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V king Heritage



Viking Heritage Magazine


The first year of the new millennium is soon at an end. At the same time Transformation 35
as the millennium change has brought visions of the future, it has also
involved a great deal of historical retrospection. Vikings and the Viking
Age have been highlighted, especially in North America due to the 1000- The recently found
hoards from Spillings
year anniversary of the first Norsemen reaching the continent. All this
farm on Gotland, Sweden 68
focus on the Viking Age, which is actually a rather short period of the
Nordic pre-history (ca 8001050 AD), has resulted in a growing interest
from a wide international public. Another great Viking Feast! 9
This year Viking Heritage Newsletter has also expanded to become a
Magazine. Your responses to this change have been very encouraging.
For the coming year we have a lot of visions and new ideas. A big The round towered churches of
problem, however, is how to finance our activities, as the Viking Heritage Norfolk and northern Europe 1012
project has formally ended. Even though there is more interest than ever
in what we are doing, it seems really hard for us to raise enough funds
Nordic research project about the
to carry on the activities. In order to continue we need to re-organise. Viking Age costume at Birka 12
This issue will unfortunately be the last paper version for a while. Our
intention is to develop our magazine into a digital magazine that you can
read and download from the Viking Heritage website. Reykholt Snorri Sturlusons
To all of you subscribers who have already renewed your subscription farm in Iceland 1314
we are offering an anniversary issue including five years of interesting
articles from earlier issues of the Magazine, but also including new
material. We hope that you all will find that good value for your money. Sagas and society 2
The fall of the free state 1516
We cannot, for obvious reasons, register any new subscriptions for the
moment, but we will keep you updated with information about our
doings on our website. Frjel Discovery Programme 17
We would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has
participated in this years issues. Thank you all for interesting articles!
To all of you from all of us here at Viking Heritage: A Merry Christmas Display of the Vikings 1819
and A Happy New Year! And of course: pleasant reading!

Marita, Olle, Therese, Maj-Britt and Dan The Ale in the Viking Age
project 20
Viking Heritage
Gotland University College
E-mail: viking@hgo.se A major new initiative 2021

Tablet Weaving 22

Words of Wisdom Ribe VikingeCenter

bringing history to life 2324

Never reproach another for his love:

It happens often enough
That beauty ensnares with desire the wise Viking Viewpoints
While the foolish remain unmoved.
Viking Viewpoints 25

From Hvaml
(The High One)
Miljmrkt med Svanen. Lic nr 341 487

Heritage News

About the front page: Heritage News 2627

Tablet weaving woman. Read more about this handicraft on page 22.
Photo: Ny-Bjrn Gustafsson, Viking Heritage.

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Viking Heritage Magazine


By Iben Skibsted the Holstebro Museums

Klse area. In 1990 and 1993,
during excavations of the
At Trabjerg northeast of area where the Trabjerg-
Holstebro in Jutland, Denmark a settlement was being
large excavation of a Viking settlement investigated, he managed to find
was carried out in the middle of the more than a score of objects of different
1970s. This was one of four very large kinds for instance dress buckles,
Viking-Age settlements selected by the weights and coins things that had
Settlement Committee research initiative remained in the humus layer and that
under the Danish Research Council for could only be discovered by chance with
the Humanities for a massive undertaking the naked eye. In the spring 1991 it was
to investigate the area as thoroughly as also possible to "look" at a ploughed
possible. There was very little known grave mound about one kilometre south
about Viking-Age settlements at that time of the settlement. This was successful,
and the first level of excavations was yielding a pair of spearheads and an axe,
preceded by rationally removing the peat all made of iron and seeming to stem
mechanically, making it possible to from the Younger Roman or Older
quickly get down to the dark impressions Germanic Iron Age. Somewhat younger
that were marks from the poles used in were stamp-decorated bronze plates
buildings and enclosures. Photograph and drawing of the trefoil probably belonging to a shield. The most
Both subject matter and science. There mount from Trabjerg Bakker. The upper striking was a three-clover shaped
were developments in. At the time left section has been cleaned so that the beautifully decorated piece that were
mechanical removal of the peat layer was gold coating can be seen. Photo: Rita going to examine in detail here.
a relatively new technique that would Fredsgaard Nielsen. At first sight it looked like a very
come to revolutionise Danish familiar piece of Viking-Age jewellery;
archaeology. In the following the so-called trefoil costume
decade, the 1980s, another brooch. This was a common
equally important tool came womens brooch that was
into general use, namely the used alone or more often
metal detector. Once again together with two oval
one must be amazed by the brooches. The object is
most unexpected results a made of three similar
new, practical angle of elliptical sections starting
approach to prehistoric life from an arched centre.
could gather from the Danish However the back of the
countryside. Volunteers with local clover-shaped find from Trabjerg
knowledge have gradually come to be Bakker has no needle or hanging
associated with almost every museum. In attachment indicating that it is not a
their spare time they search the terrain in piece of jewellery. On the other hand
order to find and to delimit settlements there are remains of rivets at the tips of
from the periods when metals were used, the lobes. On the front there are more of
an accomplishment that not only has the same, where the leaves meet there are
given invaluable results but would also small plates with rivet holes projecting,
have been impossible to carry out in and in fact one rivet is still remaining. In
practice in another way. other words it has been a mount,
In this way Harald Holm intended to be fastened onto a thin
accomplished an important undertaking material.
that received a great deal of attention in The mount is a fine piece, as

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Viking Heritage Magazine

Treasure finds from stra Pboda, Sweden,

consisting of one of the very few known
complete set of French sword harness fittings.
The gilded and niello-inlaid silver fittings
were probably made in Tours around 840-
850. National Historical Museum,

evidenced by both its material and shape.

Both it and the preserved rivet are cast in
silver. The front is decorated with
exquisite flower ornamentation in relief.
Stems wind to and fro, at times bound by
a sort of knotted double line and in
twelve places the clinging vines meet in
small three-pointed leaves. The
composition is identical in all three lobes
with a small three-pointed figure in the
middle. Vines, leaves and a design of
close raised "double bands", between
which a black mass, so-called niello, has
been laid. This is a mixture of melted sword harness also seems to include other on the fittings and the very well dated
silver, copper, lead and sulphur that kinds of fittings, such as large, heavy illustrated manuscripts, it is often
appears black and makes an effective tongue-shaped ones with rivets in one possible to make a surprisingly exact
contrast to the shining silver flower end and also occasionally small oval dating of the simple items. Eldest in line
decoration. The larger surfaces around mounts. The trefoil belt mount was part is a mount from a Scanian treasure hoard
the leaves are recessed and here there are of military equipment in the Carolingian at Hljarp, where it was found together
also traces of gold covering that was first empire perhaps belonging to the cavalry with a number of coins and other items.
found during restoration. In the and they are associated exclusively with The fitting seems to be produced between
photograph only a third of the specimen the 9th century. During the Merovingian 780 and 800 and can be connected to
is cleaned but there is no need to believe period, preceding the Middle Ages on the Charlemagnes Court School in Aachen,
that the rest would continent, the where his octagonal church (consecrated
be formed warriors belt was 805) with the Emperor throne still can be
differently. Otherwise decorated with seen. With regards to the stylised
it is completely rectangular mounts. acanthus ornamentation the fitting from
From one of these an Hljarp may be compared to the
extra strap went down to adornments in a manuscript ordered by
a fitting in the middle of Charlemagne himself as a gift for the
The reverse of the mount with swords sheath to hold the Pope. Godescale, a monk who resided at
remains of the rivets (see arrows). sword. On the Bayeux tapestry, the court in 781-83, decorated the
Drawing: Moira Mackenzie dated at soon after 1066, swords manuscript. At the death of Hildegard,
and sword sheaths are reproduced Charlemagnes wife, in 783 the
in a way that it looks as though manuscript was finished. Under the
they were fastened to a fitting in the direction of Anglo-Saxon monk, Alcuin,
preserved with the exception of a small middle of a belt. The Carolingian sword Charlemagnes Court School was a centre
part of one section that has broken off. gear was inspired by Byzantine and East for the flourishing intellectual life during
As early as 1880 Sophus Mller European harness tradition. the Carolingian era. Charlemagne called
observed that three illustrations in The mount is the only one of its kind for Alcuin personally from the
Carolingian manuscripts from the middle from Denmark. Other Carolingian trefoil Lindisfarne monastery on the Holy Island
of the 9th century called the Vivian- mounts are known, but all of them have in northern England in 781. As you
bible and the Lothar-gospel show that been found outside the area of origin know the monastery was attacked in 793,
this kind of mount was fastened to a which also establishes the spread of an event marked by historians as the
leather belt around the warriors waist. It Carolingian swords. At the same time an beginning of the Viking Age.
was meant to hold a sword. examination of the mounts proves the The Norwegian trefoil mount from
Unfortunately the illustrations dont give importance and development of Huseby in Trondhjem was found in a
a satisfactory picture of how these long handicraft in the Carolingian Empire, for, womans grave together with a silver chain
swords were hung on the warriors. The in a comparison between the decoration and a couple of oval brooches. It has a

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Viking Heritage Magazine

secondary hole drilled through and altars and, as we have seen,

it showing that it was used as a also spread to the metal
pendant in the end. From other craftsmans small products.
manuscripts it can be connected Charlemagne, who was crowned
to the so-called Ada-school in emperor by the pope in 800,
Aachen during the period 800- saw himself as the creator of a
814. The expression school is new Roman Empire. A
not to be taken literally since it tremendous upswing for all
was more a sort of centre, acting manner of art and culture, the
as a source of inspiration to the so-called Carolingian
surroundings, but several of the renaissance, was a central part of
schools" had strong personal his program. The acanthus
contacts with the art-interested motif was later imitated and
emperor. further developed in the Nordic
The third in line is from a countries.
treasure find in stra Pboda in The mount from Trabjerg
Smland, Sweden. The different Bakker combines in one and the
fittings found apparently come same piece the two plant motifs
from the same workshop, the Oriental-English grapevine
presumably the monastery in and the Classical-Carolingian
Tours. The two manuscripts acanthus. It has presumably a
with illustrations of warriors in connection to Metz, like the
arms, mentioned before and Hon-mount, and is to all
dated to 843-851 when the appearances the youngest of the
abbot Vivian resided there, The Carolingian realm in the first part of the 9th century; then it trefoil belt fittings. In order to
come from that monastery as well. was divided by inheritance into three realms. get a clearer idea of the Trabjerg
The fourth mount was found object an investigation of the find
in Kolin in Bohemia in an exceedingly bishop Drogo died and the so-called site was undertaken in 1995 by Bjarne H.
richly arrayed warriors grave that older school closed down. From then on Nielsen from the Holstebro Museum.
contained a chalice, sword and spurs the school was characterised by a younger There were results, but they were very
among other things. This fitting can be group of craftsmen. mixed. Settlement remains and many
connected to the so-called older Metz- There are other mounts though not graves from the Older Iron Age, placed
school because of similarities with decorated with the acanthus-motif, from around two grave mounds presumably
decorations in the so-called Drogoprayer Biskupija-Cravina in Croatia and St from the Bronze Age that had been
book. Drogo was one of Charlemagnes Vincenzo al Volturno in southern Italy. ploughed over, were the most essential. A
sons and in 826 his brother, the future The latter, made of iron, was found a few piece of a gold foil may be from the
emperor Louis the Pious, appointed him years ago when the monasterys workshop Germanic Iron Age, but it was not
bishop in Metz (in Lorraine). In his area was investigated. possible to determine if the fitting had
younger years he had travelled with his A group of monks who had emigrated come lying in a grave or had came from
father several times to Italy and Rome all the way from Syria came to an accumulated buried treasure.
where he became inspired by the Roman Northumbria in north-eastern England in It is not impossible that sons of
ornamentation. Metz became one of the the end of the 7th century. They brought chieftains from the Nordic area went
larger and active art centres, where items one of the Mediterraneans most south and among other things got used to
of the highest quality were produced. It is characteristic art motifs with them the earning wages from taking part in
generally considered that the Kolin-fitting grapevine, with its origins in Classical military battles on the Continent during
was produced during the period 850-855. antiquity, but also a symbol of the the early Middle Ages. The fittings could
paradise in Christian symbolism. It surely have been brought home as part of
The most beautiful of the known
became a part of Anglo-Saxon Christian their mercenary pay. That this very
acanthus-decorated Carolingian belt
art and later reached the Continent. masculine outfit would directly inspire
fittings comes from an incredibly rich
The acanthus motif began to be used different kinds of Nordic female jewellery
treasure find in Hon, not far from todays
in an entirely different way, namely in would certainly have caused great
Oslo. In this find, which contains mainly
imperial decrees. The word itself derives astonishment in the Carolingian
gold objects with a total weight of 2,5
from Greek akantha, thorn bush, which armouries.
kilos, a trefoil filigree-decorated belt
mount was found among arm-rings, tells us something about the plants
coins, beads, pieces of jewellery, with its features. The motif derived from Classical E-mail: ibenskibsted@hotmail.com
lobes equally cut off. This mount is the antiquity among other things on This article was also published in SKALK
only one made of gold. There have been Corinthian pillar capitals from 4th 3/00
disagreements regarding the place and century BC was thus an immediate
time of its production, but much would reference to classical culture. The
indicate that it should be connected to acanthus motif was used widely in
the Metz monastery after 855, when manuscripts and on reliquaries, chalices

