Tuesday Nov 05, 201303:10 PM GMT
Persian silk textiles discovered in Viking Age burials
A fragment of Persian silk textiles found in Norway.
A fragment of Persian silk textiles found in Norway.
Tue Nov 5, 2013 3:7PM
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Archaeologists have found some silk textiles belonged to ancient Iranian weaving industry in the Oseberg ship dating back to Norwegian Vikings.


Over one hundred small silk fragments have been discovered in the old ship excavated nearly a hundred years ago.

The silk textiles, as the oldest find of Viking Age silk in Norway, have been designed with Persian motifs, in particular, Zoroastrian symbols.

The symbols display parts of special birds associated with Persian mythology, combined with clover-leaf axes.

One of the depicted birds is known as ‘Shahrokh’ that has a very specific meaning in Persian mythology.

The experts suggest that the found textiles, cut into thin strips, were used for adornment on clothing.

The recent achievements, after four years of investigation, shed light on the silk trade of the Viking Age.

The recent research indicated that “the Norwegian Vikings maintained trade connections with Persia and the Byzantine Empire through a network of traders from a variety of places and cultures who brought the silk to the Nordic countries,” said Associate Professor at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo Marianne Vedeler.

According to a long-term belief, the experts thought that Oseberg silk had been looted from churches and monasteries in England and Ireland and nobody thought that it could have been imported from Persia.

While large amounts of the Oseberg silk have patterns from the Persian Empire, it can be said that more silk came to Norway from Persia than from Constantinople, experts claim.

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