Published: 2017-10-13 12:07
Last Updated: 2017-10-13 15:24
Swedish researchers were left astonished after discovering Allah’s name embroidered into ancient Viking burding clothes, raising questions about the influence of Islam in Scandinavia.
The silk patterns were initially thought to be ordinary Viking Age decoration but a re-examination by archaeologist Annika Larsson of Uppsala University revealed they were ancient geometric Kufic script.
The Arabic characters were found on woven bands as well as items of clothing, in two separate grave sites from the 9th and 10th century.
The breakthrough was made by textile archaeologist Annika Larsson of Uppsala University, while re-examining the remnants of burial costumes from male and female boat and chamber graves originally excavated in Sweden in the late 19th and mid-20th centuries.
So far she has found the names on at least 10 of the nearly 100 pieces she is working through, and they always appear together.
“It shows us that the Vikings were in close contact with other cultures, including with the Islamic world. Of course there were trade relationships, but if you trade a lot over a long period, you start to take in cultural values,” Larsson told Swedish news site The Local.
“We also talk a lot about how Vikings went to Asia for trade, and we never speak about the people who came back, but maybe there were Muslims who came to Sweden at this time.”
Larsson’s team is now working with the university's department for immunology, genetics and pathology to establish the geographic origins of the bodies dressed in the funeral clothes.