Vikings Weren’t All About The Booty

New research claims that sightseeing and collecting souvenirs were among the Vikings’ reasons for invading Britain

Vikings have gone down in history as uncivilised savages who murdered monks, kidnapped people into slavery, destroyed churches and raided villages.

But a new study suggests the eighth-century Viking raiders were motivated to risk stormy seas by much more than just acquiring wealth. The Vikings were also driven by the desire for adventure, the seeking of social capital and the opportunity to build one’s reputation.

Dr Steve Ashby, of the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, says “the lure of the exotic, of the world beyond the horizon, was an important factor.”

“Classic anthropology has shown that the mystique of the exotic is a powerful force, and something that leaders and people of influence often use to prop up their power base.”

Discuss this article


Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
We use our own and third-party cookies to improve our services, personalise your advertising and remember your preferences. If you continue browsing, or click on the accept button on this banner, we understand that you accept the use of cookies on our website. For more information visit our Cookies Policy AcceptClose cookie policy overlay