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The recently found hoards from

Spillings farm on Gotland, Sweden
By Ola Korps, While working with the metal Hoard I
Per Widerstrm and detector in a field near the Spillings farm Two silver hoards of this size within three
Jonas Strm the metal detector gave a sharp signal meters of each other must be seen as
and when placed closer to object beneath something extraordinary, even on
Gotland is rich in historical remains and the surface of the soil Jonas Strm, who Gotland! The first hoard, hereafter hoard
traces from times long ago. Throughout is an expert in the use of such detectors, I, measured 40x50 cm on the surface. In
the years many artefacts from our past noted a new observation. The display on the first layers of hoard I we found Arabic
have been found on the island. Especially the metal detector showed the sign coins, bracelets, arm-rings and bars all
remarkable are the large amounts of silver overload, a clear indication that this made out of silver. Hoard I was excavated
that have been found here. For example find was something out of the at the site and the work was problematic
more English coins have been found on ordinary. when the silver in the hoard had been
the tiny island of Gotland than in When archaeologists had started exposed to a chemical process, which
England itself. working on the excavation of the find, coloured the surface of the objects purple
One of the more, if not the most, the work with the metal detector and made them fragile. The bracelets were
spectacular phenomena is the large, or continued and once again its display twisted into each other and in some cases
even huge, amount of silver hoards that showed the overload sign! This was it seems that they have been put together
have been found in different parts of only 3 meters from the first one, but the in certain weights to correspond to a
Gotland. In fact, more than seven ground at Spillings had even more to weight system used during the Viking
hundred silver hoards have been found on yield to the archaeologists. Only 1 m Age. A proper English term for this is
the island. And that figure only takes into from the second silver hoard the metal Ringmoney. This term that does not
account the hoards that have been detector indicated another large find. A exist in Swedish, but most definitely
registered in modern times. hoard containing bronze objects was should! The majority of the coins in
Most of the hoards have been found revealed; most of them destroyed, cut or hoard I were found in the bottom placed
when farming, during road construction burnt, pieces of bronze artefacts. Some in a small wooden chest. This was also
and in other more or less scientific ways. of it was melted together in a big chunk taken in for closer examination in the
In the early summer of 1999 the biggest of melted bronze. It is considered to be a laboratory at the museum. The coins have
hoard so far was found at Spillings farm scrap metal deposit. It seems like a chest not yet been counted due to the chemical
in Othem parish, situated in the of bronzes exported from the Baltic process but there are approximately
northeastern part of Gotland. Personnel countries of Estonia, Lithuania and between 3000 and 4000 silver coins. All
from the Gotland Fornsal Museum in Latvia to Gotland, probably meant to be of them are Arabic dirhems. The shest the
Visby found the hoard with a metal melted down and remade into a more coins were placed in measures
detector after the landowner had brought local type of jewellery. approximately 17x18 cm. The total
the archaeologists attention to the place. weight of hoard I is about 25 kg.

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Viking Heritage Magazine

the ground only the small area of the

hoard itself was excavated or salvaged
and the area around was hardly ever
investigated. This is mainly due to the
costs involved with the necessary
archaeological excavations. The main
question discussed was why the
hoards were hidden and also what
the reason was for the large
amount of silver found on
Gotland. The silver hoards
mostly contain silver coins but
also bracelets, finger-rings,
brooches, pieces of silver and
rarely gold coins. The coins
in the hoards dated before
970 are mostly of eastern
origin and those after 970 are
of western origin, mainly
from England and
In 1977 a project, called
The Hoard Project, with the
main purpose of investigating the
places where silver hoards have been
found, began on Gotland. The silver
itself has been the object of many studies
Hoard II with the hoards from Spillings in the but the sites where it was found have
Hoard II was not exposed to the same future, made this dating. Therefore I never undergone any deeper scientific
aggressive chemical process as hoard I want to remind readers that this is a still studies, with the exception of Majvor
and was removed as a mass for preliminary figure. The few coins that stergrens research Mellan stengrund
excavation in the laboratory where it are not Arabic are a coin from the och stenhus from 1989 that singles
could be examined carefully. Preparation Byzatine Empire struck for Basileos I in itself out in this field.
of a silver hoard this size had never 867, and two other so-called Hedeby The project undertook new
before been done on Gotland. coins minted around 825. Most of the investigations in the places where the
Everything went well except that a stone coins have not yet been fully examined, hoards have been found both from
obstructed the metal plate used to slide but Johan Landgren has browsed archive studies and with the help of
under the hoard before lifting it up from through them and divided them into metal detectors and archaeological
the ground. After overcoming that groups of younger and older coins. The excavations. Another reason for starting
minor problem the hoard was taken youngest group has been examined the project was also to excavate the sites
indoors and the examination could pretty carefully explaining why its before people with less scientific motives
begin. estimated age is considered as a probable did. The plundering and looting of
This hoard was investigated from the date. The total weight of hoard II is historical monuments was, and still is, a
bottom. The second hoard showed to be about 40 kg. big problem on Gotland and of course
even bigger then hoard I and not only the silver hoards are the object of special
that, the objects were in better Silver hoards interest for looters. In the early nineties
condition. In hoard nr. II 312 arm-rings, Silver hoards have traditionally been the Swedish government passed a law
20 bars, 30 bracelets, 20 finger-rings and interpreted as having been buried in the restricting the use of all metal detectors
approximately 9000 silver coins were ground during violent times and then in Sweden.
found. The majority were Arabic coins forgotten. The general interpretation is With new excavations at sites where
from the Sassanidian dynasty from the that the silver has been hidden in the silver hoards have been found,
mid-8th century, Ummajadian coins ground within the farm property, mainly archaeologists wanted to study the link
from the 8th century and Abbasidian within a building. Too few larger between the silver hoards and
coins from the 9th century. The TPQ, archaeological investigations have been settlements from the same time. On
the youngest coins in the hoards are made at the places where silver was Gotland many settlements from the early
dated to 866-867. That is also is the found and the question of where the Iron Age (up to 500 AD) are visible in
preliminary dating for the deposition of silver was kept during the Viking Age the landscape because of the stones used
the hoard/ hoards. Johan Landgren, the has never had received a proper answer. to build the walls. In the younger phase
numismatic who will continue his work When the silver was removed from of the Iron Age houses were made of

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Viking Heritage Magazine

wood, making settlements from that era

hard to find. In the end of the 1960s
Lena Thunmark and Gustav Trotzig
carried out the first larger excavation at
Burge in Lummelunda where a silver
hoard had been found during cultivation
in 1967. Their excavations showed that
the hoard had been placed inside the
walls of a house (Thunmark & Trotzig
1971: 97).
Later excavations at sites where silver
hoards have been found provide us with
archaeological information showing a
similar pattern to the Burge
investigation. Silver hoards seem to be
connected with settlements from the
same period. Materials found at the sites
are of typical settlement character,
ceramics, nails, bones and postholes.

Bronze hoards contained dress-pins, arm- and neck- The smaller squares are test pits. The
Hoarding as a phenomenon in rings, bracelets, mountings and pieces of eastern one, in the top right corner,
archaeological material is well worth a melted bronze. Most of the objects were showed traces from a house, with an
discussion, as it seems to appear all over destroyed, cut in pieces or half melted. easily recognisable clay floor level. In
but there is little known about it. Hoards Perhaps destroyed by fire would be an that one we also found a great deal of
might consist of iron, bronze, silver or appropriate expression. Indubitable ceramics and animal bones. We have
gold; valuable goods from the specific evidence of wood and large iron- tried to show the situation of the house
period in any case. They might be mountings showed that the bronze had with the dotted line in the picture. The
hidden from enemies or placed in been kept in some kind of a wooden dark areas within the trench are areas
pattern to create a territorial borderline, container. with stones and darker soil. Wooden
or they might be seen as ceremonial Judging from the iron-mountings the remains probably belonging to a roof
offerings, gifts to gods for religious container was a chest. During the were found and laboratory results will
reasons. On Gotland, as mentioned excavation well-preserved pieces of a indicate if the hoards and the building
earlier, more than 700 silver hoards have solid lock for the chest appeared. Many belong to the same time period. This
been found. One or more are added to of the bronze pieces had been exposed to and other questions will hopefully be
this number every year. Bronze hoards a high temperature and a big chunk of answered when test results arrive and
are more rare. The number of bronze bronze artefacts was melted together at other analyses are all completed.
hoards is uncertain but if not correct, the bottom of the hoard. The bronze
this is the fifth found, one more or less, hoard can be seen as raw material for
on Gotland. Perhaps therefore this hoard bronze casting. The bronze objects that Literature
has been slightly neglected in the way were found were all of Baltic type. At the Thunmark, L & Trotzig, G. 1971. Burge i
not only the media but also we, the moment nothing specific can be said Lummelunda. Ett forskningsprojekt.
archaeologists have presented the major regarding the dating of the objects. Gotlndskt Arkiv. Visby.
find from Spillings farm. This find is not Hopefully a planned Swedish-Baltic
as large, not as valuable today and not as project, still in an early phase, will be stergren, M. 1989. Mellan stengrund
glimmering as the polished silver, but able to provide some vital answers och stenhus. Gotlands vikingatida
still, it can provide us with concerning dating the hoard and the silverskatter som boplatsindikation.
archaeological facts that will increase our objects within it. An answer from the Theses and papers in archaeology 2.
knowledge about trade in a way radiocarbon dating laboratory is Visby.
another silver hoard cannot. This is expected soon.
not meant to be patronising but, while The weight of the bronze hoard was
more silver hoards provide more factual approximately 20 kg. About the author:
information, a rare find results in more All these three hoards seem to have Ola Korps, Per Widerstrm and Jonas
new knowledge and equally important- been hidden within a building; all three Strm are archaeologists.
it arouses more questions. within the same building shown in the
In this short description we will focus picture to the right. The line in the lower E-mail: per.widerstrom@ gotmus.i.se
on the hoards from Spillings. right hand corner measuring 10 meters
The bronze hoard was found only 1 indicates the scale. North is upwards as a
meter from silver hoard II. The hoard small arrow above the big trench shows. Photos: Gran Strm

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Viking Heritage Magazine

Another great Viking Feast!

All recipes are for 4 persons

Nettle Soup
1 1/22 litres of tender nettles
1 litre vegetable bouillon
3 tablespoons flour
1 decilitre milk or cream
Salt, white- or black pepper
1/21 teaspoon of sweet cicely or thyme
4 eggs, boiled
Rinse and parboil the nettles. Pour off the water. Bring
the bouillon to the boil. Place the nettles in the
Thicken the soup with flour mixed together with some
cold water and let boil a couple of minutes to a well-
thickened consistency. Add milk or cream. Flavour
with salt, pepper and sweet cicely or thyme. Remove
the eggshells and divide them into halves.
Place them in the soup tureen with the soup.

"Chimney sweepers"
1 kilo ungutted herring
1 litre water
1 dl salt
1 tablespoon of butter
Butter mixed with dill Photo: Lennart Hansson
50 g butter
1/2 dl finely chopped dill
Gut the herring, leaving the backbone. Rinse them
carefully and let drain off.
Mix water and salt in a bowl. Let the herring soak in
the water about 1 hour. Take up the herring and drain
off carefully. Fry in hot frying pan 23 minutes on
each side or grill them over live coals. In that case place
them in a gridiron, brush them with butter and grill
them over live coals 23 minutes on each side.
Serve them immediately together with the dill-
flavoured butter and bread.

