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Longphort Trailer


Woodstown Longphort


Skeleton of Viking child discovered during excavation in Dublin


Learning about a viking warrior by studying his skeleton



A longphort is a term used in Ireland for a Viking ship enclosure or shore fortress. Although it can be assumed that the longphorts were used as bases for Viking raids, it is clear that the term had multiple meanings and that these sites had multiple purposes. The reason it cannot be assumed that longphorts were solely for military purposes as that would assume that there were always large numbers of Vikings at these settlements, which is not true. These camps were fortified areas along rivers, usually at a tributary where both sides were protected such that the Vikings could port ships. The sites were easily defended, sheltered, and gave immediate access to the sea. These camps would be of great importance to the Vikings during their raids of Ireland, which included attacks on many churches and monasteries located on the coast of Ireland. It can be assumed that the purpose of these sites was to ease travel and trade within the region. Longphorts were essential to the economic prosperity of the Vikings. For example, it is clear that the earliest settlements became major trading centers throughout Ireland. Archeological evidence shows that imports and exports included textiles, animal skins, amber, and glass from England. During this time, the Vikings were able to begin a period of extremely profitable trade. Overall, the longphort settlements were essential in establishing the presence of the Vikings in Ireland during the ninth and tenth centuries.
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