Few periods in the history of mankind can evoke more colourful imagery than the era when the bold and warlike Vikings dominated the maritime regions of Northern Europe and sailed out of Scandinavian port on voyages of exploration and colonization.
There springs to mind a dramatic picture of the high-prowed "longships", with sweeping oars supplementing the square wollen sails. Battle shields line the gunwales and behind them are the fierce Viking warriors, clad in garments of leather and fur with horned metal helmets glinting in the sun.
Their reputation as savage and reckless warriors terrorized the foreign lands chosen as targets for their expeditions and few victims withstood the ferocity of their forays of conquest. As they developed larger and sturdier ships, the Viking rovers ventured further and further West, to the Shetlands, Orkneys and Faeroe Islands and eventually Iceland.