Cowberry pears
1 litre cowberries (red whortleberries), about 600 g
3 dl water
3 dl honey
1 kilo small, firm pears
Pick the cowberries over and put them in a casserole.
Add water and honey. Bring to a boil and then simmer
on low heat without lid, about 10 minutes. In the
meantime peel the pears letting the stalks remain.
Scrape the stalks with a knife and cut a cross at the
bottom of the pears. Put the pears in the casserole and
let them boil with the cowberries until they are soft,
about 30 minutes. Skim carefully. Put the cowberry
pears in carefully cleaned, hot jars, pouring the liquid
over them. Put on the lids and let the pears cool.
Keep them in a dark and cool place.

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The round towered churches of

Norfolk and northern Europe
By Michael Knights is only to be expected that communication
and trade were predominantly with
The round western church tower is well Scandinavian countries across the water
known to be a characteristic and distinctive boats being the only effective means of
feature of Norfolk churches. There are 123 transport during the Middle Ages.
standing round towers in the county. In The surviving Orcadian round towered
addition, there are 11 ruinous round towers church at Egilsay, and the lost round towers
and evidence for a further 11. They range in at Deerness and Stenness are not so
date from the late 11th century to the 15th, unexpected if set in this context of sea-
the majority dating from the 12th century. faring communities around the North and
Baltic seas. Apart from the building
Why were the towers built round? materials, the church of St Magnus, Egilsay
A strongly held belief is that the reason for would not look out of place in the Norfolk
the towers being round is due to the lack of countryside.
suitable freestone in the region for making There is further evidence of this cultural
ashlar quoins required for the corners of a exchange. At the round-towered church of
square or rectangular tower. This theory Great Leighs in Essex, there is an interesting
does not stand up to scrutiny when it is detail which confirms the presence of a
pointed out that many contemporary Danish mason in East Anglia during the
Church of St Margaret, Hales, Norfolk, 12th century. The hood mould of the west
square towers were built without ashlar England
quoins, and that many of the nave quoins door is decorated with a curious plait motif
and reveals in churches with round towers unknown in the Anglo-Norman sculptural
are built with ashlar. In 1000. repertoire. It originates in the region now
addition, there are round As a rule the surviving north European called Schleswig Holstein, where several
parish church towers churches are larger than the East Anglian churches have the same distinctive motif.
built of brick and ashlar towers and are built of large glacial erratics Other sculptural details found in
in northern Europe, and (feldstein). They all date from the second Norfolk churches with round towers point
in Norfolk there are half of the 12th century and they have some to a Scandinavian influence. Surviving
towers built of features which are strikingly similar to ironwork on the south door at
conglomerate, such as at Norfolks round towers. The church at Raveningham, the snake on the imposts of
Bessingham or West Ratekau near Lbeck, has a pair of circular Breckles tower arch, and the unusual plate
Dereham. Furthermore, double-splayed windows lighting the tracery at Cranwich all display the influence
other areas in Britain and ground floor of the round tower a of Viking art. Perhaps the clearest example
Europe, where there common characteristic of the earlier East of this influence is the 12th century capital
exists a paucity of Anglian round towers. Double-splayed from the cloisters of Norwich cathedral,
freestone, did not resort to building round windows of both circular and rectangular which is carved with interlacing snakes or
towers. It is clear that the reason for this types are found in many of the round ribbons, typical of the Urnes style. This
predilection for round western towers was towered churches in Norfolk, and are the illustrates the lingering influence of Viking
the result of a conscious stylistic or cultural rule rather than the exception in the north culture in the county, long after the
choice. European round towers. Norman conquest.
So distinctive is the round western tower,
Links with Viking communities its occurrence in these regions must indicate Why did Norfolk people choose round
Norfolk was not the only place in Europe shared influences. Norfolk was conquered, towers?
with round towers. There are a number of and then settled by peoples from southern As fashions in medieval church building
churches with round western towers Scandinavia during the ninth and early were almost always imitative it is very likely
existing in northern Germany, in Schleswig tenth centuries and a residue of that most churches with round towers were
Holstein and the northern parts of Lower Scandinavian language and custom was simply imitating the neighbouring parish
Saxony; in Skne (southern Sweden, undoubtedly absorbed into the local church. However, the question remains:
formerly Denmark) (Plate 2); and in culture. In addition, it is well known that what were Norfolk builders imitating?
Orkney and Shetland. There is also trade was intensive between Norfolk and Imitation in building, or what Richard
evidence for one in Norway. The earliest countries bordering the North and Baltic Krautheimer called architectural
churches in the group are only known from Seas. Furthermore, it is necessary to iconography, is often characterised by the
excavation. They are at Heeslingen near remember that Norfolk was an isolated imitation of one particularly distinctive
Bremen, and Johannisberg near Hersfeld. region in relation to the rest of England. feature. Thus, the many churches which
Both these churches can be dated from Given its position projecting into the North claim to be reproductions of the Church of
documentary evidence to around the year Sea, more than any other English county, it the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem have only

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Viking Heritage Magazine

one characteristic in common they are

centrally planned. Also, in the late 11th
century, the bishop of Hereford, Robert of
Lorraine, built for himself a chapel based,
according to William of Malmesbury, on
Charlemagnes palace chapel at Aachen. The
bishops building was rectangular, as
opposed to the polygonal Aachan chapel,
but it was of two storeys with an octagonal
well in the central bay connecting the two
floors. In this case, William of Malmesbury,
and presumably Robert of Lorraine, both
considered that the two storeys and the
octagonal well were enough to make the
connection with Charlemagnes chapel. In
Norfolk, the builders of the church of St
George at Methwold considered the Ely
cathedral lantern worthy of imitation. They
chose to perch it on top of the western
tower, even though at Ely it stood at the
crossing and was designed to resolve the
problems caused by the collapse of the
Norman tower.
This last example illustrates the desire of Hammarlunda Kyrka, Skne, Sweden
the patron and designer of a parish church
to emulate the mother church of the late 11th century were the abbey of Bury St radiating chapels were two-storied, with
diocese. This emulation can be observed in Edmunds and Norwich Cathedral. turreted pilasters in the angle between the
Kent where a small number of churches Rebuilding of the church at Bury began in chapels and the eastern apse. The chapels at
(best preserved at Godmersham) have single 1081. Norwich cathedral was a new church Bury were of three storeys including the
towers attached to the side, with apses built on virgin ground as the cathedral of crypt. The taller chapels at Bury, also with
projecting from their east walls. It is clear East Anglia, and was officially begun in the quadrant turrets or pilasters, were
that the position of the tower to one side of 1096. Its design was influenced by the obviously impressive structures, and it is
the church at the junction between nave earlier church at Bury. The eastern arms of likely that they provided the inspiration for
and chancel and the presence of the apse is these two flagship buildings were completed the earlier round towers of parish churches
a direct reference to the radiating chapels of in 1096 at Bury, and 1101 at Norwich. in the region.
Canterbury Cathedral which were, of It seems possible that the radiating The influence of the great churches of
course, towers as well. It is in this context chapels found at both these mother Bury and Norwich is further illustrated by
that the derivation of Norfolks early round churches were the local source for the East the use at parish churches of the quadrant
towers may be seen. Anglian round tower. The radiating chapels pilaster. This feature is commonly found on
In the medieval diocese of East Anglia survive in plan form only at Bury, and in an the junction between a round tower and the
the two major foundations existing in the altered form at Norwich. At Norwich the west wall of the nave. It is unique to East
Anglia and thus very distinctive. The
reconstruction drawing of Norwich
cathedrals radiating chapels shows turrets,
with little conical roofs, positioned where
the north and south radiating chapels join
the ambulatory. These turrets were
originally very prominent, and so it is
interesting to see how they were adapted in
to relatively minor features by parish church
builders. A particularly clear attempt at
copying these turrets can be seen at St
Matthias, Haddiscoe Thorpe where the
quadrant pilasters are capped with conical
pieces of limestone, with a carved head

What was the original source?

The likeliest source for the turreted massing
of the vast churches at Norwich and Bury
are the great churches of The Holy Roman
Empire under the Carolingian, Ottonian
and Salien dynasties. These churches were
studded with round towers, drawing on
Urnes-style Cathedral capitol, early 12th century

11 http://viking.hgo.se
Viking Heritage Magazine

particular examples, such as the twin

western towers at Gernrode and
Mllenbeck (Rinteln) or the
transept towers of the influential About the author:
church of St Michael at Hildesheim. Michael Knights is the Principle
The earlier round towers at Building Conservation Officer with
Heeslingen and Johannisberg were Norfolk County Council and have
probably emulating great churches been involved with many EU
such as these. The Norman patrons funded projects to date, three
of the great churches of Bury and with the Hgskolan in Gotland as
Norwich looked to the Empire for partners! He is the head of a
examples of suitable scale and status small team of conservation
for their newly acquired kingdom of experts and four of them are
England. involved in one way or another
with various aspects of the NSVL
project. Dirk Bouwens (Building
Surveyor) is supervising the
The source for the round towers of
reconstruction at Swaffham.
Norfolk parish churches remains Stephen Heywood(Architectural
elusive. However, the existence of Historian) carried out the initial
very similar round towers around research into the origins of the
the Baltic and North Sea coasts, round towered churches and
combined with the surviving Caroline Davison (Conservation
Scandinavian decorative motifs in Officer) is developing the church
East Anglian churches, are evidence trails and interpretation elements
of a continuing Scandinavian of the project.
presence, albeit within the Christian Truly a team effort!
context, first brought to the coasts
of Norfolk by the Vikings. E-mail:

Conjectural reconstruction of the radiating chapels

and turrets at Norwich Cathedral

Nordic research project about the

Viking Age costume at Birka
This autumn the Birka museum in Sweden Hopefully one result of the project will museum.
has started a sequence of symposiums for be a female costume that women from the At the symposium in September it was
researchers with special interest on different higher stratum of society in Birka could decided to begin this project with a
topics regarding the Viking-Age Birka. The wear. So far by looking at the Viking-Age merchants costume for the year 2002.
symposiums are aimed at shedding light artefacts found at Birka researchers have During the three-day long symposium there
upon the knowledge of Birka. The first been able to draw conclusions about what a were open public lectures led by the
symposium was carried out in the simpler female costume looked like. One of researchers. In the future the lectures will
beginning of September and it was focused the questions at issue now is if there is result in a written publication, regarding
on the latest results within textile research enough archaeological material to put Viking-Age costumes. The articles in the
and Viking-Age costumes. The symposium together a description of a Viking-Age publication will be in Scandinavian
was also aimed at laying the ground for costume in its full splendour. The languages but short summaries will be in
reconstructing a Viking-Age womans reconstruction efforts will be based upon English.
costume. Through this project the the rich material of textile fragments and In September 2001 there will be a
researchers are hoping to get some answers other equipment found in the Birka graves. second symposium regarding the defence
about questions regarding the social There is also material from the other system at Birka. More information about
structures at Birka. Scandinavian countries and from the that forthcoming meeting will follow in
It is very exciting to be able to gather northern part of Germany that will be future issues of Viking Heritage Magazine.
Nordic researchers to take part in the latest studied as well. The finished costume will You can also contact Annika Richert e-mail:
research results about Birka. At the same hopefully be ready for display at the Birka annika.richert@raa.se or Malin Westling,
time we will get help with the task of museums temporary summer exhibition in public relations officer, e-mail:
reconstructing a Birka costume, says Annika 2003. Every summer an exhibition malin.westlin g@raa.se.
Richert, local manager at the Birka exploring a different topic each year is on
museum. display in the central gallery of the Http://www.raa.se /birka

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Viking Heritage Magazine

End of the tunnel with the new excavated steps

Photo: Florian W. Huber

By Florian W. Huber

This summer the National Museum of Iceland was again

conducting an archaeological investigation of the
farmsite at Reykholt, which is situated in the beautiful
valley of Borgarfjr ur, western Iceland. This site is
closely linked to the famous historian Snorri Sturluson
(11791242), who is reputed to have written
Heimskringla a history of the Kings of Norway and
the Poetic Edda (also called Snorra Edda), which
contains not only tales of the heathen gods of germanic
mythology but also teaches poeticmetres. It is also
believed that he has written Egils Saga.
This year, an international team of archaeologists, a
zooarchaeologist and a palaeoentomologist from Great
Britain, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and of course
Iceland came to Reykholt, to continue the work from the
last seasons.

