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Viking Armour

The type of armour worn by Vikings was almost certainly “four-in-one” type mail (chainmail) with either punched or riveted rings. A Viking mail shirt was known as a “Byrnie” from the Old Norse brynja. Scandinavian Viking age burial customs did not favour burial with helmets or mail armour, as such only one fragmented but possibly complete, shirt has been excavated in Scandinavia. Mail armour was very expensive to produce and would have only been worn by men of status and wealth. Traditionally Vikings have been thought to have opted for leather armour, or no armour at all. Vikings on raids tried to avoid pitched battles so it is likely that mail was only worn by professional warriors going into battle such as Harald Hardrada’s army at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

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