Three posts in one day may seem like spam, but when I realized that the replica Viking ship the Sea Stallion from Glendalough actually set sail yesterday on its return voyage from Dublin to Denmark, I had to post the link to the Smithsonian video . Last year, the ship sailed from Denmark to Dublin, reproducing typical Viking voyages of the 8th-11th centuries.
According to the accompanying Smithsonian.com article
[R]ecent research has suggested that the Vikings pouring out of Denmark, Sweden and Norway 1,200 years ago had more on their minds than raiding, though they were not above using their martial reputation to their advantage in areas where they were vastly outnumbered. These adventurers also wove a network of trade and exploration that stretched from Russia to Turkey to Canada, buying and selling goods from places as distant as China and Afghanistan. “They were people without boundaries,” says Wladyslaw Duczko, an archaeologist at the University of Uppsala in Sweden.
This information will make fans of Michael Crichton’s The 13th Warrior happy, undoubtedly. A Viking voyage was swift, considering, but no romantic cruise, however:
Nighttime temperatures plunged into the 30s. . . . “It kept on raining and raining and raining,” says crew member Henrik Kastoft, a spokesman for a Danish political party in his day job. “There were so many nights I just sat there shivering for hours.” Each member of the crew had only about eight square feet of space to himself. “I really suffered from being so close to people for so long. I got edgy, cranky,” says Erik Nielsen. “Maybe the modern analogue would be a submarine.”
Archaeologists, anthropologists, and literary/history scholars learn a lot from projects such as these.
Thanks to my in-laws for the subscription to Smithsonian Magazine, without which I might have missed this story!