Snorri Sturlusons farm in Iceland
Previous Excavations These walls could be associated with a available for this period which contain
The first excavation at Reykholt took fireplace which has been radiocarbon descriptions of buildings and other
already place in 1941 when the passage dated from charcoal to the period arrangements at the site, for example the
leading from Snorralaug ( the warm hot between the 8th and 10th centuries. Sturlunga Saga, which is a relatively
spring bath ) to the farm was excavated. These remains, overlie natural deposits reliable source for events in the 13th
It had been discovered when a new and belong without any doubt to the century. This gives archaeologists and
sportshall was erected in 1934 to the east earliest occupation of the site. historians the opportunity to compare
of the already existing school. In 1964 As a result so far we can say that there these descriptions with the structural
and 1984 minor excavations took place. are overlapping building phases spanning remains unearthed through
In 1987 excavations were started again at the period from the initial settlement, archaeological enquiry.
the initiative of and with funding from probably already in the 9th century, Reykholt is probably among the
the Ministy of Education. Trial trenches until the 20th century. earliest farms, settled in the country (also
were dug to establish the extent of the A special feature at the site are the hot it is not mentioned in the
farm mound. It turned out that the last springs. Investigations have shown that Landnmabk), with continuous
farm houses, made of turf, stone and the geothermal water was used as a occupation until the 20th century.
wood , were pulled down in 1930. The resource in the past. The use of this Therefore a comparison with three other
farm buildings were rebuilt and moved resource during the earliest settlement farm-mounds excavated in Iceland,
every so often. One building phase period in Iceland has not been spanning similar length of occupation is
supersedes another and some of the extensively studied so far. planned:
remains are very fragmentary as a result. Straborg, a medium-sized coastal
In 1989 remains of some old turf Present excavations farm, Bessasta ir, the seat of the
walls with traces of volcanic ash in them A major reason for the interest in Governor and the later President of
( tephra ), identified as the so-called studying and excavating the farm site lies Iceland, and Vi ey, where there was a
landnm-layer, which can be dated to in its historical significance. monastery for a period of time in the
871 AD ( + 2 years ) were excavated. Contemporary written records are medieval period. A complete comparison

13 http://viking.hgo.se
Viking Heritage Magazine

The big stone construction

Part of Snorri`s stronghold?
Photo: Florian W. Huber

of finds, structures, size and status from

these four farm-mounds is of immense
importance for piecing together the
settlement history of Iceland.
This years excavation has focused on
the area that was previously excavated in
At this time the old farm and the
tunnel, which leads from Snorralaug and
connects with the farm site was
examined. The tunnel is at least 38
metres long with a turn at the end and
five steps at that turn, before the 17th /
18th century passageway house cuts into
these steps. The walls are made of stone
which reach a maximum height of about the stronghold of Snorri Sturluson Come and visit Reykholt
1.8 m although it is likely that the mentioned in some Sagas. But this Reykholt is visited by a large number of
original height was in excess of this. The question remains to be answered! tourists, both foreigners and Icelanders
space between the walls reaches a Another part of this years excavation every year.
maximum width of 1 m. How the roof were some structures which seem to date This year even Harald, the King of
was made is not yet known. Several into the 18th and 19th centuruies. Turf Norway came to Reykholt to see were
organic layers were encountered within walls as well as fragments of wood, Snorri lived and worked! Already last
the tunnel which may have been floors bones, textiles and charcoal will help to summer tourists could join a guided tour
which accumulated during the use of give us more informations about these at the excavation area; and there is also a
tunnel. These layers have been sampled farm houses. big information centre and museum,
with the intention of looking at the The fact that the archaeologists have which shows the history and importance
variety of insect remains, pollen and to deal with cultural deposits descending of Reykholt and Snorri Sturluson. So if
plant material which can be preserved in to a depth of 1-2 m from the surface and you are planning a trip to Iceland -
such organic layers. This could reveal a time period from about 1000 years, don`t forget to visit Reykholt it`s
whether any kind of bedding material makes the whole excavation at Reykholt definitely worth the trip!
was used for the floor and what kind of very complicated. So there is still a lot of
wood was used as a roof structure, if any. work needed to put all the little pieces If you want to know more about
A large stone-construction was also together, so we can get a clear and Reykholt: www.reykholt.is
excavated this year. There are no detailed picture about this important
previous examples of anything like this place! The excavation will continue next
construction in whole Iceland. There are year...
speculations about whether it might be

About the author:

Florian W. Huber has studied
Archaeology and Scandinavian
languages in Munich, Germany
and Ume, Sweden. He is now
studying at the University of Kiel,
Snorralaug - Germany. He wants to specialize
the hot pool. In in the Viking Age.
the back you
can see the E-mail: flohlys@yahoo.de
entrance of the
tunnel. Photo:
Florian W. Language checked by Andrew Evens.

http://viking.hgo.se 14
Viking Heritage Magazine

The stability of the Icelandic system of

society was based mainly on the balance
between two completely different
principles. According to the ideology of
Sagas and society 2
the settlement phase all freeborn had equal
rights before the law. On the other hand The fall of the free state
an aristocratic principle dominated the
political structures of the free state. As we
have already learned, go ar and ingmenn By Michael Nei
formed the leading classes in Icelandic
society. The Icelandic social contract
originated from the times when the land owners led to the impoverishment of the farm because of the competition between
was fully settled. Consequently the Icelandic middle class. With the go ar and churchowners. Then the fathers
pressure of a growing population could no weakening of the power of their go ar and of the church were also concerned with a
longer be mitigated by a colonisation of their clans, it became more and more prohibition of infanticide and eating
new areas. Instead, for many freeborn and difficult for common people to come into horsemeat. Yet these heathen practices
former equals the only chance for survival their own. This extreme distortion of were most important for the nourishment
was to become dependents of a rich justice dramatically disturbed the former of large numbers of the population on one
landowner, a development naturally feeling of solidarity between all freeborn. hand and birth control of slave class on
overshadowed by deep social conflicts. To This development would not be the other. Naturally, the consequences of
solve this problem all freeborn were without consequence for the institution of that development do not become evident
subjected to the same law and a common slavery. Yet, for the moment, let us return to their full extent until a few generations
institution was created: the great Althing, to the beginning again. Investigating the later. We need mention that the preachers
which represented a compromise between specific conditions of the colonisation of God were not particularly engaged in
an ideological demand and social reality. phase we have to conclude that there had the destiny of slaves.
The end of the peaceful era (fri ar- never been any real economical need for Ironically it would be the breakdown of
ld) began when Christianity was slavery! The fact that settlers took slaves society caused by the introduction of
introduced to Iceland. After failure by a with them to Iceland can of course be Christianity that would bring about the
couple of other missionaries, the north- explained by the cultural conditions back disappearance of slavery on Iceland.
German Dankbrand finally succeeded in in Norway: Many slaves were therefore The third destructive conflict
converting some of Iceland's leading captured during the journey, quite often happened when church within the scope
go ar. This, of course, alienated them from the Celtic nations on the British of the movement of libertas ecclesiae began
from their own ingmenn. That tension Isles. However slavery on Iceland is to claim possession of land and property
would finally burst into an open schism nothing more than an ideological import. donations. As a problem, the definition of
when at the great Althing of the year 1000 Slavery's disappearance is assumed to have property as we find it in ecclesial law
the two hostile parties declared themselves occurred sometime around the end of the completely contradicted the conception of
to be "ur lgum"; the Icelandic social Viking Age. Actually, there was never any the church owners who, following the old
contract threatened to break up. Only law to abolish slavery on Iceland. Rather idea of o al as family land, had only
thanks to the dexterity of the law speaker some demographic changes were needed meant to lease property out to the church.
could the threat of a civil war be adverted. to make the system of slavery unbearable. Lasting more than one hundred years that
According to his judgement Christianity Firstly we have to consider the conflict finally led to a complete change in
became the official religion of the free diminishing livelihood on the average the common definition of land ownership.
state, while heathen practices were still Henceforth the power traditionally
allowed if carried out in secrecy. Preserving associated with land ownership no longer
the customs of child abandonment and rested with the family clans but became
eating horsemeat can be explained by their the personal and freely transferable
economic importance. The second conflict About the author: belonging of an individual. In the end we
caused by Christianity arose from the Michael Nei has studied find social structures that had not much in
Archaeology and Scandinavian
introduction of church taxes. The church common with the conditions during the
studies at the Humboldt University
owner, in particular, benefited from beginning phase. The particular Icelandic
of Berlin. In 1998 he continued his
receiving the greatest share of the tithe. As studies of Archaeology at the social contract has become invalid; there
a result rich landowners started to build University of Stockholm and now he are hardly any partners left with equal
their own churches. As we recall, the is a student of comparative religion rights. The fri ar ld is superseded by an
principal of go or was founded mainly on at the same University. His special era of discord. A handful of families now
the economic equality of bndr and go ar. interests are: later Iron Age, moves into the focus of history, becoming
However now the go ar were forced to ornamental art and iconography new factors of influence. That is the
make up for the extreme accumulation of interspersed with religion and prelude to the age of the Sturlungar.
power by raising the leasing rentals for society. Due to an active marriage policy the
their tenants and acquiring new five or seven important family clans would
guardianships. In the long run the E-mail: michaelneiss@hotmail.com be so interwoven around the year 1220
competition between go i and church that traditional conceptions of family no

15 http://viking.hgo.se
Viking Heritage Magazine

The powerful ttir of the


longer had any practical meaning. Instead

territorial bonds became more important,
making the ttir reside in their own
separate territories, so to say. Putting the
total breakdown of traditional structures
in the context of the individualization of
power gives us a key to a new
understanding of the bloody conflicts of
the Sturlunga-Age. Consequently it was
more likely a matter of personal battles
than just cruel feuds between family
clans... between ecclesial and profane erudition. It came when the first monasteries were
A remarkable characteristic of all began when the first bishop was founded on the island. In that context we
Icelandic culture is the strong connection ordained in 1056. However its real heyday ought to remember that pupils to be
educated here also were members of the
leading families. That is why education

Somerled undoubtedly had to pay some respect to
the specific interests of that social class. As
a matter of fact, most sagas are supposed

boo AND THE EMERGENCE to originate from or at least have been

written down in the monasteries. As far as
OF GAELIC SCOTLAND can be determined that specific Icelandic
erudition is considered to have reached its
By John Marsden importance for the church on Iona, and his climax in the stormy days of the
extraordinary invasion of the Clyde which
ISBN 1-86232-101-9 was cut short by his violent death at Stulungar. With reference to that one
Renfrew in 1164. might wonder to what extent the Sagas
Through most of eight hundred years, Perhaps most impressive is its reflect the ideal of a better society. Most
Somerled of Argyll has been variously demonstration of how almost everything Sagas are placed in the days of the fri ar
denounced as an intractable rebel against that is known of or has been claimed for ld, between the years 930-1050. Despite
his rightful king and esteemed as the Somerled reflects the same characteristic the fact that they were written down at a
honoured ancestor of the later fusion of Norse and Celt which binds the
medieval Lords of the Isles, cultural roots of time when slavery had disappeared for
but he can be recognised now Gaeldom. It is this centuries these pieces of literature show an
as a much more complex recognition which has astonishingly uniform stereotype picture
figure of major prominence led its author to his of the conditions of slavery. In any case we
in twelfth-century Scotland proposal of Somerleds have to deal with a deep gap in tradition
and of truly landmark wider historical between the time the when the Sagas were
significance in the long importance beyond
history of the Geal. that of the founding believed to have taken place and when
Exhaustively researched dynast of the Lordship of they were recorded on parchment.
yet eminently readable, this the Isles or the forebear of Accordingly we need to wonder about the
first book-length account the Clan Donald and its ways in which that picture of slaves could
of the historical Somerled related kindreds as the have been handed down to the Icelandic
assembles, evaluates and one personality who, more
interprets the full than any other, represents
spectrum of evidence the first fully-fledged
from Scottish and Manx emergence of the medieval In the next issue, the article will continue
chroniclers, Irish annalists Celtic-Scandinavian under the title: How credible is the picture
and Gaelic tradition- cultural province from of slavery in Icelandic literature?
bearers for his life and legend. Individual which is directly descended
chapters investigate his emergence in the the Gaelic Scotland of today.
forefront of the Gaelic-Norse aristocracy of John Marsden is the author of a number
Literature sources:
the western seaboard, his part in Gaeldoms of books on the early history of Scotland Hastrup, Culture and society on medieval
challenge to the Canmore kings of Scots, and Northumbria and in recent years has Iceland, 1985; Wilde-Stockmeyer, Sklaverei
his war on the Manx king of the Isles, his made his home in the Western Isles. auf Island, 1978

