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.

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