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Viking Longhouse - Weaving, Sails, Toys

Up against the wall in most Vikings longhouses was an upright warp weighted-loom. It was used to weave the woollen fabrics which were used in the household, but also for making sails for the Viking ships. Viking Sails were very difficult to make and they were clearly the responsibility of the women. Historians have estimated that it would have taken 2 women the better part of a year to weave a sail.

Since the looms were made of wood there is not a complete Viking Age loom in existence today. However, there are many copies of the weaving weights made of burnt clay or stone, which would have held the vertical threads tight in place.

Tablet-Weaving was also practiced using small square pieces of wood or antler to produce finely patterned bands and ribbons to decorate clothing.

Scissors for cutting the clothes and combs to prepare the wool to be spun were made of iron. Needles and pins were made of iron or bone, and they were often carried by women in small cylindrical holders which hung down from their brooches.

Many small half-bun shaped glass objects have been found in female graves (never male graves). It is believed that these ‘half-bun shaped’ objects would have been used to smooth out seams. Spinning, weaving and sewing must have constantly occupied the Viking Age women. Findings such as gaming pieces made of bone, antler, glass or amber in only Viking male graves suggests that the men must have had more time to relax. Board games were clearly played very regularly. A Viking favourite was a board game called Hnefatafl.

Objects carved out of wood such as animals, spinning tops, miniature boats and 
swords have been found throughout the Viking World. The finds show that Viking Age children did have simple toys.

LastUpdate: 2016-08-24 10:17:42