http://viking.hgo.se 16
Viking Heritage Magazine

Frjel Discovery Programme

By Dan Carlsson Only one of the 11
excavated graves
For the third consecutive year contained a man, the
archaeological excavations of a Viking- others were all women.
Age harbour and trading place have been The man was very big
carried out at Frjel on Gotland, in the for Viking-age
conditions, nearly 2
middle of the Baltic Sea. The harbour
meters tall. He had no
settlement covers an area of about teeth in his under jaw,
60,000 m2 and contains extensive traces but two in his upper
of buildings and graves from the period jaw. The remarkable
ca. 600-1180 AD. thing was that there was
another person buried
This years archaeological excavations
under the man, this time
dealt with both the buildings and the a woman. She was lying
graves and took place over a period of 11 in the opposite
weeks. Digging was carried out in the direction. They had
form of courses for archaeological obviously not been
students from all over the world. In total buried at the same time,
about 100 persons participated in the since a thin layer of soil
separated them.
different courses connected with the Contrary to the man, she
archaeological excavations during the had a lot of jewellery.
summer. Among other things, a
Excavations were quite extensive and knife with a wooden
a total of 11 graves as well as the remains handle was partially
preserved. Photo: Dan
of several buildings from the Viking Age Carlsson.
were investigated. The graves, dated to
9th and 10th centuries, all consisted of indicates that the man and the woman man, who was unusually tall (about 180
richly equipped womens graves, with lying beneath him were related to each cm), had been buried without any
one exception. The sole man found other. The women were all richly objects at all.
amongst the examined graves had been equipped with much well-preserved Excavations of the buildings gave clear
laid over a womans grave, apparently jewellery in the form of animal-head indications that the houses in the
intentionally. The osteological analysis brooches, chains, knives, beads, etc. The harbour area had been built in close rows
in a right-angled pattern, quite like a
town plan. Large postholes showed that
several of the buildings had been of
impressive construction and size. The
find material from the building area was
plentiful and is estimated to some 5000
objects, especially made of iron. The
material provides proof of a number of
different activities at the place, not least
handicraft in different forms.
At present we are working on a report
of the years digging, while at the same
time we have begun plans for the
coming field season. Next summer we
One of the more will also conduct excavations in the form
fascinating objects from of practical dig courses and those who
this summers excavations are interested in participating can
at Frjel is a completely register with me via e-mail to
intact so-called bolt lock
a Viking-Age padlock dan.carlsson@hgo.se or visit our
made of iron. The artefact home page: http://frojel.hgo.se.
was found by Louise
Felding from the Dan Carlsson, Associate professor
University of Copenhagen. Gotland University College
Photo: Dan Carlsson.

17 http://viking.hgo.se
Viking Heritage Magazine

By Alexander Andreeff
This summer in July I went on a three-week
study tour through southern Sweden,
Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and United
Kingdom visiting museums and historical
villages. The welcome and helpfulness I met
when I interviewed responsible persons from
each site was fantastic. The aim of my study
tour was to study and evaluate how the
Vikings and the Viking Age are displayed in
different visitor centres and site museums in
northwestern Europe. Primarily I wanted to
study the ways these sites communicate with
the public. Not all of the places I visited had
a Viking-Age theme it was also interesting
for me to study how other subjects are
interpreted and presented.

Frjel Discovery Programme

and regional development
The report will result in guidelines for the
creation of a visitor centre and site museum
at the ancient port of trade at Frjel. The
parish of Frjel is situated on the west coast
of Gotland, Sweden in the Baltic Sea. The
Viking-Age harbour was one of many along
the Gotlandic coast before the Hanseatic
town of Visby grew in importance, becoming
the main port of the island in the late 12th
century. Archaeological excavations have
proven that extensive handicraft and trade
took place at Frjel. Farmers from the inland
came to the harbour to exchange their goods
for valuable imports from near and far.
The Frjel Discovery Programme research
project is run by Gotland University Collage
has carried out extensive archaeological
excavations at the site throughout the years,
and we have gained much knowledge of the
activities and settlement patterns at the
former trading place. The natural next step is
to share our knowledge with the public and
the inhabitants of Gotland. Our goal is to
create an innovative exhibition in a museum
close to the excavation site that will give a
picture of a flourishing society over 600
hundred years (8th - 12th A. D.).
Middelaldercentret in The main purpose of the future site
Denmark. museum and visitor centre is to combine
Photos: A. Andreeff archaeological research with regional
development. Creating an attractive site
museum will lead to positive benefits for the
region economically and culturally thanks to
the flow of tourists and visitors that will
come to the future attraction. Hopefully new
businesses can be established on local
initiatives that will lead to a more dynamic
development within the local society. It's very
important that the project rests on a
foundation of local interest and support.

Historical villages
The sites I visited can be divided into two
types, historical villages and site museums. In
the 1990's many historical villages and site
museums were opened in Scandinavia. You
can almost refer to a trend for Viking theme
Ribes Vikinger in and regional site museums at former
Denmark. excavation sites. In Sweden we have for
Photo: A. Andreeff example the new site museums at Birka (The

http://viking.hgo.se 18
Viking Heritage Magazine

first town in Sweden mentioned in Vita Site museums impressive and monumental state museums is
Ansgarii by Rimbert and visited by the Among the museums I visited were outdated. An indication of this trend may be
Nordic apostle Ansgarius) and Old Uppsala Lindholm Hje Museum, Ribe Viking the growing popularity for site museums,
(the cult centre for the early Swedish state, Museum in Denmark, Viking Museum historical villages and re-enactment, which
mentioned by Adam of Bremen). Haithabu in Germany, Anne Frank Haus and present the history in a more intimate,
Among the historical villages I visited Rijksmuseum in Netherlands, and Jorvik accessible way. In many of the historical
were Fotevikens Museum in southern Viking Centre and Vikingar! Largs in the villages I visited, visitors were given the
Sweden, Trelleborg Fyrkat, Ribes Viking United Kingdom. The most interesting site opportunity to try to use copies of historical
Centre, Hjemsted Oltidspark and museums with innovative exhibitions were clothes and items, activities that proved very
Middelaldercentret in Denmark. All of them Lindholm Hje Museum and Ribe Viking popular. In York, England in the
have their main activities during the summer Museum in Denmark. In their exhibitions Archaeological Resource Centre (ARC)
season. The main problem for sites with you could see very educational groups could try to get an insight into the
outdoor attractions in Scandinavia is the interpretations and new ideas realistically work of an archaeologist. Technical and
short summer. The peak of the season is presented. The exhibitions in some of the Natural Sciences museums have come a long
sometimes only six weeks from mid-June other museums I visited were very traditional way in this respect, and we can learn a great
until the beginning of August. The historical with items displayed in costly showcases deal from the way their way of interpreting
villages are forced to close during the winter arranged thematically; religion, trade, crafts, things.
or find other markets. Many of them then defence and household etc. These thematic The idea of an all-encompassing concept
carry on conference arrangements with a arrangements are rather boring and static and for the site or product's every aspect has
historical theme. Through the summer don't hold the visitors' interest for long. It's gained importance over the past few years.
season the historical villages can attract very important not to have too much text This involves making detailed plans for
visitors with different events and activities as since the visitors don't read it anyway. Our everything from minor items such as visiting
Viking bazaars, handicrafts, boat and house goal should be not to teach in an academic cards to the larger features such as the
building and reconstruction. The visitors can way - instead it should be learning through architecture of the buildings. I am convinced
sometimes also take part, for example try a entertainment. that this is the right way to go; having the
Viking-Age craft. Many of the sites also work One type of exhibition that has proven to concept, layout, logotype etc very well
with schools and youth groups, sometimes be very popular is to create an illusion of a planned before even starting to construct the
attraction. We have much to learn from the
marketing and packaging of products as

Display of the Vikings motion pictures, computer games and

amusement parks, if we want to attract the

the groups even stay overnight in a

reconstructed long-house and live as Vikings Viking-Age environment with houses and About the author:
for a couple of days. puppets, and even smells. The most famous is Alexander Andreeff works for the
The best example of a successful historical Jorvik Viking Centre, United Kingdom, with Frjel Discovery Programme at the
village is Middelaldercentret (Medieval its time-car concept that has attracted crowds Gotland University College. He is
centre), Nykping Falster in Denmark. Every for more than a decade. Today this concept engaged in the creation of a future
detail is well-thought-out. The marvellous feels a bit outdated but they are rebuilding visitor centre and site museum at the
reconstruction of houses and objects make their exhibition his winter. Viking-Age harbour in the parish of
the medieval epoch come to life. Anne Frank House, Amsterdam has an Frjel, Gotland. He is an archaeologist
Middelaldercentret also has a very good web- exhibition that is very good and interesting. and has also worked in the tourist
site. Having an interesting homepage is By very simple means they have told the industry. His main interest is
crucial today and also a vital part in the story and set up an exhibition that has a real interpretations and representations of
marketing of the site. Our aim is to create a impact on the audience. They have an history and archaeology in
web-site/homepage for the future site advantage they can easy personalise history. contemporary society.
museum at Frjel that is as interesting as the Individualising history is a perfect way to get
museum on site a museum on the Net! the public interested. It's easier to understand E-mail: alexander.andreeff@h go.se
I don't think that many of the historical an event and epoch in the history through a
villages will survive in the future. They are single person's experiences then through
too dependent on the work of volunteers and millions. The individual doesn't even have to
the re-enactment movement. Re-enactors and be real. In his novels the Swedish journalist Fotevikens Museum
animals must people historical villages and author, Jan Guillou, has invented a www.foteviken.se
otherwise the sense of vitality is lost which is Swedish crusader from the 12th century,
Trelleborg, Danmark
devastating for the illusion of historical born in the Swedish province Vstergtland. www.vikingelandet.dk
reality. Most of the sites have problems with Museums, the tourist industry and
decreasing numbers of visitors. The historical authorities in the province have got together
villages are too alike if youve seen one in a joint venture to set up marketing around Ribe Viking Centre
youve seen them all. After the first opening this fictional crusader. Tourist can follow in www.ribevikingecenter.dk
year the public interest for the site declines his trail and visit the places mentioned in the
Hjemsted Oldtidspark
rapidly and that leads to a weak and unstable novels (castles, monasteries and churches). www.hjemsted.dk
economy. Many site museums suffer from the Jorvik Viking Centre
same problem due to spending much effort Interactivity www. jorvik-viking-centre.co.uk
and money on a permanent exhibition that Today's public demands interactivity, in
which the public is not only passive viewers Vikingar! Largs
will soon be outdated. It's better to put an www.vikingar.co.uk
effort into creating new smaller exhibitions but becomes a part of the display. The site
must give the visitor a sense of concern and Middelaldercentret
annually, making it easier to keep the public www.middelaldercentret.dk
interested. participation. This is especially important
when working with children and youth. The Anne Frank House
old-fashioned display where the public is www.annefrank.nl
alienated from the history presented by

19 http://viking.hgo.se
Viking Heritage Magazine

By Geir Sr-Reime,
project manager
The Ale in the North Sea Viking Legacy
The two Interreg IIC projects, North Sea

