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The gods of the Viking Age – who did they worship in the Viking period?

The mythology of the Viking Age consists of a mixture of gods, heroes, æsir, vanir and giants, that are connected in various ways to one another and with the period.

In our work upon the gods we primarily use the written sources of the Middle Ages, but valuable objects from archaeological excavations can also help shed light upon the beliefs and way of life of the Vikings.

The written sources were written down several hundred years after the Viking period. Therefore many of the sources feature a Christian and medieval view of the gods and Vikings, which may not be consistent with the belief and cult that the Vikings actually followed and practiced. The archaeological excavations on the other hand are a direct link to their way of life. Such investigations can show what Viking houses looked like, what they grew in the fields, the appearance of their cult houses and the offerings they made.    

At Toftegård remains of human skeletons have been found. Other finds included a cat figure of bronze, bird brooches and gold sheet figures that may be valkyries. The objects suggest that the Vikings at Toftegård worshipped the fertility gods Freyja and Odin, both of whom could practice the art of “seid” and ruled over the destiny of warriors.

Which gods the Vikings believed in and how they worshipped them may be revealed new excavations.