Unacceptable items

From Vikings Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Some items are not acceptable at some or all of our events.

Guidance on this is given in the list of unacceptable and inauthentic items (.pdf), which should be followed at all times.

This list will be updated periodically, and just because something isn't on the list doesn't mean it's fine for you to use, whether a medieval halberd or a kalashnikov, so if in doubt ask one of the authenticity team for guidance.

Modern items

The following list details items which are considered entirely modern and anachronistic.

Unacceptable item Rationale Date for phaseout
Visible modern items Modern items (e.g. glasses, watches, cigarettes etc) should not be used while in kit and during show hours. If absolutely necessary (e.g. using biro and clipboard to fill in an expenses form), it should be done out of view. long-standing
Vikings Society awards Society awards are not accurate Viking period pieces.
Earrings or piercings All earrings and visible piercings should be removed or covered.
Dyed hair, tattoos & varnished nails Tattoos, obviously varnished nails and dyed hair should be covered.
Modern footwear Should not be worn with authentic costume.
Excessively bright colours Colours are restricted to those available in period with natural dyeing. If in doubt, contact the authenticity team for advice.
Chrome-tanned leather Period leather should be veg-tanned, and not dyed in bright colours or shiny in appearance.

Personal kit

The following list details items which are considered “personal kit” (worn, but not general wargear or LHE equipment) and which are not evidenced for the period and geographical regions the Vikings Society covers (i.e. the British Isles c.800-1100).

Unacceptable item Rationale Date for phaseout
Rough/unworked antler handles, including the “crown” Finds of antler handles are invariable finished and either left plain or decorated at least with ring-&-dot or cross hatching long-standing
Tall boots (i.e. higher than the sole is long) The majority of period footwear consists of low boots or ankle shoes. Taller boots are at most mid-calf height; but not higher than the sole length.
Two-hanger ‘kidney’ pouches There is no evidence for these items, they are modern re-enactorisms.
Plaid and tartan There is no evidence for combinations of wide checks and narrow lines which is characteristic of modern plaids.
Belt-worn holders for drinking horns There is no evidence for these items, they are modern re-enactorisms. Unacceptable since May 2015
Brooches worn for decoration
Trefoil brooches worn by men
Animals skins worn as mantle/cloak
Animal tails as decoration on belts, helmets etc
Large/multiple necklaces worn by men When found in graves, male necklaces usually consist of no more than 3 beads and a single pendant.
Men wearing animal teeth or antler tines as pendants

Non-pagan Saxon women wearing tooth pendants

Animal tooth pendants may only be worn by Early period (West Stow) pagan Saxon women or children, and should be a single tooth at a time – not matched pairs etc. – teeth are either fitted with a bronze mount or simply perforated.
Antler or Horn tip toggles on any item There is no evidence for these items, they are modern re-enactorisms. Unacceptable since Oct. 2015
Hats with wide fur trims Wide fur trim (2”/50mm or greater) on hats is a much later fashion and generally Mongolian.
All-metal ‘S’ knives This is an adoption of an Iron Age razor by modern smiths as a simple knife to make but with no evidence of use in our period.
“Troll Cross” pendant Invented in the late 1990s by Kari Erland and not a period Viking pendant. Immediate – from Jan. 2022

Wargear

The following list details combat equipment or fashions which is not evidenced for the period and geographical regions the Vikings Society covers (i.e. the British Isles c.800-1100). All combat equipment must conform to the Society’s authenticity requirements RTTs (combat), Hersir and marshals are encouraged to pick up issues with combat equipment, to support the authenticity team.

Unacceptable item Rationale Date for phaseout
Obviously modern safety gloves Gloves are mandatory safety equipment but must be discrete and look appropriate for the period i.e. covered in wool/linen or leather, no bright colours. Long-standing
Horned helmets 19th Century anachronism.
Unsheathed weapons stuck through the belt No evidence for metal loops etc for holding unsheathed weapons on the belt. Also makes it obvious that the weapons are blunt.
Visible leather arm-guards There is no evidence for these items, they are modern re-enactorisms. NOTE: This does not include bracers for archers.
Maille armour made from anything other than steel (butted or rivetted) Period maille is made from round section steel/iron links riveted together. Butted maille is discouraged, and no-one should acquire butted maille shirts. Those who already have one can use it, but should work towards replacing it with riveted maille.

The only exception is titanium maille which may be only worn by dispensation of the Konungr (on the advice of the Authenticity High Thegn) as a specific medical exemption. If so, it confers no advantage under the Society’s combat rules.

Armour made of horn, bone, wood, leather or sheet metal The evidence shows that the only widespread armour in use during the period in Western Europe was mail. Cultural and regional variations may allow for lamellar (see “Period Specific Items”) Unacceptable since Feb. 2012
‘Splinted’ metal limb armour This is a Vendel period style of armour and does not appear in the British Isles at all or in Scandinavia beyond the 7th Century. Unacceptable since May 2015
Too many weapons… Carrying more than a polearm, primary weapon, secondary weapon and saex is unnecessary.

LHE equipment

The following list details LHE equipment which is not evidenced for the period and geographical regions the Vikings Society covers (i.e. the British Isles c.800-1100). All LHE equipment must follow the requirements set out in the Society Village Guide. RTTs (village) are encouraged to pick up issues with LHE equipment, to support the authenticity team.

