Thanks To Mass Production Of Tar, The Vikings Created A Mighty Navy Conquering Treacherous Seas


The Vikings were Scandinavian explorers and warriors closely linked to the sea that broke into the historical scene around the seventh century and have been the subject of many years of the most fabulous legends our planet has seen.

Image Credit: TPHeinz / Pixabay

It can be said that the Viking empire began with the looting of the monastery of Lindisfarne in 793, which gave them strength and confidence to carry out other attacks of different monasteries in Great Britain.

They are known to have been ruthless; They terrorized the populations of the territories they invaded, especially the British Isles.

But in addition to being amazing explorers, sailors, and ruthless warriors, the Vikings are characterized for their ingenuity, developing a number of technologies that allowed them to build not only a formidable army but an even better navy.

The Viking’s Political organization is another detail worth mentioning. It was too advanced to be considered that of a society of barbarians and plunderers. 

The Vikings had an aristocratic political system in which the kings were chosen by an elite group of the people.

They were also very well organized and had very effective conquest and looting techniques, they were considered quick and unpredictable when exploring and attacking.

Despite their aristocratic political system, the Vikings did not have an established kingdom, they were only peoples organized (Extremely well organized) in social classes.

And it is exactly this incredible organization which allowed them to accomplish the most unexpected feats.

Now, scientists have discovered that the Viking Civilization produced Tar on an industrial scale.

The tar they produced was used to coat their longships which allowed them to create incredible waterproof vessels.

Scientists believe that evidence of their mass production of TAR can be found Sweden. 

There, archaeologists discovered Pits where the ancient Vikings produced between 200 and 300 liters of Tar, which is ten times the volume of Tar produced anywhere in the world at that time.

It is precisely Tar which allowed the Vikings to have a feared Navy allowing them to travel across treacherous waters of the Baltic and the North Sea.

A scientist from the Uppsala University, Andreas Hennius, discovered that Tar Pits appear in the archaeological record at the same time the Vikings became a maritime power.

The Vikings used as much as 500 liters of tar to adequately waterproof the timber in a single Viking Ship. This means that Tar was of essential importance to them. 

Mass production of Tar was scaled up around 680 AD after experts came across Tar Pits dating back to around 100AD and 400AD.

However, while experts had discovered Tar Pits as well as tunnel-shaped pits with a small opening beneath that allowed them to capture the resin, it still does not explain how the Vikings managed to industrialize the production of Tar.

Speaking about the discovery, Hennius explained:

“It is a clear change from small-scale household production to large-scale production. To go out into the forest and stay there for probably several months is a big thing.

It means a change in how you organize the whole of the region, with people removed from ordinary agrarian production.

That will influence the whole structure of life.”


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