The Atlantic

The Strangely Revealing Debate Over Viking Couture

An archeological discovery has raised questions about Muslims’ influence on Europe.
Source: Annika Larsson

A researcher at a Swedish university says that Viking burial clothes bear the word “Allah”—and some people really want to believe her.

Annika Larsson, a textile researcher at Uppsala University who was putting together an exhibit on Viking couture, decided to examine the contents of a Viking woman’s boat grave that had been excavated decades ago in Gamla Uppsala, Sweden. Inspecting the woman’s silk burial clothes, Larsson noticed small geometric designs. She compared them to similar designs on a silk band found in a 10th-century Viking grave, this one in Birka, Sweden. It was then that she came to the conclusion that the designs were actually Arabic characters—and that they spelled out the name of God in mirror-image. In a press release, she described, , and the ) reported the story last week.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic8 min read
The Power Of Fear In The Thawing Arctic
Living north of the Arctic Circle meant learning fear and its power to motivate in the face of danger—whether from a bear or climate change.
The Atlantic10 min readPolitics
The 2020 Congressional-Retirement Tracker
For the second consecutive election, more Republicans than Democrats are forgoing reelection, a potentially ominous sign for the GOP in 2020.
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
Why Isn’t Trump Helping the Autoworkers?
The president has been happy to stand up for manufacturing employees on the campaign trail, but has done conspicuously little as GM workers go on strike.