Viking Age project Viking Legacy and Balder/Via Viking are

now launching a major new initiative called
Destination Viking. Viking Heritage has also
been involved in the development of the
The Ranneberg nature and culture path project ideas.
was opened on an autumn day, November The current projects are now approaching
14th. The path has been produced by the their conclusions and are looking for ways to
Ale in the Viking Age project (Ale go ahead. The Interreg IIC bodies have
Municipality) which is a North Sea Viking intended that projects receiving grants should
Legacy project. 8 signs made of solid oak develop into more permanent initiatives.
have been put up that provide information A document outlining possible strategies
on the Viking Age, plants, animals, sites, for the new Destination Viking initiative is
ancient fields and strongholds. It is currently being circulated among current and
possible to read about finds from the potential partners of both the North Sea
Viking Age in Ale: Viking Legacy and the Balder/Via Viking
The Viking Age skekrr ship that was After a discussion period, partners
dug up in the skekrr village in 1933. inventory has been conducted in order to interested in joining the new project will be
Ten graves from the late Viking Age, obtain knowledge about the plants that invited to a conference where the project
found during archaeological excavations remain from the time when the description will be finalised. Thereafter,
in Ndinge church 1981. meadowland was grazed. In order to partners will be invited to sign up for the
Ten bracelets and two neck rings made preserve the flora and make the ancient new project.
of silver discovered in Lid, in 1853. fields and the walls of the strongholds The Destination Viking proposal now
visible for the future, the area must be being discussed has a number of elements,
The path is barely a cleared a couple of times a year. For this primarily based on
kilometre in length and reason the local Society for Nature experience won during
ends on the top of the Conservation has adopted the path and the current NSVL/Via
stronghold will keep the area free from trees and Viking projects, including
Ranneberget with brush. the co-operation with
extensive view of the The Ale in the Viking Age project Viking Heritage.
Gta lv river valley. will invite the public to an opening with a The overall objective is
From here you see the program for all ages on May 5, 2001. to establish a cross-
other four strongholds The Viking Day in Ale Municipality national tourist
in Ale and using a will be arranged on May 4, 2001 with destination - Destination
compass you can get games and other activities for the Viking based on the
the direction for other municipalitys second-forms who are common Viking heritage
historical sites with an studying the Iron Age. The activities will This destination must
historical connection to be held in the area where the skekrr focus both on the
the Gta lv river valley ships were found and initiative holder and Scandinavian countries as
and its surroundings co-ordinator is librarian/member in the the lands from where the Vikings originated
during the Iron Age, Viking Age and Society for Viking Ships, Ann Franzn. (and most of them lived) as well as on the
Middle Age. Halfway up to the top there is The Ale in the Viking Age project Scandinavian expansion during the Viking
a campsite with benches and a fireplace. In was initiated by the Education and Culture period both east and westwards. Here
the area, adjacent to the Gta lv River, Board in Ale Municipality arising from the again, focus should be on both the trade and
there are numerous ancient monuments interest about the Viking-age ships. The raiding activities as well as the settling of
such as ancient fields, a Stone Age project is divided into three subproject Scandinavians in a number of areas outside of
settlement and a stronghold. During the Scandinavia during this time, and the
work with the path a stone with sklgropar Nature and culture paths cultural impacts to this day of this
was found as well. Our ambition has been The Gta lv river valley during the Scandinavian expansion.
to get as close to the history as possible. Viking Age summary of the research The interaction and co-operation between
With the help of illustrations (by Ewa situation in the Gta lv river valley. Scandinavians and other peoples, like the
Ljung) of the material and known facts we Ale Viking farm investigation of the Vends and other Baltic people and the Scots,
show what the area might have looked like possibilities to reconstruct a Viking-age must also be emphasised.
about 1000 years ago. We have also farm in Ale Municipality. The project must have a number of
produced maps of how the Gta lv Rivers elements, all contributing directly or
shoreline has changed throughout The project has been financed by Ale indirectly to the establishment and running
thousands of years, from a deep bay to a Municipality, the County Administrative of such a destination
river. The texts facts (by Bodil Pettersson) Board, the County Council, EUs Regional A major element must be the selection
have been checked by archaeologists at the Fund/Norway by Interreg II C North Sea. and development of attractions to be
Ldse Museum, the biologist at the Ale (See article in Viking Heritage included in the destination
Municipality and the Society for Nature Newsletter 1/2000) The selected destinations include a
Conservation. The sign holders of oak are number of elements, like cultural remains
untreated and harmonise well with the For more information: from the Viking Period, including
surrounding consisting of heath-land oak, www.alevikin gatid.nu objects/artefacts, reconstructions and/or re-
hazel and crab-apple bushes. A nature info@alevikingatid.nu enactments. The people responsible for these
elements should also form networks to

http://viking.hgo.se 20
Viking Heritage Magazine

improve the quality of their work and to Therefore, both the Top 50 and an almost Live-groups, fighting groups etc. can of
learn best practice from each other. This is a unlimited number of lesser attractions course play the way they want to, but if they
continuation of the current work of both the should gradually be included into Destination are used in public performances, they must
NSVL and the Via Viking project of the Viking and its organisation and projects. live up to quality criteria.
Baltic Sea Area. There should be a selection process The best way of securing high quality for
Our common Viking legacy in addition though, based on quality criteria, also taking live performances is by establishing networks,
imbeds a huge potential for educational into account even geographical distribution, arranging seminars, festivals etc. where re-
programmes, which must be developed the special focus on rural and areas in enactors and other specialists can meet and
within the framework of trans-national co- economic recline and a balanced focus exchange views, information, knowledge etc.
operation. between the Scandinavian core areas and the
areas influenced by the Vikings. Quality assessment
Main focus tourism, Destination Viking Quality assessment has been a key issue in
This has two main elements: production and Cultural remains/sites the current NSVL project. The work started
sale/marketing. These are, along with the museum exhibits of by NSVL should be followed-up and more
Production means to provide or produce a real objects, the cores of any historic detailed guidelines should be worked out.
string of attractions that can be marketed and tourism. Therefore there must be a major But it is also important that all quality
sold either as a more or less integrated focus on these. Reconstructions, re- criteria are worked out in close co-operation
package, or be included as major elements in enactments etc. are only ways of presenting between all partners and types of projects
travel packs. Destination Viking should be or interpreting the original involved.
used to attract visitors to the Viking area, but remains/sites/objects.
should not exclusively focus on Viking The interpretation and presentation of Best practice
heritage, Viking remains or Viking lore. sites and monuments are based on academic Network building is the key factor in any
There must be a strong Viking focus for research. The project should encourage and international co-operation. Exchange of
products labelled Destination Viking, but the probably also itself initiate new research ideas, experiences, knowledge etc. and just
historic and/or academic aspects or any projects, with a focus on international coming to know each other is the core of it.
Viking links should not be exaggerated research co-operation. Seminars, workshops Therefore, ample funds for travel, meetings,
Each partner will have the main and conferences should be held under the conferences etc. should be available within
responsibility for providing or producing the auspices of Destination Viking. Destination the projects.

Educational programme

DESTINATION VIKING The Viking heritage and legacy have a huge

educational potential. An educational
programme should be a major element in the

A major new initiative new Viking project. Most of the educational

programme could be funded from various
EU funds aimed at the school sector.
Elements that could be included into a
basic products, the attractions that are going Viking should set up an academic advisory Destination Viking educational programme
to be marketed and sold. board directly linked to the Board of are:
A central and professional team must Management in order to ensure continuity
handle the concerted marketing of and which should be responsible for site International web-site aimed at linking
Destination Viking. This can for instance be selection, approval of quality improvement schools engaged in Viking period studies,
located to one of our partners. programmes and for annual academic giving easy access to Viking information
The sale of products (tours etc.) should be research programmes. relevant to schools and with a quality
the duty of the tourism trade. Close relations control or assessment, and linking
should be established between our Reconstructions together the other web-servers included in
organisation (the marketing team) and the Reconstructions are one of the main ways of Destination Viking, Further the web-site
tourism trade (including incoming presenting cultural remains to the public. should include a calendar of events
companies, tour operators, hotels, destination Recent academic research efforts have been relevant to schools.
companies etc.). directed towards this area, and a number of Co-operation on educational methods
new reconstruction proposals and suggestions and materials relating to the presentation
Selection and development of have been realised throughout the Viking of the Viking period in schools. Here,
Destination Viking sites world. museums, visitor centres, Viking villages
Destination Viking must work on several It is of vital importance that there is no etc. should co-operate and establish
levels. There must be both a limited number monopoly on working with reconstructions. permanent networks with the aim of
of top 50 attractions (the Viking Route) and Several suggestions and hypothesis should be improving their pedagogic efforts,
an almost unlimited number of other tested in full scale. At the same time, it is exchanging best practice etc.
attractions available. The top 50 attractions are important that the scholars working with Direct exchange of students between
used in international marketing, marketing reconstructions talk together and exchanges different Viking villages and/or a joint
aiming at creating interest in the Destination ideas, results and experiences. It is suggested summer camp alternating between various
and marketing aiming at an international that an advisory board on reconstructions be camps, and where exchange of ideas
(extra-European market). The top 50 set up, possibly as a sub-committee under the between students and teachers is the aim
attractions are also the basis of complete Tour academic advisory board and attached to the
of Vikings tours for extra-Europeans. In Board of Management. Join Destination Viking!
addition, a selection of these Top 50 will often Destination Viking is open to all those
be included in more regional/local products Re-enactments finding the framwork outlined above
based on the Viking Heritage. But here the Re-enactment requires a good insight into a complying with their own ideas for a more
lesser attractions play the major role. Our number of issues, foremost the Viking period concerted promotion of the Viking Heritage.
aim should be that a reasonable number of in general, the archaeological record and The discussion will go on among current and
Viking attractions should be available within current academic research/interpretation. To new partners, so if you want to join and want
reasonable distance from any tourism produce replicas to be used in re-enactment to contribute to develop the ideas further,
destination in Scandinavia and the areas often also requires in-depth knowledge of take immediate contact with the author at
primarily visited or colonised by the Vikings. traditional handicrafts and techniques. gsr@rfk.rogaland-f.kommune.no

21 http://viking.hgo.se
Viking Heritage Magazine

Schematic drawing of a silk/silver tablet woven band from Birka. Enlarged.

Tablet Weaving
By Viktoria Persdotter Age, ex. from Birka, (Sweden) and not come into use before the 19th
Mammen (Denmark), gold and silver century, and all hitherto known
On the front page of this issue, there is threads have been woven into the band. prehistoric and mediaeval bands have
picture of a woman weaving a band using Although imported materials like silk, their patterns produced by equally
the tablet weaving technique. This gold and silver were used for the bands, threaded and individually turned tablets.
technique was commonly used during the there is no doubt that these bands were There are, however, occasional prehistoric
Viking Age, and its origins in Scandinavia locally produced, as local materials (wool, finds of discoloured, seemingly single-
can be traced as far back in time as the flax) were used for the non-visible parts of coloured bands, which originally might
early Iron Age. Some scholars also claim the band. There are also several finds of have been patterned in the above-
that certain Danish Bronze-Age textiles mentioned technique, although it is very
were made using this technique. Tablet unlikely.
weaving is a complex, intricate technique, The Viking-Age tablet woven bands
and in this article I will give only a very were often used as decoration on clothes,
brief, theoretical introduction to the as well as headbands and hair bands.
technique. Judging from pictures, and the puzzling
In the technique of tablet weaving, the lack of belts with metal buckles in many
warp threads are twisted around each otherwise richly equipped Viking-Age
other using tablets, before they are locked graves, woven band could also have been
together by the weft. The patterns of the used as sashes. Amongst many re-
band are created either by different- enactors, there is a peculiar habit of
coloured warp threads changing places, or wrapping woven bands, or narrow leather
by letting an additional weft float over strips crosswise up the calves. There are
and under warp threads. Often both however, as far as I know, no
techniques, with numerous variations of Scandinavian depictions of humans, or
them, are used together to produce the any other archaeological finds from the
Weaving tablet from Birka. Enlarged. Viking Age providing proof of this detail.
patterns. The direction in which the warp
is threaded through the tablets, as well as Assuredly there are finds of puttees from
the direction they are turned, affect the intricately patterned Viking-Age and the Viking Age; from Haithabu, Latvia
structure of the band and enhance the early mediaeval bands, not least from and Lithuania, and they can also be seen
patterns. Finland, made entirely of wool or wool depicted on the Bayeux tapestry, but they
Prehistoric weaving tablets were made and linen, ex. Leksand (Sweden), do not have anything to do with the
from a variety of materials, wood, horn, Mammen (Denmark), Eura, Humikkala, above-mentioned arrangement. The
bone, and even bronze (there are Kaukola (Finland), Oseberg, Norway. Viking-Age puttees were not tablet
Gotlandic finds of weaving tablets made The patterns of the preserved Viking- woven, but consisted of about 10 cm
from bronze). Nowadays, cardboard Age bands usually consist of geometrical wide and 1 metre-long strips of cloth,
tablets are widely used. They are suitable figures, interlaced knots and swastikas woven on an ordinary loom in the twill
for occasional weaving projects, using the (yes, this symbol was not invented in the technique (there is also a find from
modern weaving technique where all the 1930`s, but is a common symbol on Iron Hedeby of puttees made from hemmed
tablets are turned in the same direction at Age artefacts, having nothing to do with strips of tabby-woven cloth). They were,
the same time, but are not suitable for a certain political movement of the 20th as in later times, wrapped not crosswise
making bands where the tablets are century). The commonly used technique but horizontally overlapping, thus
turned individually. Making copies of of tablet weaving nowadays, where all the covering the calves completely.
Iron-Age artefacts requires Iron-Age tablets are individually threaded
equipment, and wooden tablets are far according to a drawn schedule and then
superior to modern substitutes. turned in the same direction at the same
time, thus creating various repeated
About the author:
Prehistoric bands were made from all
Archaeologist and craftsman,
kinds of textile fibres available, such as chevron patterns (see below), is not in
e-mail: viktoria.persdotter@swi pnet.se
wool, linen, silk and horsehair. In many evidence from the Viking Age. In
of the bands preserved from the Viking Scandinavia, this simplified technique did

