Walrus Ivory Chessmen
Walrus Ivory Chessmen - Bishop, Queen, and Warder
National Museums of Scotland
Photo: Courtesy National Museums of Scotland

During the Viking Age, from A.D. 750-1050, Viking influence covered a huge expanse, reaching from the Caspian Sea in the east and the Mediterranean in the south, throughout Northern Europe, across the Atlantic, and touched the homelands of diverse native groups in Eastern North America.

In addition to being the fierce warriors of popular stereotype, Vikings were master craftsman, shrewd businessman, and fearless explorers. Their activities stimulated political changes in Europe and Russia; created lasting new societies in Iceland and Greenland; and led to the discovery of North America 500 years before Columbus. Now, at the turn of the new millennium, we invite you to follow in their wake!

Walrus Ivory Chessmen
The trade connections across the North Atlantic established by the Vikings lasted well into the medieval period. These 13th century ivory chess pieces were carved from Greenlandic walrus ivory by craftsmen in Norway, but were found on the Isle of Lewis, Hebrides, Scotland.

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Isle of Skye, Hebrides, Scotland
Isle of Skye, Hebrides, Scotland
Photo: Kirsten A. Seaver

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