Headlines & Grapevines: Apr-Jun 2019

Much ado about Viking exhibitions, burial rituals, the grave of Emma of Normandy, a newly found Lewis Chess piece, and Repton, of course!

26 June 2019, 11:02

The saga about the exhibition ‘Meet the Vikings’ in the National Museum of Denmark continues. After the critical review in Antiquity last February, the journal has now published a response by the museum. Read the Open Access article here (doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2019.80).

25 June 2019, 12:24

There is a new article on Science Nordic that’s worth a read. It challenges preconceptions and expectations about Viking Age burials. Does a warrior’s gear buried with a female mean she was a soldier? Do pots and pans buried with a male mean he was a Master Chef? The article includes different interpretations on the matter.

At Tewkesbury Medieval Festival (Source: Wikipedia / Andy Dolman).

18 June 2019, 19:43

There was a discussion on the BBC World Service last Monday between Bridget Kendall, Else Roesdahl, Eleanor Parker and Timothy Bolton. This great group talked about Cnut: England’s Viking King.

05 June 2019, 09:44

Moving on from yesterday’s hype, here’s a beauty from under the radar.

In 2007, archaeologists excavated a mausoleum in Poland that dates back to the end of the tenth century. The warrior they found inside, now turns out to be born locally, but probably lived most of his life in Scandinavia. To understand how the researchers came to these conclusions, we have to wait for the scholarly publication expected later this year. I’ll definitely keep you posted on this.

The preliminary findings can be found on Science in Poland, it has now also appeared on Medievalists.net.

03 June 2019, 16:26

The Viking Age news is quiet, so quiet and then, boom! The bomb shell dropped today is that another Lewis chess piece has been found!

The knight will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s in a month’s time. I sincerely hope the piece will somehow end up with the rest of the Lewis chessmen.

And just for the record: can everyone please check their drawers? There are still four more pieces missing!

See The Guardian article.

See several fantastic close-ups on the BBC web site.

See my series on the Lewis Chess Pieces (so far).

31 May 2019, 13:12

The sight of a bent sword is quite something. The Bronze Age sword in the Museum of Antiquities in the Netherlands, for example, is a thing of beauty. Even more so, considering someone adjusted this sword deliberately, then carefully put it in a bucket before the grave mound was closed. 

I’ve always wondered why someone would go to all that extra trouble. now,  there is an interesting chapter on Viking swords and the purpose of changing their shapes for burial rituals. You can find the review on Medievalists.net.

Bent sword from the king’s grave in Oss, the Netherlands (Source: Wikipedia / Marieke Kuijjer).

18 May 2019, 13:07

“Might.” “Likely.” “Could be.”

Wow. What a scoop if these researchers indeed can confirm the remains they found are of Emma of Normandy at Winchester Cathedral!

The first source I read on this was the BBC two days ago, but it’s already all over the online (social) media. Have fun reading!

Winchester Cathedral. (Source: Flickr / mattyturner CC BY 2.0)

13 May 2019, 19:54

The Repton story continues. A new round of excavations yesterday. Follow it on Twitter: #greatheathenhunt. Oh yeah, so they found some nice jewellery today, but, come on, really, it just doesn’t compare to the paw print… 😉

10 May 2019, 21:15

The famous Gokstad ship is in need of repairs, apparently the cracks are setting in. Read more on The History Blog.

Gokstad ship excavation (Source: Wikipedia).

04 May 2019, 22:12

The Poetic Edda is, of course, an amazing piece of medieval literature. Learn more about it in this great, recent lecture by professor Carolyne Larrington, that can be found on Medievalists.net.

29 April 2019, 18:07

So, if you missed Britain’s Viking Graveyard on Easter Sunday, you can catch up by reading: Update on Viking Camp at Repton!

19 April 2019, 17:45

Remember the recent excavations at Repton and all that was discovered about the Viking Army? Apparently, there is new information to come in the TV show called Britains Viking Graveyard, airing (Easter) Sunday night on Channel 4.

14 April 2019, 11:37

Ongoing excavations at Lisbjerg church in Denmark offer a a great view into the site’s Viking Age past. From an early medieval stave church and manor house, to the later stone church. Read the fine article on Medieval Histories.

13 April 2019, 10:38

Who composed the Beowulf, that is the question. There’s a new addition to the ongoing debate about this Anglo-Saxon classic and it suggests only one author wrote it (as the great Tolkien himself thought). Read The Guardian‘s article, or the original article in Nature Human Behavior (doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0570-1, behind a paywall).

Beowulf (1908 edition) (Source: Wikipedia).

05 April 2019, 17:07

The journal Antiquity is an excellent resource for ongoing resarch in Viking Studies. The latest article that caught my attention is ‘Rethinking the early Viking Age in the West’ (doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2018.199). Here is an attempt to tackle existing assumptions on why and how the Vikings expanded to the British Isles and the North Atlantic.

The Sea Stallion lowering sail (Wikipedia / Smudge9000).

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