Why Viking Children Were Buried With Sharp Knives?

Posted by Ms Elly on

Why Viking Children Were Buried With Sharp Knives?

Excavations of the Vikings never cease amazing us with what were kept inside every mound. A finding of a mass burial site dating back to the Viking age showed many skeletons of kids buried with knives. This raises a question as to why children and knives were buried together which is somewhat awkward. 

A Danish archaeologist Henriette Lyngstrøm examined 40 knives that were found in a Danish Viking children burial site. The grave dating back to 800-1050AD. Nearly all of the knives turned out to be the sharp and razor ones. 

The grave site contained children around 4 - 8 years old. After careful examinations, archaeologists concluded that those knives were very sharp and razor. The steel and iron to make the knives were really sharp. 

Lyngstrøm a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Copenhagen thought the excavation was a big surprise. The knives were no toys because they were very sharp. 

Image of Viking knife

Excavation of Viking knives

Exciting as the excavation might be, no official conclusion upon those knives was drawn because of the lack of knowledge. The information we know about the Viking children was very infinite. Because there were hardly materials recording the life of the majority of ordinary children. Traces of the children in Norse saga were very few as well. This generally hinders our scholars from deciding the purpose of burying knives with the Viking children. 

Theories about the Viking knives buried 

Of course there must be theories upon this surprising and strange excavation. Many theories have been put forward but not any of them is persuasive enough to persuade all the scholars. But there was one thing to remember: the line between a child and an adult was very thin. It means the Viking children had to work and learn to survive since they were kids. Indeed, turning 12 in the Viking age was a very important milestone because since 12 years old, a kid was seen as an adult though he was yet to grow physically. Boys had to follow fathers to farm and into the jungle to hunt while girls were taught household skills by their mothers. That is to say, the childhood in the Viking age was different from ours. So carrying a knife since a little child wasn't something unbelievable. 

Plus, the Vikings often buried the dead with their daily personal items and things that could present the power of the dead. For example, the Viking warrior was likely to be buried with shield, axe, or horse. So a Viking child buried with a knife means that knives might have occupied an important role in their life. The knife that could easily be attached to the belt became an indispensable tool for the Vikings. 

Image of the walk to Vahalla

Steps to Valhalla

Or what if the knives were the last gifts of their parents? Their family might have wanted they could protect themselves in the afterlife. What if the living adults wanted knives to follow their kids to Valhalla in their afterlife? 

However, all of these are just theories and everything around this strange burial remains a mystery. All we can do is waiting for some future conclusion upon the knives buried with the Viking children. 

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