If you listened to the podcast Candace and I did a few months ago on the Vikings, you know that they weren't exactly the nicest neighbors. Whether they ran out of resources on their own land or they just got greedy, they would go i viking to pillage nearby civilizations. Because they were so good at building ships and at warfare in general, their attacks were swift, efficient and devastating.
However, according to last week's article from the Telegraph, evidence surfacing recently has revealed a kinder, gentler Viking for the history books. Oh sure, they still did all that vicious pillaging, but this didn't last very long, according to Dr. Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, a senior lecturer at Cambridge. When the Vikings settled down in the territory they conquered, they peacefully integrated themselves into the culture. Mhaonaigh claims both sides benefited from this assimilation.
Without explaining the new evidence, the article doesn't go into too much detail about how the peoples intermingled. But, from what I learned while researching the Vikings for the podcast, the pagan barbarians seemed relatively willing to adopt Christianity when they settled into their new lands. A page from the BBC website explains a little more about how the archaeological evidence reveals this through a shift in their burial rituals. And, the Vikings must have been able to lend their technical knowledge and skills. Mhaonaigh stresses that nowadays we could take a lesson from this beneficial cross-cultural assimilation.