Danish Vikings 'may have made their own wine'
The Vikings liked alcohol, but while it is easy enough to grow crops and produce beer in the Danish climate, wine is a different challenge and was thought to have always been imported from southern parts of Europe to northern countries.
|Excavations at the Viking settlement at Tissø [Credit: Anne Birgitte Gotfredsen/Nationalmuseet]|
Results of the analysis could be the final piece of evidence needed to prove that wine was produced in Denmark during the Viking era, says the report.
“This is the first discovery and sign of wine production in Denmark, with all that that entails in terms of status and power. We do not know how [the grapes] were used – it may have been just to have a pretty bunch of grapes decorating a table, for example – but it is reasonable to believe that they made wine,” archaeological botanist and museum curator Peter Steen Henriksen of Denmark’s National Museum told Videnskab.dk.
|Denmark's earliest grape seeds, ca. 550-980 AD [Credit: Peter Steen Henriksen]|
Henriksen sent the pips to the National Museum, where they underwent strontium isotope tests similar to those that confirmed Danish preserved bodies the Skydstrup girl and the Egtved girl originated from geographical areas further south in Europe. The tests showed that the Viking era grape was probably grown on Zealand, reports Videnskab.dk.
“Before we only had suspicions, but now we can see that they actually had grapes and therefore the resources to produce [wine] themselves. Suddenly it all becomes very real,” professor Karin Margarita Frei of the National Museum told Videnskab.dk.
|Map showing grape seed find spots at Lake Tissø site [Credit: Peter Steen Henriksen]|
Although it is also possible that the grapes were grown to be consumed as fruit, the Vikings are known to have come across wine on their voyages abroad, and Roman wine cups and other remnants of wine have been found in Scandinavia. The climate in the region was also similar to the present-day climate, making it possible to grow grapes.
The results of the study have been published in the Danish Journal of Archaeology.
Source: The Local [April 29, 2017]