Horned helmets are 3,000 years older than the Vikings and date from the Bronze Age, researchers say :: WRAL.com
CNN – From appearing in the Asterix comic series to inspiring an avatar for “The Masked Singer,” Vikings have shown themselves in pop culture with horned helmets to symbolize their ferocity and power.
However, two horned helmets, first discovered in Viksø, Denmark, have been traced back to Sardinia in the Bronze Age – dispelling myths that they date from the Viking Age, according to a study published in the historical journal Praehistorische Zeitschrift in December .
“In popular culture, people have associated the Viksø helmets with the Vikings for many years,” said Helle Vandkilde, an archaeologist at Aarhus University in Denmark who was involved in the research, in a press release on CNN.
“However, our research confirms that the helmets were made around 900 BC.
Similar images of horned helmets were identified, according to the study, from the Bronze Age in Sardinia, in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula and in southern Scandinavia.
During the Bronze Age in Sardinia, symbols of horned creatures such as bulls had religious significance and were often used to adorn Neolithic tombs.
The horned helmet motif is linked to Iberia through the expansion of Phoenician society to the west, research suggests. The Phoenicians were a group of people who, according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inhabited the Levant coast in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Phoenician sea routes coincide with the inclusion of Scandinavia in the network, exposing a Mediterranean-Atlantic sea route into the Baltic Sea. The helmets would not have been transported by land because “the otherwise thriving transalpine trade route doesn’t seem to have spread the image of the horned warrior hero,” said the researchers.
“Our study shows that Scandinavian depictions of horned warriors occur simultaneously with very similar images in Sardinia and southwestern Spain. This testifies to the close ties between the great civilizations of Bronze Age Europe; the first long-distance globalization based on metals, ideas and luxury goods, “added Vandkilde.
“The horned warriors in Scandinavia, Sardinia and Spain all associate with new political regimes supported by control of metals and new religious beliefs.”
Those who wore horned helmets were viewed as “the epitome of warriors,” researchers said.
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