By Carla Charter
MYSTIC, CT.- Vikings. The very thought of them brings to mind fierce warriors. However, they were so much more. “The Vikings were adventurous. They left their mark on Europe with their trading expertise, settlement and raiding,” said Dr. William R. Short, Manager of Hurstwic.com, a Viking educational research organization, who will be speaking about these people during Viking Days at the Mystic Seaport Museum on June 1 and 2nd.
The Viking Days were first held last year at the museum. “At that time, we were hosting an exhibit of Viking articles from Sweden which was traveling through the United States. The first Viking Days were a big success with 6,000 people in attendance, over the two days so we decided to have it again,” said Arlene Marcionette, Public Programs Project manager at the Mystic Seaport Museum.
Viking Days will offer activities for both adults and children including Draugar Vinlands visiting a Viking encampment complete with Viking reenactors, and taking a Dockside tours of Draken Harald Harfargris, the largest sea worthy Viking ship in modern times. Captain Bjorn Ahlander will also be speaking about Draken’s adventures. Other events will include Mead making demonstrations, guest lectures on Viking history and culture and Viking storytelling. There will be a theatrical performance, Vikings Fact or Fiction, written by Flock Theatre and a musical performance including Lynn Noel, a Viking scholar and performer, playing a Saxon Lyre a reconstruction of the Sutton Hoo Lyre from the early seventh century. It is one of several types of lyres excavated from the Viking period.
Dr. Short will be speaking on Viking Iron Making and Viking belief systems. “The Vikings were from Scandinavia, the countries of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. They lived between the 700’s and 1100’s,” he said. Lynn Noel will also be speaking on Viking History.
Along with Europe, the Vikings also visited North America, exploring and to settle here. “We know that because a settlement was uncovered in Newfoundland,” Short said. The Vikings also left behind Sagas and Eddas, which included tales of their voyages to North America, which were preserved in the middle ages.
“It is clear that the Vikings went South (from Newfoundland) but it’s unclear how far south they went. Many believe that they may have gone as far South as New England but there is no proof of that,” he said adding “There are a lot of eyes open (looking for New England Viking relics,) but it will be difficult because New England is so settled and dug up,” Short said.
More information on the Draken Harald Harfargris ship can be found at www.drakenhh.com. More information on Hurstwic.com, which provides lessons in Viking Combat training, can be found at www.hurstwic.com. More information on Viking Days can be found at www.mysticseaport.org/event/viking-days/