I know it’s early, but I’m already thinking about 2014 for a few distinct reasons, both concerning Vikings. First, The British Museum will open an exhibition dedicated to the core period of the Viking Age, the late 8th century to the early 11th century, in March of 2014. This period of time covers the Viking expansion from Scandinavia to the Caspian Sea, North Atlantic, and all the way from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. These guys got around.
The most remarkable thing, to me anyway, is how they got around. It is pretty well known that the shipbuilding skills of Vikings were above and beyond those of other cultures of the time, and even today mariners admire the craftsmanship. The exhibition not only goes into detail how these ships were built, at the center of the exhibition is a 37-meter-long warship. This will be the longest ship ever found and never before seen in the UK.
“The ship, known as Roskilde 6, was excavated from the banks of Roskilde fjord in Denmark…Since the excavation, the timbers have been painstakingly conserved and analyzed by the National Museum of Denmark. The surviving timbers – approximately 20% of the original ship – have now been re-assembled for display in a specially made stainless steel frame that reconstructs the full size and shape of the original ship”.
The ship is dated around 1025AD, which is incredible and awesome and incredibly awesome.
If the Viking warship wasn’t enough to spark your interest, they’ve also got an immense amount of artifacts for you to gawk at, including skeletal remains, religious artifacts, 617 coins, 6 arm rings, and a massive hoard of bullion and hack-silver items which is one of the largest and important Viking hoards ever unearthed. The objects in the exhibition also demonstrate the vast expanse of earth the Viking warriors covered, with items stemming from Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, continental Europe and Russia. Along with all of this, is in-depth information on Viking culture, religion, and rituals.
So it’s basically everything you’ve ever wanted in a Viking exhibition, including this amazing sword:
Feeling like you just don’t have sufficient Viking background in your life? You could pick up some books and watch some documentaries to beef up. Or you could do the fun thing and watch Vikings on History Channel. While not entirely historically accurate, it is entirely entertaining! The show does capture a great deal of historically accurate elements, which is really cool to see in action.
Of course, that brings me to the second thing I’m pumped about for 2014 – Vikings returns for season 2, and since it left off on a real cliffhanger in season 1, the suspense is killing me. I know you are thinking that a show on History Channel can’t possibly be good, but I swear you guys. The production value is seriously good, the writing is good, and the acting is even better. There’s something for everyone here – super ripped, super tall dudes who wield war hammers, swords and battle axes, the gore is obscene, the facial hair is extreme, and the dirty sex scenes are really hot, and shirts are only worn 1/3 of the time. It’s like Game of Thrones with fewer plot twists and more Norwegian accents.
Also, their opening credits are great.