Dead Viking Dynasty Invade Scottish Neolithic Tombs

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Guests from Overseas (1901) by Nicholas Roerich, depicting a Viking raid. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. (Public Domain)

Dead Viking Dynasty Invade Scottish Neolithic Tombs

The Viking Age represents the earliest recorded raids made by Norsemen in 793 AD until the Norman conquest of England in 1066 AD. During this blood-thirsty period Scandinavians mastered shipbuilding and set out in waves to conquer Europe, and as their oceanic prowess increased they eventually reached North America. Television shows like History Channel’s Vikings, and Netflix’s Norsemen have made modern day heroes of Vikings like King Ragnar Lodbrok and his brother Rollo, who became the first ruler of Normandy in northern France. However, the Viking Age was filled with lesser known heroes aplenty, who never, and never will, make the silver screen, and among these ancient Norse warlords was Thorfinn Skullsplitter, and his five sons.

An example of a page from the Orkneyinga saga, as it appears in the 14th century Flateyjarbók. (Public Domain)

An example of a page from the Orkneyinga saga, as it appears in the 14th century Flateyjarbók. (Public Domain)

Viking Thorfinn’s Neolithic Burial

According to the 13th-century Orkneyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of Orkney, Thorfinn Torf-Einarsson was the youngest son of Torf-Einarr, son of Rognvald Eysteinsson, who was the first Earl of Orkney, and Grelad, a daughter of Earl Dungad of Caithness and Groa, the daughter of Thorstein the Red. Thorfinn had two brothers, Arnkel and Erlend, who died during a war expedition in England along with Erik Bloodaxe, whose widow, Gunnhildr, fled northwards to Orkney, north of mainland Scotland, where she and her sons used the archipelago as a base for summer raiding expeditions.


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