Monday 18 April 2011

Dundee academics reconstruct Viking woman's face

Academics at Dundee University have helped recreate the face of a Viking woman whose skeleton was unearthed in York more than 30 years ago.

The facial reconstruction was achieved by laser-scanning her skull to create a 3D digital model.

Eyes were then digitally created, along with hair and a bonnet, to complete the look.

The project was part of a £150,000 investment at York's Jorvik Viking Centre.

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Friday 15 April 2011

Midlands Viking Symposium to explore the legacy of the Vikings in Ireland

This year’s Midlands Viking Symposium will be taking place outside the United Kingdom for the first time in its history as scholars focus on the role of the Norse in Ireland.

The symposium (April 29th – May 1st) will be held in Dublin, with the opening address and reception taking place at the National Museum of Ireland.

The Vikings left a strong imprint on Ireland that is still apparent in place-names, archaeological finds and in the DNA of the modern population.

Recent archaeological finds of weapons, jewellery and Viking remains have provided new evidence of the deep and widespread impact that the invaders had on Ireland, when they started arriving on its shores more than a thousand years ago. The recently-discovered site of Annagassan promises to rival Viking Dublin in the richness and variety of relics uncovered there.

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Dundee University staff bring Viking's face to life

Academics at Dundee University have helped recreate the most accurate picture of Viking life yet as part of a £150,000 investment at York's Jorvik Viking Centre.

York Archaeological Trust, owner of Jorvik, has used the most advanced scientific and archaeological research techniques to bring York's Vikings to life and allow the public to come face to face with the most accurate picture of Vikings at two new exhibitions at the centre, launched this week.

The trust enlisted the skills of academics at Dundee University to produce a facial reconstruction of a female skeleton — one of four excavated at Coppergate in York over 30 years ago.

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Lewis Chessman exhibition opens in Stornoway museum

Some of the historic Lewis Chessmen have gone on display on the island where they were found more than 150 years ago.

More than 30 of the 12th Century pieces are being shown at the exhibition at Museum nan Eilean in Stornoway.

The chessmen were found beneath a sand dune near Uig on the west coast of Lewis at some point before 1831.

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Wednesday 13 April 2011

Craft, churches and charcoal

Norway’s more than 1,000 year-old-city and historical capital, Trondheim, was a beehive of activity in medieval times. Recent archeological research by scientists from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) Museum of Natural History and Archaeology in the city’s popular public forest, “Bymarka”, has uncovered more than 500 charcoal pits, tell-tale signs of substantial medieval metal working activity.

For centuries, Trondheim – or Nidaros as it was then called – was home to the Archdiocese of Norway, and also for the Faeroe Islands, the Orkney Islands, the Isle of Man, Iceland and Greenland. Nidaros Cathedral, the city’s gothic cathedral, held reliquaries from St. Olaf and thus attracted thousands of pilgrims. And the cathedral was not the only church in town. While just two of the many churches erected in the town center in medieval times still stand, 25 stone churches were built during the Middle Ages in the countryside around Trondheim.

“This charcoal production is most probably directly linked to major historic events and processes occurring in central Norway at the beginning of the Middle Ages. One obvious explanation is the Church’s impact on economic growth and production as well as its demand for building materials,” explains archeologist Ragnhild Berge, a PhD candidate based at NTNU's Museum of Natural History and Archaeology in Trondheim.

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Tuesday 12 April 2011

The Dragon Harald Fairhair

The largest Viking ship built in modern times

In March of 2010, construction began on what will be the largest Viking ship ever built in modern times. Named after Harald Fairhair, the king who unified Norway into one kingdom, the great dragon ship is coming together in the town of Haugesund in Western Norway.

At a hundred and fourteen feet of crafted oak, twenty-seven feet on the beam, displacing seventy tons, and with a thirty-two hundred square foot sail of pure silk, this magnificent ship will indeed be worthy of a king.

The Dragon Harald Fairhair will have 25 pairs of oars. It is necessary to have at least two people on each oar to row the ship efficiently. That will give a crew of at least 100 persons, yet the craft should be able to be sailed by only twelve.

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