Sunday 28 September 2008

Viking centre rebuilt after arson

A Viking long house education centre has been rebuilt by retail staff after it was targeted by arsonists.

The large wooden purpose-built hut used by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust in Penwortham was damaged by vandals who set fire to it last year.

The hut was shaped as a Viking long hut and was used for wildlife education.

Senior managers from the Mall, which has centres in Preston and Blackburn, spent two days rebuilding the hut as part of a teambuilding exercise.

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Thursday 25 September 2008

Rare Viking ingot found

An ancient solid silver ingot found in Stagsden is stealing the limelight at Bedford Museum.

The Viking coin is the first of its kind discovered in the county and dates from AD 850-1000.

It was found by treasure hunters in the north Bedfordshire village last year, but has only just been bought by the museum following lengthy examination and valuation at the British Museum in London.

Jim Inglis, keeper of archaeology at Bedford Museum, said: "This is the only one to be found in Bedfordshire, and in terms of looking for Viking material in Bedford, which used to be a Viking town, it is very, very rare.

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Saturday 20 September 2008

Viking Age Triggered by Shortage of Wives?

During the Viking Age from the late eighth to the mid-eleventh centuries, Scandinavians tore across Europe attacking, robbing and terrorizing locals. According to a new study, the young warriors were driven to seek their fortunes to better their chances of finding wives.

The odd twist to the story, said researcher James Barrett, is that it was the selective killing of female newborns that led to a shortage of Scandinavian women in the first place, resulting later in intense competition over eligible women.

"Selective female infanticide was recorded as part of pagan Scandinavian practice in later medieval sources, such as the Icelandic sagas," Barrett, who is deputy director of Cambridge University's McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, told Discovery News.

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One thousand year old Danish shield discovered

Danish archaeologists say they have found a well-preserved Viking shield that is more than 1,000 years old. Archaeologist Kirsten Christensen said the wooden shield has a diameter of 80 centimetres (32 inches). It was found Tuesday during excavations near Viking-age castles, some 100 kilometres west of Copenhagen.

Christensen said Thursday it is the first time such a shield has been found in Denmark. She said the moist soil in the area is "ideal to preserve wood."

The fir shield is believed to date from the late 10th century. Danish Vikings launched bloody raids along the coasts of Western Europe about 1,000 years ago and even occupied parts of England.

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Docu-Drama Movie on Icelandic Sagas Premieres

Austrian-produced docu-drama Ragnarök – Myths and Sagas of the North will premiere in the Viking Village in Hafnarfjördur next Friday, September 26, at 6 pm. Those who dress up as Vikings pay no entrance fee.

The premiere is followed up with an Icelandic tour and the film has also been released on DVD.

In Nordic mythology ragnarök means "apocalypse," which is the general theme of the film. A virtual storyteller from the early middle ages describes the beginning of the world, the origin of the gods, the creation of man and the apocalypse – ragnarök.

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Sunday 14 September 2008

New Viking grave find in central Sweden

Six grave sites dated from late in the Viking era have been uncovered in Lännäs outside of Örebro in central Sweden.

The graves were discovered during an archeological examination ahead of the building of a new parish house beside the Lännäs cemetery, writes the Nerikes Allehanda newspaper.

Several artifacts were recovered from the graves, including bronze and iron objects, as well as a unique set of glass beads.

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Orkney's Christian Viking Heritage

The Old Man of Hoy, the famous 140m rock stack that rises out of the sea in the Isles of Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland, is well known as a magnet for adventurous climbers. Less well known until now, however, was that people lived atop some of these rocky towers, far above the sea and separated from the island.

Recent excavations have uncovered part of an unconventional Viking Age village on the top of another Orcadian sea stack known as the Brough of Deerness, lying at the eastern extremity of Mainland, Orkney’s principal island. At 30m high and 80m across, it is an unexpected place to find a 10th to 12th-century church surrounded by the foundations of approximately 30 other buildings.

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Kimmirut site suggests early European contact

Vikings - or perhaps other Europeans - may have set up housekeeping and traded with Inuit 1,000 years ago near today's community of Kimmirut.

That's the picture of the past emerging from ancient artifacts found near Kimmirut, where someone collected Arctic hare fur and spun the fur into yarn and someone else carved notches into a wooden stick to record trading transactions.

Dorset Inuit probably didn't make the yarn and tally sticks because yarn and wood weren't part of Inuit culture at that time, said Patricia Sutherland, an archeologist with the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

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Newfoundland Viking site remarkable

More than 1,200 years ago, Vikings from Norway set out on a series of daring voyages that would eventually result in their being the first Europeans to explore the east coast of North America. In stages they established settlements in the Shetland Islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and finally Newfoundland and Labrador.

Though we passed through an area around the capital of Nuuk, that would have been near the former Viking "Western Settlement," ruins or reconstructions were either not easily accessible or part of the itinerary.

The most famous Viking ruins can be seen at the former "Eastern Settlement" on the southwest tip of Greenland, near the present-day towns of Narsaq and Qassiarsuk. Here is found Brattahlid, the farm Eric the Red established in 986, as well as reconstructions of the bishop's residence at Gardar and Hvalsey Church.

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Wednesday 3 September 2008

The Viking and Anglo-Saxon Landscape and Economy (VASLE) Project

In the last fifteen years the role of metal-detected objects in the study of Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Scandinavian England has greatly increased through reporting to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and the Early Medieval Corpus (EMC). There are now thousands more artefacts and coins known than a decade ago which, in conjunction with fieldwork, have the potential to revolutionise our understanding of the early medieval period.

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