Horned helmets predate Vikings by 3,000 years, originating in the Bronze Age, researchers say

However, two helmets with horns first discovered in Vixo, Denmark, have been traced back to Sardinia in the Bronze Age — dispelling Viking Age myths, according to research published in the historical journal Praehistorische Zeitschrift in December.

“For many years in popular culture, people associated Vixo helmets with Vikings,” Helle Vandekeld, an archaeologist at Aarhus University in Denmark who was involved in the research, said in a press release sent to CNN.

“But our research confirms that helmets were deposited in the swamp around 900 BC, approximately 3,000 years ago and many centuries before Viking or Norse control of the area.”

Helmet images with similar horns have been identified from the Bronze Age in Sardinia, southwestern Iberia and southern Scandinavia, according to the study.

During the Sardinian Bronze Age, symbols of horned creatures such as oxen had religious significance, and were often used to decorate Neolithic tombs.

Research indicates that the shape of the horned helmet is associated with Iberia through the expansion of Phoenician society in the West. The Phoenicians were a group of people who inhabited the coast of the Levant in the eastern Mediterranean, according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Phoenician shipping routes coincide with the addition of Scandinavia to the network, exposing the Mediterranean-Atlantic route to the Baltic Sea. The researchers said the helmets would not have been transported overland, because “the other prosperous trade route through the Alps appears to have been inactive in spreading the image of the horned warrior hero.”

“Our study shows that Norse images of horned warriors occur at the same time as very similar images in Sardinia and southwestern Spain. This bears witness to the close ties between the great civilizations of Europe in the Bronze Age; the first globalization based on long-distance trade in minerals, ideas and luxuries.”

“Century warriors in Scandinavia, Sardinia, and Spain are all associated with new political systems backed by the control of minerals and new religious beliefs.”

Those who wore the horned helmets would be considered the “perfect warrior,” the researchers said.


Leave a Comment