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What A Viking's Smile Revealed
New Scientist ^ | 1-7-2006

Posted on 01/08/2006 2:12:41 PM PST by blam

What a Viking's smile revealed

07 January 2006

VIKING warriors may have filed deep grooves into their teeth to indicate class or military rank.

Caroline Arcini of Sweden's National Heritage Board analysed 557 skeletons from four major Viking-age Swedish cemeteries and discovered that around 10 per cent of men, but none of the women, bore horizontal grooves across the upper front teeth.

The marks, which were cut deep into the enamel, are often found in pairs or triplets and appear precisely made. They might have marked certain men as members of a group of tradesmen or warriors, or signified their ability to withstand pain, says Arcini, who published her findings in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.20164). Most of the men bearing the grooves were young, but in the absence of any distinctive injuries or artefacts buried with the skeletons, the exact reason for the marks remains a mystery.

This is the first known case of tooth filing in Europe, but it was common practice in the Americas between AD 800 and 1050. Since the skeletons date from around the same time, this raises the possibility that the Vikings picked up the practice during their travels. Arcini hopes future finds will reveal where the practice arose and how it spread.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; revealed; smile; vikings; what
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1 posted on 01/08/2006 2:12:43 PM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 01/08/2006 2:13:13 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Recorded contacts with the "screllings" by Leif Ericsson and others were extremely limited, thus I'd doubt they picked the custom in North America.
3 posted on 01/08/2006 2:20:11 PM PST by GSlob
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To: blam
This article involves Swedish vikings. I wonder if they are going to study the Norwegians and Danes as well. The Swedes always do things differently than the other 2 Scandinavian countries. They always seem to be the odd man out =P
4 posted on 01/08/2006 2:23:57 PM PST by Theoden (Fidei Defensor - Deus vult!)
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To: GSlob
Leif Eriksen was Norwegian not Swedish. Actually, the Swedes were operating almost exclusively in Russia and Byzantium, while the other vikings went to North America. I think it may just be coincidental that they did the same types of things with their teeth.
5 posted on 01/08/2006 2:25:41 PM PST by Theoden (Fidei Defensor - Deus vult!)
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To: Theoden

This is what happens when you try and brush with your swords. . .


6 posted on 01/08/2006 2:30:55 PM PST by CondorFlight
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To: blam
They might have marked certain men as members of a group of tradesmen or warriors, or signified their ability to withstand pain, says Arcini, who published her findings in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.20164).

Or, it could be analogous the Hell's Angel's "Red Wings" patches on their jackets.

I hate it when so-called scientists speculate wildly.

7 posted on 01/08/2006 2:39:53 PM PST by Rudder
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To: blam

Picture from the original article.

8 posted on 01/08/2006 2:43:08 PM PST by blam
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To: Theoden
I thought it was the Swedes who gave us the occasional blond Irishman...
9 posted on 01/08/2006 3:01:17 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (Don't buy Bose. Their warranty is no good.)
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To: GSlob

"Skralings" rather than Screllings. Translates to "wretches".


10 posted on 01/08/2006 3:05:10 PM PST by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

No that would have been a Norwegian or a Dane. I come from a long line of Norwegian red-heads - where do you think the Irish got their red hair from?


11 posted on 01/08/2006 3:05:41 PM PST by Caramelgal (I don't have a tag line.... I am a tag line. So tag, you are it.)
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To: Caramelgal

As in Eric th Red...


12 posted on 01/08/2006 3:07:58 PM PST by null and void (The lesson of the holocaust: if someone says they are going to kill you, pay attention.)
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To: blam

It's entirely possible they were trying to perform root canals on themselves.



13 posted on 01/08/2006 3:15:11 PM PST by Fintan (See??? Sometimes I do read the articles.)
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To: Theoden
Western and Southwestern Sweden were an area of Sweden that sometimes fell under the control of Denmark or Norway. If from the Goteborg area they would probably have done their "Viking" in the North Atlantic.

See:

http://www.algonet.se/~hogman/slkrig_eng.htm

The modern boundaries were essentially established after the treaty of Roskild in 1648.
14 posted on 01/08/2006 3:19:50 PM PST by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: Rudder

How would a MC Club respond if you referred to their "colors" as a jacket in their presence?


15 posted on 01/08/2006 3:26:38 PM PST by ASA Vet (Those who know don't talk, those who talk don't know.)
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To: Caramelgal
where do you think the Irish got their red hair from?

From Neandertals, same as all red heads.


16 posted on 01/08/2006 3:28:37 PM PST by ASA Vet (Those who know don't talk, those who talk don't know.)
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To: Pete from Shawnee Mission

And now the Vikings are falling under the control of the Muslims, funny how fickle fate is.