http://viking.hgo.se 22
Copyright: Ribe VikingeCenter Viking Heritage Magazine

Ribe VikingeCenter
bringing history to life
By Bjarne Clement beginning of 700 AD and the Manor Farm, of history because the environments are
consisting of a longhouse and five other alive six months every year. The Centers
Background and history buildings from 980 AD. In April 1999 we main concept is promotion at a high
People interested in archaeology and history began the reconstruction of a section of the professional level, in depth, over longer time
have always known that the area around Ribe original townhouses from 825 AD which will periods and in authentic settings.
played an important role in the Viking Age. be eight houses all together. Because the Another very important aspect is that we
It was just a matter of time before evidence reconstructed environments have all been have chosen to let the reconstruction of
could be presented. Den Antikvariske excavated in or just outside of Ribe, it is environments be a part of the promotion.
Samling, of the Museum of Ribe, has fully possible to go to the original places and see That gives a dynamic atmosphere that is lost
confirmed these expectations through how things have developed since the Viking if you open a Centre on a turnkey basis. At
excavations over the last 25 years. Almost Age. When it is finished you will really be Ribe VikingeCenter the anticipation of new
every year there are new exciting findings in able to experience progress through the projects coming up automatically stimulates
different excavations and it is verified without Viking Age and thus get a further perspective visitors curiosity about the results so they are
doubt that Ribe is one of the worlds most on this very important period of the Danish encouraged to seek information and come
important areas in documenting trade, craft history that every Dane identifies as a very again another time.
and farming in one of the basic societies for special part of our cultural heritage. Our visitors spend quite a long time, up
the travelling Vikings. to 3-4 hours, at the Centre. We see this as
As a natural consequence of these strong Promotion of the Viking Age fulfilling a need for absorbing information
historical roots Ribe VikingeCenter was The purpose of Ribe VikingeCenter is to based on quality, authentic experiences,
established in 1992. We are situated only 2 promote the Viking Age by vitalising activities and education. This is not what we
km. south of Ribe in an area where it is reconstructed environments. Together with experience in our modern zapping culture.
possible to create a topography that gives the this presentation the archaeologists theories But you can say we use the zapping culture
visitor a true impression of how things from experimental archaeology are being in a positive way. A lot of people find history
looked 1000 1200 years ago. So far we have constantly tested and developed not only in boring and slow. Here you can get a survey of
reconstructed two important and very well- relation to the reconstruction of buildings, the Viking Age and then go in depth where
made environments true to craftsman clothes, instruments, tools and equipment, you want to, get in contact with the Vikings -
traditions, the Marketplace from the but also in relation to the sociological aspect talk, see, touch and sometimes try doing

23 http://viking.hgo.se
Viking Heritage Magazine

things. You can see at least 15 different Professional partners

craft/activities every day. Our experience is Ribe VikingeCenter works together with
that the visitor spends about 10 min. in every many different experts and institutions on
craft location, perhaps not all at once but by many levels. Sometimes concrete questions
coming back to see how far the blacksmith, receive concrete answers but very often we
the turner, the basket weaver etc. have come have a dialogue in which we try to set our
during that time. theories from an experimental process into a
The preservation of the old crafts is also theoretical understanding of the past. All
very important in this context. In these living these expert partners are people who work at
environments you have the opportunity to approved museums or have skills that are
see many different crafts being done and in approved at a level that make their
that way exchange experiences that might be knowledge and experience valuable in
disappearing. Remarks such as : My museological promotion and documentation.
grandfather did it this way.., can this be
right ?, were the Vikings really that good ? Den antikvariske Samling, the
etc. are quite usual at the Centre and approved museum of Ribe
definitely put a visit into perspective. Our reconstructions are made in co-
operation with the museum of Ribe, Den
Employees Antikvariske Samling that has been in
Ribe VikingeCenter is a very complex charge of the excavations on which they are
institution when it comes to staff. We work based, -and their expertise is available for our
together with a Production School which craftsmen.
means we have about 30 young people all the Since the start in 1992 there has been a
year round producing Viking clothes, close and informal professional cooperation
equipment for the houses/Vikings, taking between the two institutions. The Museum
care of the animals and servicing the staff and can contribute with constant expert advice
tourists in the caf. In the summertime they about exact problems but also those of a
also take part in the production as Vikings in more general character. We verify some of Copyright: Ribe VikingeCenter
the reconstructed environments. The number their theories and inform them afterwards
of normal employed staff is about 20 in the about results that might add new knowledge 1988 p. 175189
summer and 15 in the winter. We also to their understanding of the period. Feveile, C., K. Ljungberg og S. Jensen
employ 8-12 people in different social- or The archaeologists, Claus and Lene 1992.
unemployment programmes. Feveile are our staff s primary advisers and Endlich gefunden : Ansgars Ribe. Ein
teachers. This exchange of experience is bericht ber die Ausgrabung in der
Volunteers aimed at giving the new national and Rosenall in Ribe. Offa. Berichte und
We have four different groups of volunteers international knowledge and understanding mitteilungen zur urgeschichte,
connected to the Centre- adults, children, of the Viking Age an experimental experience frhgeschichte und
grandparents and archers. They take part in that will make promotion of the period even mittelalterarchologie, band 47, seite
our presentation, not every day but in special more exciting and authentic to experts as well 229233
events. They have all taken part in courses as to ordinary people. By, Marsk og Geest 3. rsberetning for
with some of the best craftsmen in Denmark. Den antikvariske Samling 1990 pages
We continuously update their skills so they European Projects 2740
can provide a high level of authenticity. We are a partner in different projects- NSVL, Stig Jensen 1990. Metalfund fra
P.A.R.A.B.O.W a project under RAPHAEL, vikingetidsgrdene ved Gl. Hviding og
LEONARDO and the most recent, Vilslev
CONNECT. Stig Jensen 1987. Hvidings vikinger.
All these projects are about exchanging Skalk 1987, nr. 1, pages 3 8
knowledge and making connections between
partners but the CONNECT project is more Ribe VikingeCenter
inclined towards education. The idea is that Lustrupholm
people from all over Europe can come and be Lustrupvej 4
trained in old crafts and techniques. 6760 Ribe
If you are interested in the Viking history Denmark
of Ribe further information is available in the tel. +45 75 41 16 11
enclosed list of literature. fax. +45 75 41 16 20
www.ribevikin gecenter.dk
Stig Jensen, Ribes Vikinger 1991 E-mail: rvc@ribevikingecenter.dk
Bencard, M (ED.) Ribe Excavations
197076 Vol. 14
Trykt p Sydjysk Universitetsforlag
Esbjerg 1981 About the author:
Bencard, M. 1979 Vikingerzeitlicher Bjarne Clement is a qualified
Handverk in Ribe comprehensive school teacher. He did
Achte Archologische Vol. 49, 1978. some Iron Age reconstruction and
Kbenhavn teaching in the eighties. He created the
Frandsen, L. B. og S. Jensen 1990 Viking Centre project together with
Dating of Ribes earliest Culture Layers Karen Nrgaard as a project for
Journal of Danish Archaeology Vol. 7, unemployed young people and it has
1988, p. 228231 now developed into a Centre with
Pre-Viking and Early Viking Age Ribe, 40,000 visitors every year.
Excavations at Nicolaigade 8 198586 E-mail: bjarne@ribevikingecenter.dk
Journal of Danish Archaeology Vol.6,
Copyright: Ribe VikingeCenter

http://viking.hgo.se 24
Viking Heritage Magazine

Viking Viewpoints
By Viktoria Persdotter necessary to survive in today`s society. results, would be possible. But in professional
Archaeologist and craftsman, e-mail We can, and must in a scientific context, interpretations of the past, tangible facts must
viktoria.persdotter@swipnet.se never apply today`s conception of the world never be allowed to disappear amongst, or be
and moral values to societies of the past. replaced by routine assumptions, fixed ideas, or
In the second-last issue of the Viking Heritage Particularly not when speaking of prehistoric an anxious urge to be politically correct by
Magazine, an exhibition at the county museum societies, where the very limited archaeological today`s standards.
of Gotland, called Children did they exist? sources and the usually non-existing written Interpreting the past is not a simple task.
was announced by senior curator Malin sources make it practically impossible to judge The past, as well as its significance for people of
Lindqvist. As I spent a great deal of the the situation of the children, or any other today, is neither uncomplicated, nor
summer working on Gotland, I went to see it, group, in a certain society. The people of uncontroversial. Sources of knowledge are very
and I was not impressed. The exhibition was, in prehistoric societies not only lived in a material limited or non-existent, the various
my opinion, the most non-scientific and world essentially different from ours; they also interpretations of them are countless, and at
incompetent exhibition I have ever seen at a lived in a world of ideas essentially different times controversial. Public interpretation of the
museum, showing a frightful lack of criticism from that of today, making it impossible for us past however calls for objectivity and respect,
of the sources. to fully understand the way an individual not only towards the audience, but also towards
As only a minimal part of the Viking viewed his/her own situation. the humans of bygone times. There is, in my
Heritage Magazines readers have been able to Besides, there is no such thing as children opinion, no reason to present a prehistoric
visit the mentioned exhibition, I will not give a of the Viking Age. Being the child of a jarl was society in a way that would lead to legal
more detailed account of it, but will rather not the same thing as being the child of a proceedings, if it were used to describe a
focus on the topic of the exhibition children thrall. Being a child in the inland area of present ethnic minority.
during bygone times (Stone Age, Viking Age, northernmost Sweden was not the same thing When viewing the past, we are able to spot
19th century). The exhibition is not unique, as growing up in the middle of Hedeby. Having only minimal fragments of a vast and foreign
and the facts put forth in it are rather Inga as a mother was not the same thing as landscape. We imagine distinguishing shapes,
representative of todays general, popular- having Hildur as a mother. The Viking Age structures and repeated patterns, and we also
scientific ideas about children and childhood in not only included far from equal societies with imagine it is possible to arrange them according
the past, and in this article I will give some a severe social stratification, as well as extensive to our conception of the world of today. When
personal comments on the matter, with a geographical areas and 300 years of giving a professional, public presentation of
particular focus on the Viking Age. comprehensive political and social changes; it various aspects of the past however, we must
At least in Sweden, it is nowadays popularly also included millions of different individuals, not let ourselves get carried away by a wish to
claimed that children until the late 1800`s were none of them being less individual than any of prove that the present is more enlightened and
not allowed to be children, but were viewed us living today. human than the past, or vice versa.
as small adults. This peculiar assumption was Of course there must be generalisations and To my opinion, it is also incumbent on each
also strongly enhanced in the above-mentioned simplifications, when various aspects of the past and everyone working professionally with
exhibition. But to claim that children in the are put on show. Without generalisations and public interpretation of the past, to let
past, in contrary to children of today, were not simplifications, no scientific research, be it in unanswerable questions be unanswered.
allowed to be children is, viewed more closely, archaeology, mathematics, medicine, or
a completely absurd assertion. Children of anything else, as well as a presentation of its
today are as much small adults as ever before
- what else could they be? Childhood is nothing
but a period of life when you prepare for
adulthood by watching, imitating and being
taught by the adults around you, be they
parents, relatives or schoolteachers. The life of
Contribution to a debate
the children is not, and has probably never The latest number (3/2000) of Viking considerably north of the L'Anse aux
been, completely isolated from the life of the Heritage Magazine arrived here yesterday, Meadows site. They left no known evidence
adults, but is rather a reflection of, and a and I perused it immediately, from cover to of house construction of any kind. Nor is
preparation for it. Therefore, in order to
approach at least some kind of understanding cover. As always, I found much to enjoy, with there any sign at all of a thriving Norse
of the situation of children in a certain society, Malin Lindquist's fine article on those colony anywhere in America at the time of
be it prehistoric or the present, the actual intriguing rock crystal lenses being of special Columbus.
society must be viewed in its entirety. interest to me. Thompson's statements about Nyaland
It is, at first sight, easy to be horrified by the I must take issue, however, with Gunnar are similarly without foundation. This New
announcement that children of the past often Thompson's New World Settlements 1250- Land was sighted in 1285 (not 1261) by
had to carry out practical, physical work. For 1650, on the last page. He contends that two Icelandic priests named Adalbrand and
many westerners of today, physical work is evidence from cartography and archaeology Thorvald Helgasonar, who had drifted off
something foreign, and regarded as primitive supports the theory that Viking settlements course on their back home from Norway, and
and unhealthy. But we must bear in mind that in the New World were thriving at the time who reported having spotted an unknown
in a society like the one of the Viking Age, of Columbus. Your readers deserve to know coast far to the west of Iceland. Nothing was
where most people sustained on farming and that the evidence from these two scholarly said about the distance involved or about
cattle-rearing, everyone, young as well as old, fields support no such theory quite the which coast it could have been. Nor was it
women as well as men, carried out physical contrary. Nor is there any literary and King Haakon IV of Norway-Sweden who
work. Having the children start by carrying out documentary evidence for Thompson's reacted to this supposed discovery, but Eirik
simpler household tasks at an early age was not
a sign of cruelty, or a way to deprive them of claim. Priest Hater Magnusson (d. 1299), who
their childhood it was simply a way of On the basis of the scattered objects of sent a man named Hrolf off on a fruitless
teaching the children the skills necessary to Norse origin found on the Canadian littoral, search for this new coast.
survive as an adult. Having a child collect the modern archaeological record shows that Now for the cartographical evidence:
firewood is not necessarily more a way to make the Greenland Norse continued to cross the The ca. 1414 world map drawn by the
it into a small adult, than putting him/her in Davis Strait for some centuries after the Venetian Albertin de Virga disappeared in
front of a computer in order to learn the skills Vinland voyages, but to coastal areas 1932, but we know what it looked like. The

