Did Vikings Have Dreads / Deadlocks?

Most of us are aware that dreadlocks are a common trend in the Rastafari culture. However, modern TV shows often depict Vikings also sporting magnificently-looking dreadlocks.

But did the Vikings really wear dreadlocks? Is there any evidence that supports such a claim?

In this article, we will dig into the facts about Vikings and their dreadlocks. 

What Evidence Is There To Support Vikings Wearing Dreadlocks

Unlike other cultures, the Scandinavian people weren’t known to keep records of their culture and history. Thus, most of what we know about them has been derived from the ancient writings of other cultures such as the Romans. 

Ancient Roman texts described Viking’s hair as “snake-like” or “rope-like” which could indicate a possible dreadlock style.

However, the Romans could also be referring to braids, much like Ivar’s hair from the hit TV show Vikings or just long and wavy like Uthred Ragnorsonn in The Last Kingdom

Whichever it is, we don’t know for sure. But we do know that Vikings weren't filthy, even though some Arabic texts described them that way. 

Archeologists found several artifacts of combs and other items used for hygiene such as tweezers and ear picks in known Viking villages. Most of these items are even kept in a box or buried with their bodies indicating that they used them often. 

So what does the comb have to do with knowing whether or not Vikings have dreadlocks? Well, people with dreadlocks don’t use a comb that often so it wouldn't make sense to carry a comb and have dreadlocks.

However, combing your hair before braiding your hair would be suitable. This means braids could be a reasonable explanation for the snake-like or rope-like hair references from Romain texts.

Other Cultures With Dreadlocks

The hairstyle we now call dreadlocks dates back to 1600-1500 BCE in the Minoan civilization and is used by several other cultures like Egypt, Indians, Greeks, Christians, Germans, and Africans. 

The Celts, who were close neighbours of the Vikings, were known to wear elflocks. A hairstyle that is pretty close to dreadlocks. 

However, the term “dreadlocks” came from the Rastafarian culture and has some spiritual meaning to it.

To Rastafarians, dreadlocks are the sign of their African identity and a religious vow of their separation from Babylon. Dreadlocks represent peace, freedom, and non-violence. 

The Practicality of Wearing Dreadlocks for Vikings

If you’re a great warrior with long hair, it makes sense to style your hair in a way that doesn’t interfere with your vision. That said, dreadlocks and braids might be a good choice. 

Some historians claim that Vikings and many other cultures only bathe once a week. If you braid your hair and don’t bathe for a long time, having dreadlocks or something similar to it unintentionally may happen as a result. 

The Bottomline

Whether or not the Vikings had dreadlocks, nobody really knows for sure. But what we do know is that Vikings are conscious of their physical appearance and used a comb for styling their hair. 

They were also described as having “rope-like” or “snake-like” hair which could be dreadlocks, braids, or something similar. 

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