17 posted on 01/08/2006 3:28:53 PM PST by ABN 505
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To: blam
A little jumping to conclusions here.

Women who weave or spin can get grooves in their front teeth where they bite off the threads. I would look for a possible occupational cause (perhaps a mouth guard on a helmet or balancing the edge of a shield for young warriors?) as another cause.

Anybody else remember all the jumping to conclusions in The Motel of the Mysteries?

18 posted on 01/08/2006 3:30:24 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: Pete from Shawnee Mission

I once saw it spelled "skraelings"; the writer said this term described the Indians' war whoops and screams when they were attacking the Vinland settlement.


19 posted on 01/08/2006 3:31:58 PM PST by elcid1970
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To: Fintan
I've got a theory,Cause of death "Bad dentistry".
20 posted on 01/08/2006 3:32:37 PM PST by justrepublican (Screaming like a keynote speaker at a Wellstone memorial.........!)
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To: AnAmericanMother

"The Motel of the Mysteries"

Hilarious book, but so true! I had an archeologist tell me once that they operate in the realm of guess and speculation, not always provable fact.


21 posted on 01/08/2006 3:36:36 PM PST by kalee
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To: Rudder
Or, it could be analogous the Hell's Angel's "Red Wings" patches on their jackets.

Make that “Hells Angels” – not “Hell's Angel's” – and “colors”, not “jackets”. I can’t really see how the act denoted by the red wings would result in grooved teeth.
22 posted on 01/08/2006 3:37:57 PM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: blam
I thought that Vikings were scarred on their front teeth as a natural job injury from their no-hands, acrobatic, waterskiing maneuvers.


23 posted on 01/08/2006 3:39:28 PM PST by Cvengr (<;^))
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To: ASA Vet
How would a MC Club respond if you referred to their "colors" as a jacket in their presence?

Good point. LOL!

But my Norton can outrun their Hogs.(Once I get it started)

24 posted on 01/08/2006 3:47:49 PM PST by Rudder
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To: blam

I was going to guess proto-English dentistry.


25 posted on 01/08/2006 3:48:44 PM PST by RichInOC ("Yeah, baby, yeah!")
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To: Rudder
Vikings take their colors seriously, ... and they don't ride no stinkin' hogs, neither!;^)


26 posted on 01/08/2006 3:53:15 PM PST by Cvengr (<;^))
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To: R. Scott

I don't have grooved teeth.


27 posted on 01/08/2006 3:53:48 PM PST by ASA Vet (Those who know don't talk, those who talk don't know.)
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To: RichInOC

Marks left by loose braces due to poor quality early orthodontics.


28 posted on 01/08/2006 3:55:25 PM PST by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: ASA Vet

Me neither - but then again, my teeth rest in a cup.


29 posted on 01/08/2006 3:55:50 PM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: Caramelgal
"I come from a long line of Norwegian red-heads - where do you think the Irish got their red hair from?"

The incidence of red-hair in Libya is the same as that in Ireland.

30 posted on 01/08/2006 3:59:51 PM PST by blam
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To: R. Scott

Red wings most definitely does NOT cause grooved teeth. LOL


31 posted on 01/08/2006 4:02:53 PM PST by packrat35 (The America hating bastards at the NYT must spend their entire life with their heads in the toilet)
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To: ASA Vet
"where do you think the Irish got their red hair from?"

" From Neandertals, same as all red heads."

Red-Heads 'Are Neanderthal'

32 posted on 01/08/2006 4:05:44 PM PST by blam
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To: Cvengr
Holy Mackerel!!Is their a porpoise for that?
33 posted on 01/08/2006 4:11:41 PM PST by Rudder
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To: packrat35
Red wings most definitely does NOT cause grooved teeth. LOL

I dunno...maybe Vagina dentata was prevalent then.

34 posted on 01/08/2006 4:18:06 PM PST by Rudder
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To: blam

Exactly


35 posted on 01/08/2006 4:19:34 PM PST by ASA Vet (Those who know don't talk, those who talk don't know.)
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To: blam

Yes, but what does a Viking Kitty's smile reveal?


36 posted on 01/08/2006 4:56:30 PM PST by Francis McClobber
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To: blam

Might have been a mark of membership in the Berserkers.


37 posted on 01/08/2006 5:00:34 PM PST by wildbill
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To: blam

Looks like toothbrush abrasion from ultra-stiff bristles of the time. Alas,that makes the advice of soft toothbrushes centuries, not decades old.


38 posted on 01/08/2006 5:33:20 PM PST by dersepp (I Am A Militia Of One)
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To: elcid1970
Skraling may be an anglicized form. I did an Internet search using "eric the red Skralings" and the first 5 or so results were Skraling.

