for the upcoming era in the future. 

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