Unacceptable item Rationale Date for phaseout
Horn mugs There is no evidence for these items, they are modern re-enactorisms. Long-standing
Bamboo/cane baskets These are materials unavailable during the period.
Baskets with bark stripped off finds have had intact bark, and stripping is a modern decoration type
Glass tableware (e.g. early Saxon ‘claw’ beakers) These are earlier than the period the Society covers. Any use is limited to very early shows e.g. West Stow.
‘Pavillion’ tents with vertical sides Pavillion tents with straight sides, held up by side-posts around a wooden cartwheel and no central pole, are not found in the British Isles in our period.
Stargazer or “cross” chairs Earliest evidence for these appears to be 19th C African.
Cast metal cooking ware All cooking pots or cauldrons should be riveted sheet iron/steel. No Victorian cast copper, iron etc or with feet.
Round-topped ‘pirate’ chests A single possible find from Birka is the only evidence that these may have existed. Further evidence would be required to accept them for “general” use. Unacceptable since Dec. 2013
Square chests made from blanket boxes See “Sea chest” documentation in the 'village guide' for details of constructing acceptable chests.
Painted decoration on non-carved flat surfaces Limited evidence for painted uncarved flat surfaces. The Society Village Guide (May 2015) requires the Society LHE Thegn to give prior written approval to the design of any painting on a non-carved flat surface. In effect since 2015
Painted relief carved surfaces This is not a specifically unacceptable item, but as above, is one that requires prior written approval from the Society LHE Thegn as stated in The Society Village Guide (May 2015) for anything beyond slight highlighting of the carving.
Horn bowls and large horn spoons These are modern items that would not be possible to make during the period. Small horn spoons are also inauthentic but are allowed for people who have difficulty using wooden spoons. Unacceptable since Oct. 2015
Modern sharp axes Sharp axes should not be obviously modern – for example they should not still have paint or varnish on, and all handles should be made of wood. Axes used in the LHE should follow one of the known common types.
Trelleborg or trollen wheels There is no evidence for these in Europe earlier than the 17th century. Identical braid can be made by the fingerloop method, and so the braids them selves are still allowed. since 2017
Rawhide and wood lanterns These are late Medieval to modern in date, and there is no evidence of their use in the period.
Metal tent pegs Period tents pegs are wooden not metal. From Jan. 2020

Designs and patterns

The following list details various designs or techniques that are not evidenced for the period and geographical regions the Vikings Society covers (i.e. the British Isles c.800-1100).

Unacceptable item Rationale Date for phaseout
Pyrography or similar burnt decoration This is a more modern decorative technique and not present during the Early Medieval period. Branding of individual letters or such to identify wooden utensils etc is acceptable, but not burnt decoration e.g. laser cut, pyrography etc. long standing
“Ramshorn” or “Running Dog” tablet braid pattern This originates in 19th Turkey and the Balkans and was not a pattern used during the Viking period. since 2017
“Viking Compass” design, and similar Icelandic runic designs There is no evidence for these designs before the 17th Century and they appear to have been adopted recently as “Viking” symbols. Immediate from Jan. 2022

Restricted period specific items

The following tables set out when certain period-specific items of kit may be used.

Wargear
Item Earlier 9th C (c.793-850) Later 9th C (c.850-900) Earlier 10th C (c.900-970) Later 10th C (970-1020) Later 11th C (1050+)
Maille face ventails Should not be used Characteristic of 7th century Vendel period Full Rus kit only - Rare, discouraged
‘Chimney-pot helmets’ Should not be used Full Rus kit only - Rare, discouraged
Lamellar armour Should not be used Full Rus kit only - Rare, discouraged
‘Coppergate’ style / boar crested helmets England only Rare – discouraged Should not be used
Helmets with metal cheek-flaps Uncommon Rare - discouraged Should not be used
High domed helmets Acceptable Uncommon Should not be used
‘Spectacle’ domed helmet Viking only - Acceptable Viking only - Uncommon Should not be used
Two-handed ‘Dane Axe’ Should not be used Viking only - uncommon English / Viking - High status
Maille coif Should not be used Norman high status only, Uncommon Encouraged, esp. higher status
Long maille hauberk (to wrists & knees) Should not be used Norman high status only, Uncommon Encouraged, esp. higher status
Dedicated under-armour padding Should not be used Norman high status only, Uncommon Acceptable, esp. higher status
Kite shield Should not be used Norman only, acceptable Encouraged, esp. higher status
Clothing
Item Earlier 9th C (c.793-850) Later 9th C (c.850-900) Earlier 10th C (c.900-970) Later 10th C (970-1020) Later 11th C (1050+)
Hangeroc apron dress Viking only - Acceptable Viking only - Rare discouraged Should not be used
Front-&-back split tunics Should not be used Norman only, Encouraged Encouraged

Period kit type restrictions

The restrictions to each kit type can be found on the pages for Core kit types and Specialist kit types.

Rus kit

The Scandinavian trading-bases along the rivers of what would become Russia evolved into important polities in their own right during the later ninth and earlier tenth century. By the later tenth century their rulers had begun to adopt the culture, arms and mounted warfare of their nomad neighbours. The earliest context for Rus kit to be used in the British Isles is the later tenth century, primarily in the wars of Æthelred c.990-1020, when there is evidence for adventurers going both east and west. The hybrid Scandinavian-nomad Rus kit is an option for higher status only, and only by exception. Remember that Rus kit will only be permitted at specific events. Please do not assume that you can turn up and use it! If in doubt, check beforehand.