‘Viking skin’ nailed to medieval church doors is actually animal hide

Scientists analysed the remains of skin patches attached to three English church doors, discovering they came from farm animals – not Viking raiders


21 April 2022

“Daneskin” and a hinge taken from the door of St. Botolph’s church in Hadstock, near Cambridge, in the UK

Saffron Walden Museum

Patches of skin supposedly flayed from Viking raiders and attached to the doors of some English churches are actually animal hides, a genetic analysis has revealed.

At least four medieval churches in England have remains of these so-called daneskins. The most well-known example is from St. Botolph’s church in Hadstock, near Cambridge. According to local myth, St. Botolph’s macabre adornment was taken from a Viking after they attempted to pillage …


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