I checked an online icelandic dictionary at:
http://www.zece.com/icelandic/?a=sh&le=s
Gives the definition as:
skrælingi n. m. barbarian, eskimo (-ja, -jar)

Note that in Icelandic and old english AE is a single letter, Ash. We would probly translate at the letter A.

Since the the modern Icelandic definition comes 10 centuries later, I checked several on-line English Norse dictionary. the only entry I found gave "Armr" (Cf German arme, poor, wretched).

I suspect that the definition "wretch" was one I learned from reading the introduction to a translated saga. (probably published by Penguin.) I would keep keep searching for the on-line Norse but I already see that I have spent too much time on this little search.
39 posted on 01/08/2006 5:40:28 PM PST by Pete from Shawnee Mission (In Old Norse Lassie meant unmarried girl, and Husband meant master of the house.)
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To: Pete from Shawnee Mission

Thank you for your research. I've been wondering since the fourth grade (yes, that's when I first heard of Leif Ericson and Vinland), just why did the Vikings quit Vinland? They could handle the skraelings. Was it a matter of logistics?


40 posted on 01/08/2006 5:50:24 PM PST by elcid1970
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To: blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; StayAt HomeMother; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; asp1; ...
Thanks Blam! To all, info on L'Anse aux Meadows.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

41 posted on 01/08/2006 7:32:56 PM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this URL -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/pledge)
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To: elcid1970
Partly. But the other side was population.

The Vikings at that point were only slightly more advanced then the locals. The Viking had swords but that is only a slight advance over a spear. And vikings did not really fight as a unit. They fought as warriors not as solders. So they had no tactical advantage and only slight technological advantage. They were not on familiar ground and they were at a numerical disadvantage.

Advantage, the skraelings.

42 posted on 01/08/2006 7:44:44 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (Proud member of the Free Republic Humility Club. We are twice as humble as you are.)
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To: ASA Vet

Never got on the wrong side of a redhead...particularly her gun. ;-)


43 posted on 01/08/2006 7:46:16 PM PST by Pyro7480 (Sancte Joseph, terror daemonum, ora pro nobis!)
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To: AnAmericanMother
as another cause.

Good point. These people weren't as stupid as the elitist academia makes them out to be. Grinding down your teeth for a show of some kind of prowess could be a death sentence back then.

Grinding them down during necessary tasks for the tribe's survival is another story.

44 posted on 01/08/2006 8:12:57 PM PST by lizma
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To: CondorFlight

clever...very clever


45 posted on 01/08/2006 8:15:04 PM PST by wallcrawlr (Pray for the troops [all the troops here and abroad]: Success....and nothing less!!)
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To: blam
cleavage lines carved so you toof break cleanly when you git hit inna mouf.

So9

46 posted on 01/08/2006 9:39:54 PM PST by Servant of the 9 (Trust Me)
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To: elcid1970

"Handling" the Indians, especially before smallpox, would have been very difficult without gunpowder. Figure that any Indians living up in the tough climate of Newfoundland were as physically tough as the Vikings. Figure, too, that they'd be much better adapted to the country, know what to eat, etc.
The Vikings didn't have any appreciable advantage in missile weapons or in toughness (Amerindians were not pacifist, celibate monks living in monasteries, but savage warriors and hunters; the Vikings were tame and settled compared to them).
Figure the Vikings would have to plant things to eat, which the Indians could easily burn.

Trying to populate North America pre-smallpox, pre-gunpowder would have been a losing affair, I'd expect. And all the moreso if you're trying to settle Newfoundland and Labrador. Sure, Vikings come from cold country too, but they KNEW that cold country, and were settled there, had farms and livestock, etc. No livestock to capture in North America. Farming L'Anse aux Meadows was apt to be grim business.

It was probably a bridge too far for the Vikings to pull off, and what promise was there in the place anyway? Greenland and Iceland were essentially unpopulated, so the Vikings could sail in and set up shop. But Vinland was swarming with savages more savage than the Vikings, reproducing like rabbits, with nothing to trade, and it was a frozen hellhole to boot.


47 posted on 01/08/2006 9:48:54 PM PST by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: blam
This is the first known case of tooth filing in Europe, but it was common practice in the Americas between AD 800 and 1050.

Almost proof positive the Vikings were here long before Columbus.

48 posted on 01/08/2006 10:00:07 PM PST by Dustbunny
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To: packrat35

Nope!


49 posted on 01/09/2006 3:42:27 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: Vicomte13
Actually, to begin with Greenland and Vinland were not icy hellholes, but rather pleasant considering their north latitude (that's why they named it VINland.)

I think the advent of the Little Ice Age is what doomed the outlying settlements. The first settlements began during the Medieval Warm Period, but when the Ice Age set in they were frozen out and cut off (the local aborigines and the plague behind them in Europe didn't help either.)

50 posted on 01/09/2006 6:32:58 AM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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