Without their ships, the Vikings would not have come far. In the eighth century, the time in which the Nordic peoples began to plunder wide parts of Europe and to cross the Atlantic. This was possible probably only because of a technological Innovation: the production of tar, the Vikings were able to ship fleets to be sealed to protect against water.
In Sweden, has studied a researchers now funnel-shaped pits, which were used to produce these tar. Therein, the pine wood has been covered with peat and air fired. So wood tar. However, the Viking age happened in a different to a great extent, reported by Andreas Hennius from the Uppsala University in the journal Antiquity.
300 litres of tar in a Produktionssyklus
Hennius the Teeröfen compared sites of different old site:
In the Southeast of Sweden researchers had discovered in the beginning of the two thousands Teeröfen from the years 100 to 400 ad. They were quite small and in the settlements housed, reported the archaeologist. In 2005, researchers found then further to the North, greater Teeröfen derived, however, from the period between 680 and 900. They were generally located outside the settlements in the vicinity of the pine forests, so wood was readily available.
researchers initially assumed that they were used for the production of charcoal. However, Hennius is sure that this tar was formed, and in larger quantities. Up to 300 litres of the viscous sealant could be produced in large pits in a Produktionssyklus.
The mass production would also be fit in time. Because with the end of the seventh century, the wedding of the Vikings began. Although the tar production alone cannot explain its spread, it was probably an important contribution.
11. Century expansion to America
In the case of the Stoves have been industrial sites, which were used exclusively for the mass-production of tar, believes Hennius. This enabled the Vikings, with their long-ships on a cruise to go. In addition, the tar could have served to impregnate the sail and to act with the Goods.
“in the meantime, The size of the Viking fleet suggests that there was a large, stable demand for the product,” writes the researchers. In some sources, the speech of hundreds of is ships. The construction of Viking long-boats, is now documented archaeologically well – also the use of tar was not known.
Up to 11. Century dominated the Vikings wide parts of the UK and had settled in Iceland, Greenland and America. From there they raided, among other Spanish ports. It was only with the Christianization in order to 1000 after Christ, the great age of the Vikings ended gradually. They were increasingly sedentary.
Video: Viking-days in Schleswig – The cult of the Northern men
Video SPIEGEL TV