Viking Age Triggered by Shortage of Wives?

The Oseberg ship

The Oseberg ship

From the discovery.com article:
During the Viking Age from the late eighth to the mid-eleventh centuries, Scandinavians tore across Europe attacking, robbing and terrorizing locals. According to a new study, the young warriors were driven to seek their fortunes to better their chances of finding wives.

The odd twist to the story, said researcher James Barrett, is that it was the selective killing of female newborns that led to a shortage of Scandinavian women in the first place, resulting later in intense competition over eligible women.

“Selective female infanticide was recorded as part of pagan Scandinavian practice in later medieval sources, such as the Icelandic sagas,” Barrett, who is deputy director of Cambridge University’s McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, told Discovery News.

Although it’s believed many cultures throughout world history have practiced female infanticide, said Barrett, he admits that “it is difficult to identify in the archaeological record,” so the claim “must remain a hypothesis.”

To strengthen the argument, however, Barrett has reviewed and dismissed several other proposed causes for the Viking Age.

Read the article here.

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