25 http://viking.hgo.se
Viking Heritage Magazine

Heritage News
Excavations in Gorodishe and Wolin
During this summer two interesting For the past five years an archaeological
excavations have been going on. At excavation in Wolin-Jomsborg has been
Rurikovo Gorodishe (Holmgard) the oldest going on. During the 2000-season a
wooden fortification from the Viking Age completely preserved sun compass was
in Russia was examined with students from found. The area where the archaeological
Gotland University College taking part in examination is carried out is being
the excavation. investigated to make place for a new bridge
and motorway. This is the biggest
excavation in the history of Wolin
supposed facsimile provided by Thompson archaeology, says Blazej Stanislawski from
not only fudges the delineations of the the Institute of Archaeology of the Polish
original, but gives names to the areas shown Academy of Sciences. During the first three Penannular brooch found in Wolin,
which have no basis in the reality known to Poland. Photo: Blazej Stanislawski.
years of excavation the southern part of
cartographic historians. The landmass in the
Wolin was examined. At that time they
map's northwestern corner, which Thompson
labels North America, in the original has a found remains of a small harbour and an They have also found traces of an irrigation
crown and the name Norveca, repeated in early medieval ship. Until now system from the 11th century, a sculpture of
three separate places that most likely archaeologists have discovered a area with a Slavonic god, Viking jewellery and the
represent three Norwegian towns known to large houses about 56 metres long. The already-mentioned sun compass.
the Venetians through the Baltic fish trade. houses have been dated to 906-907 AD.
And the cartographic lead-up to
Norumbega? First of all, the notion that
English Franciscans mapped the region from
Greenland to Florida between 1330-1360 is
Thompson's own invention (see his self-
Viking period settlement Conference
published work The Friar's Map) Nor is
there any foundation for the statement that in Cardiff, July 4-7 2001
early 16th century maps called the region
Noruega or Nova Noruega. Later this SINCE ITS FOUNDATION more than a conference sessions and lunches on the
name was modified to Norumbega a name
that signified a fur-trading settlement. century ago, when W P Ker concurrently Thursday and Saturday. Members of the
The name Norumbega had its tender held the Chairs of English and History, Society for Medieval
beginnings as oranbega on the map which Cardiff University, a constituent institution Archaeology, and current students, are
Girolamo da Verrazzano drew after his of the University of Wales, has maintained a offered a concessionary rate of 45. A daily
brother Giovanni's exploratory voyage to distinguished record of scholarship in rate is also available. Payment of the
America in 1524, grew via Giacomo interdisciplinary medieval and Norse studies. conference fee is requested upon enrolment,
Gastaldi's Nurumberg pn his 1548 map of With its students working on excavations and payment can be made by cheque or
North America, and reached full-fledged organised from within the School of History credit card. Please use the enrolment form
fantasies slightly later on some Dieppe maps
of the St. Lawrence region. It had nothing to and Archaeology at Cardiff on Norse-period attached to this leaflet.
do with the Norse although the notion that sites in the Hebrides, and on excavations of Accommodation has been provisionally
it did had already arisen by the time the an early-medieval and Viking-period reserved for conference participants in
Danish theologian Hans Poulson Resen put settlement at Llanbedrgoch, Anglesey, it is student residences close to the conference
his finishing touches to the 1605 map now the natural venue for a major international venue and Cardiff city centre. The price of
associated with his name. conference at which new evidence concerning bed and breakfast in a single, semi-en suite
all aspects of human settlement in Britain, room is 25 a night. These rooms can be
Respectfully, Ireland and elsewhere in the Viking world occupied from Tuesday July 3rd to Sunday
Kirsten A. Seaver from the 8th to 11th centuries A.D. can be July 8th. In order to secure your
Palo Alto, California, U.S.A. presented, compared and discussed. accommodation we have to ask for bookings
E-mail: seaver@leland.Stanford.EDU A rich programme has been put together, to be made before the end of January 2001
with 42 papers offered by scholars from with a deposit of 3 per person per night.
Additional reading across the world, covering all the major types Alternative arrangements can be made
Kirsten A. Seaver, Albertin de Virga and of settlement (rural, urban, coastal and through:
the Far North., Mercator's World, Vol. 2, military), all the major types of evidence
No. 6.,(Nov.-Dec.1997), pp. 58-62. Cardiff Marketing: fax [+44] (0)29 2037
(excavated, artefactual, historical and 7653; phone [+44] (0)29 2066 7773;
-------------------Norumbega and
'Harmonia Mundi in Sixteenth-Century onomastic), and many new and significant e-mail:
Cartography. Imago Mundi 50, 1998, perspectives on the topic, such as settlement mailto:rosalindd@cardiffmarketing.co.uk
pp.34-58. in the context of law, literature, economic
or rosalindd@cardiffmarketing.co.uk
------------------- Renewing the Quest for and environmental factors, or ethnic and
Vinland: The Stefnsson, Resen and cultural allegiances.
Thorlksson Maps. Mercator's World, For more information contact: John Hines,
The conference fee is 70 per person,
Vo. 5, No. 5 (Sept.-Oct 2000), pp. 42-49. Hines@Cardiff.ac.uk
including refreshments between or after

http://viking.hgo.se 26
Viking Heritage Magazine

Excavation of
Alntorps foundry
Heritage News
At the moment there are plans of an
archaeological excavation of Alntorps
medieval foundry in the woods east of Lake
Nora in rebro County, Sweden.
Famed ships in New York
Tremendously exciting research to get more On September 24 an important part of Leif
information about these early foundries, says Ericsson Year took place in New York. Two
Eivind Claesson, archaeologist at rebro Viking ships sailed into Manhattan along the
County Museum. Hudson River with skyscrapers all around. To
Alntorps foundry has been (dated to be) see our ship VIKING PLYM, the oldest in
established as early as the 12th century and the world, rowing into Riverside Park
that is a small sensation in itself. Allan together with the famous American
Wetterholm, an archaeologist from Nora, NORSEMAN was quite spectacular. In this
dated the foundry. The oldest dated foundry setting our ship looked even older.
is located in Moshyttan and it was already in The publicity prior to this event had been
operation in 960 AD. quite tremendous, especially in the Photo: Dagmar Hfdingaklda Elenborg.
A former opinion was that smelting Scandinavian-American media. The words
operations began during the 13th century at "Famed ships" are taken from one such The Lord Mayor of New York himself
the earliest, says Eivind Claesson. But now newspaper. And now three TV-channels and sent us his greetings and the programme
also New York Times met us. Our new "solar ended in Philadelphia with a tremendous
we must probably change that opinion based
shield" with its beautiful ornamentation Viking feast with our Norseman friends for
on the many new and earlier datings that are
received a great amount of attention. about 100 people. We had sailed together in
being made. Setting sail on the Atlantic Ocean and Stockholm 1998, so we made a proud team.
The complete foundry area is to be sailing by the Statue of Liberty with the The 17 persons in our crew (two of them 83
excavated. How was the foundry constructed Manhattan skyline over the dragons head was years old!) came back tired but full of
and how were the different workshops a memorable adventure. We were very warmly wonderful memories.
located in the surrounding e.g. houses, received at all the different events we attended More pictures can be found on our web
smithies, corrosion pits and dams? These are and we spread the message that Vikings were site www.vikingp lym.org
just some of the questions researchers would bold seafarers and discoverers, not just warriors
like to find answers for. and definitely without horns! Chief Carl Brvalla

CAA 2001 will be held in Visby on the island

of Gotland, Sweden, April 2529, 2001. The
conference will take place at the Gotland
CAA 2001 Computer
University College and will consist of three
parallel sessions of lectures, as well as posters
and demonstrations. The aim is to bring
Applications in Archaeology
together archaeologists, anthropologists,
osteologists, environmentalists, cultural Visby Conference, April 2529, 2001
heritage managers, historians,
mathematicians, numismatists, human geographers, Archaeometry
computer Digital Image Processing
scientists and Internet Applications
experts from
No Viking ship other disciplines
related to
It is a great honour for us to announce
that the conference will be opened by
in Nattviken archaeological
research and
Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson on
Wednesday, April 25, at 6 PM, and there will
be a welcome reception in the Picture-stone
in Hrnsand methodology,
and to encourage communication between Hall at the Historical Museum of Gotland.
Three parallel sessions of 30- and 15-
these disciplines, provide a survey of present
The last issue of Viking Heritage Magazine work in the field and to stimulate discussion minute lectures will take place Thursday
presented the presumed find of a shipwreck and future progress. Saturday, April 2628, and the conference
from the Viking Age in Nattviken. dinner, arranged as a medieval banquet, will
The Central Board of the Swedish Main themes of the CAA 2001 will be: be held on Saturday evening. A full-day
Antiquities announces in an advance GIS Applications excursion around the island of Gotland will
notice that it is most likely a ship from CAD Applications be arranged on Sunday, April 29.
the 17th century that has been found in GPS For more information about the
Nattviken. This is their conclusion based Survey and Mapping conference, please visit the CAA 2001
on diverse samples from the ship and the Database Applications website, http://caa.h go.se /, or send us an e-
dendrochronological analysis, i.e. Computer Applications in Osteology mail at caa@h go.se.
determination of the age by studies of the (human and animal)
annual rings in the wooden material. Statistics and Quantitative Methods Professor Gran Burenhult
However test results are considered Virtual Reality Organizer CAA 2001
preliminary and the final result will be Cultural Heritage Management Johan Arvidsson
presented in a couple of weeks. Coordinator CAA 2001

27 http://viking.hgo.se
A network for Viking-related Knowledge

The objectives of the network are: FOLLOW THE VIKINGS

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Information e-mail: majbritt.andersson@hgo.se

Tel: + 46 498 29 98 28, + 46 498 29 98 30

Viking Heritage

Publisher and Editor-in chief: Dan Carlsson, dan.carlsson@hgo.se

Editor: Marita E Ekman, marita.e.ekman@hgo.se
Secretary: Maj-Britt Andersson, majbritt.andersson@hgo.se
Language and translation check where others are not mentioned: Luella Godman, luella.anders.godman@i.lrf.se
Layout and printed by Godrings Tryckeri, Visby, Sweden 2000.
ISSN 1403-7319

Postal address: Viking Heritage, Gotland University College, Cramrgatan 3, S-621 67 Visby. Sweden.
Phone: +46 498 29 98 30, Fax: +46 498 29 98 92
E-mail: viking@hgo.se
Website: http://viking.hgo.se Webmaster: Olle Hoffman, olle.hoffman@hgo.se
Website Gotland University College: http://www.hgo.se