According to what we know from history, Vikings appeared in about the 7th century AD.
A written Church chronicle of that era referred to the fierce Scandinavian warriors. Vikings expanded across Europe, Asia and the Americas and they were known as an unstoppable force. Until now it was believed that they emerged suddenly and expanded rapidly and aggressively without any trace of how this happened.
There were a few theories mentioning that it happened because of climate change and overpopulation, but nothing has been proven.
However, due to a recent discovery on a Baltic island our understanding about Vikings and their expansion may change. Two ships with slain warriors were discovered on the Saaremaa Island – 7 men on the smaller ship and 33 on the larger one together with their weapons and animals. Archaeologists believe that those men died about a century before the Viking Age is officially known to have begun, at about 700 AD, an era that wasn’t previously known for long voyages. Those two boats show the technological advancement of the Baltic civilizations.
It was in 2008 in the island town of Salme when the first small boat was found with the remains of human bones and a set of strange objects. Further investigation showed that it was a war boat of the 6th century AD. A few years later the second boat with 33 dead warriors covered with their shields were found. This boat that was capable of travelling in the open sea. Based on the analysis of the artefacts and the remains that were found, the dead warriors were Scandinavian. It looks that they were burial boats that took place after a battle in a rush.
The importance of this discovery lies in the fact that it may provide answers about the sudden expansion of the Vikings, showing that it wasn’t so sudden as it was believed but it was a gradual process that took place during a few centuries that led to the advancement of their technology and skills that at some point made it possible to expand and use advanced ships for their expansion.