For Vikings, the domestic environment was colourful and anything but grey, colourless and harsh. They wore ornaments of glossy bronze, weapons of burnished steel and artistically-ornamented combs that they wore together with their clothing.

Textile fragments from graves show that even in simple agricultural environments, not only wool but silk and linen too were available. Textiles were generally dyed with plant materials and dyes were based largely on local flora. Pigment analyses of runes and pictorial stones reveal that these too were colourfully painted. 


Viking children learnt from stories (sagas) told by the experienced elders in the Viking Village. They learnt important skills like boat building and weaving by spending time with the elders in the community. 

Viking market towns became large centres for the crafts in which Vikings excelled – woodworking, smithing and metalwork, bone and antler work 

Viking craftspersons used many different materials like textiles, metal (wrought iron, steel and precious metal), wood, bone and horn, leather, glass and pottery. They were skilful and had great knowledge when it came to the best way of working up their raw material. Their craft was the result of ancient learning and traditions. 


A typical element of craftsmanship was the ability to transform finished products acquired from foreign countries. Such objects originally had a certain function but assumed a different significance in Viking Age culture. Craft, especially metal craft, had a mythological significance, the Aesir/gods forged metal. Forging in this context means creating or making. The gods were regarded as craftspersons in one sense or another and refinement of metal as a way of changing the world was created by the gods. For this reason, craftspersons also had to master the rituals that controlled certain forces in the world.

Viking Amulets

Vikings wore jewellery including neckpieces, brooches and cloak pins to represent their power and wealth. They were also very handy for holding their clothes up as Vikings did not have any buttons or zips! On their travels they traded and collected precious objects including silver and beads which they used to make their own jewellery. Vikings were accomplished leather and metal workers and you can see some of their beautiful jewellery in the Viking exhibition.

Main image: a woman sewing, Viking Museum, Lofted Islands, Norway. Image: Paolo Chiabrando, Unsplash