The Plants used in a Viking Age Garden A.D. 800-1050
By Mette Eggen
Garden History: Garden Plants, Species Forms and varieties from Pompei to 1800, edited by J. H. Dickson, P. M. Jørgensen and D. Moe (PACT Belgium, 1994)
Abstract: Pre-medieval horticulture in the periphery of Europe may show interesting connections with the development of gardens in the more central parts of the continent.
Introduction: Overpopulation in the Scandinavian countries created the Viking society, whose tradesmen, settlers and sea warriors had a considerable influences on the European countries. In return, influenced by what they saw, they brought back goods of all kinds, probably also seeds and possibly plants.
Sources and data on gardens and garden plants
1. Literature: Eddio pomo. c.AD 700 – the late 1200s Sagas, medieval epic prose, written down 1150-1350. Both Icelandic.
2. Statutes (law and rules): The Norwegian landscape (district) laws, the oldest dating back to AD 960, but only in writing in the 12th century. Enclosed gardens of various types (angelica, onion, cabbage, etc.) were protected by law against theft and damage.
3. Archaeological finds: The most reliable source, but in the past little attention was paid to the plant fossils. The most important Norwegian find is the Oseberg ship burial, the mound excavated in 1904. Seeds of agricultural and horticultural plants were found and examined.