It is my pleasure to have made my first appearance on the wonderful YouTube channel by Archaeosoup which has an outstanding number of videos – 1,100 – on all manner of archaeological subjects. The subject? It was an ‘Archaeo-Chat’ about Viking-period horned helmets!

In preparation, I arranged all my shelves with my favourite horned helmet paraphernalia and I found various images in books showing representations of headgear and actual helmets from the Viking period to discuss whether horned helmets were a reality of the Viking world. Archaeosoup and I then debated the merits and problems of horned helmet representations in popular culture today.

This debate was sparked by a blog-post I wrote in May 2016 which made the argument that, on multiple levels, denouncing and debunking the historical reality of horned helmets is not only misleading, it is damaging on multiple levels. More significant still, it takes up a lot of our attention discussing something that matters very little, and the vanquishing of horned helmets from popular portrayals of the Norsemen achieves next to nothing in broader challenges we face in communicating the complex and changing social, economic, political and religious dimensions of the Viking World between the late 8th and early 12th centuries AD. Vikings without horned helmets are just as capable as conforming to the stereotype of being violent male pagan marauders. I’ve followed this up more recently with another post about books with horned helmeted Vikings on and in them. Also, see how helmets continue to be a problem for popular representations of Viking-period warriors in the absence of horned helmets, as discussed here and here.

Check out the Archaeosoup post and as many of the other Archaeosoup videos as you can pack into your busy schedules. You won’t regret it!