Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Unfortunately, I did not get around to the final entries of my trip because I did not have internet access throughout my time in Germany and Norway. I didn't realize what a big hit my blog would be when I started! I've had a couple requests to add the remaining photos from my trip where I traveled by train to Summer Breeze Festival in Bavaria and up through Norway to explore the western fjords of Sognefjordane and Flam, then back to Oslo for the first Bunker metal festival.  I will also post photos from the remaining finds from the Viking settlement excavation.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Inspiring quotes for my paper on Viking era warrior women

"There were once women in Denmark who dressed themselves to look like men and spent almost every minute cultivating soldier's skills; (…..) 

They put toughness before allure, aimed at conflicts instead of kisses, tasted blood, not lips, sought the clash of arms rather than the arm's embrace, fitted to weapons hands which should have been weaving, desired not the couch but the kill, and those they could have appeased with looks they attack with lances".  (Books 1-9) —Saxo Grammaticus, History of the Danes, circa 1200 CE.

Hervǫr kvað:  "Hirðumat fælask við fnǫsun slíka, þótt of alla ey eldar brenni! Látumat okkr liðna rekka skjótla skelfa; skulum við talask." Vas þá féhirðir fljótr til skógar mjǫk frá máli meyjar þessar; en harðsnúinn hugr í brjósti um sakar slíkar svellr Hervǫru. 

(Hervor said:  'Let us take care not to be frightened by such snorting, though fires burn throughout the entire island! Let's not allow dead warriors to quickly frighten us; we shall make conversation.' At that moment the herdsman was headed to the woods at the words of this maiden; but Hervor's heart, well-prepared for such straits, swelled in her breast.) -Slocum, Jonathan, and Todd B. Krause, trans. "Hervararkviða or The Waking of Angantýr."

"Ladgerda, a skilled Amazon, who, though a maiden, had the courage of a man, and fought in front among the bravest with her hair loose over her shoulders. All-marveled at her matchless deeds, for her locks flying down her back betrayed that she was a woman." —Saxo Grammaticus, History of the Danes, circa 1200 CE.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Copenhagen, Metal Magic, and more Vikings!

The last few weeks have been so busy for me but filled with incredible discoveries, enlightening experiences, and lots of fun!

I'll begin with my weekend in Copenhagen where I stayed at the accommodating and trendy Generator Hostel. When I arrived I was excited to discover my hostel-mates were from all over the world: Chile, Argentina, and Sweden.  My mini-trip to Copenhagen was a solo venture so wandering around the huge, picturesque city could be a little overwhelming at times. I stumbled upon a number of delicious restaurants and cute little boutiques while I was exploring off the beaten path. However, my visit was not entirely spontaneous. I mapped out 7 different record stores around the city along with a few tourist-y attractions, like the Tivoli gardens and the Jazz festival. One of the record stores on my list, "Beat Bop", is owned by Michael Denner, the guitarist of Mercyful Fate and King Diamond. I had the pleasure of meeting him and he signed my Abigail North American tour shirt from 1987. Copenhagen has a lot of character, with it's ornate statues and romantic architecture. Being a bigger city that Aarhus, Copenhagen is louder and more chaotic but also more diverse. I liked Copenhagen so much that I may return on my way north to Sweden and Norway.

After, I made my way back to Jutland for the Fredericia Metal Magic festival. I camped out for 4 days with new friends from Copenhagen and Aarhus. I am friends with one of the bands and managed to get an all access roadie pass. Around 38 bands played, mostly underground, including Witch Cross, Inquisition, Deathhammer, Valkyrja, and Denial of God. I have to say that it was the most fun I've had the entire trip, and quite possibly the most fun I've ever had at any concert or festival. I will never forget the guys from Witch Cross (most of them are grandfathers!) playing heavy metal classics like they were still in their 20's or heading banging to Turbocharged in the mud and pouring rain with my new friends. As a part of the metal community in the United States, it was truly exciting to see that European metalheads share the same family mentality and were willing to accept me into their tight-knit community without any hesitation. I will definitely be going back next year!

And now back to the Viking studies portion of my trip. Last week I visited the Roskilde viking ship museum where I saw multiple excavated longships, merchant, and fishing boats from Denmark, Norway, and Ireland. I learned about the craftsmanship of these impressive ships and got to experience rowing and steering a replica viking fishing boat. Despite the pouring rain, this was a truly amazing experience! The replica ship was so detailed that the rope was even made from horse hair and the sails were made from woven wool. This week I went to the Silkeborg museum to see another well preserved bog body. I also visited an excavation site in Skanderborg that was most likely used for ritual and sacrifice. They have discovered hundreds of disarticulated bodies dating as far back as 9 AD. I saw shards of pottery, various bones, and a skull, still only partially excavated. I also visited the famous Jelling stones (pronounced as "yelling") that were erected by the famous King Harald Bluetooth and his father, Gorm the Old. Bluetooth's stone bears the oldest known depiction of Jesus Christ. The stone, which was resurrected in honor of Bluetooth's conquests, is also an important marker of when the Vikings shifted from Norse paganism to Christianity. Jelling is also home of two of the biggest Viking burial mounds in the world.

Today I finished my last class at the University of Aarhus. The topic of discussion was modern Viking identity, the global significance of the pre-medieval era, and the growth of Asatru. My final paper and presentation is due this Sunday. The title of my paper is “Shieldmaidens and Valkyries: Women as Warriors in the Viking Age”. On Monday I'm off to Schleswig, Germany for a few weeks for the excavation of Füsing, Summer Breeze metal festival, and a couple of Viking era markets. The excavation site of Füsing was in the news again, this time covered by National Geographic. If you are interested in what has bee found thus far and what I will be working on in the next few weeks then click here.

Photos of Longships, Runestones, and Excavations

Building a new replica ship

 Guess who got to steer the ship? Look how happy I am!

 Roskilde Viking Ship Museum
 Beautiful ornate Viking garb

 The sacrafice site excavation in Skanderborg
A  human skull from 9 AD, with a spear wound in the back of the cranium

 The Jelling stones

 The North burial mound at Jelling

The Jelling museum

Photos of Copenhagen and Metal Magic V

Some of the group celebrating the 4th of July with a barbeque in our backyard

Church in Copenhagen

 A famous fountain in Copenhagen

 Generator Hostel 

A tasty little fish & chips joint I discovered 

 More of Copenhagen
My all access pass! Thanks to my friend, Andreas from Fjorsvartnir!

A portion of the Metal Magic V campsite
 Taking a photo of my friends taking a photo of me!

 A variety of metal bands of all ages and from all over the world

My friend Gunhild and I, rocking out in the rain

 The best photo of the entire festival