The Norse, De­coded

Canada's History - - CURRENTS -

Were the Vik­ings re­ally blood­thirsty berserk­ers? Or were they merely mis­un­der­stood?

A new ex­hi­bi­tion in On­tario is ex­plor­ing the com­pli­cated and cap­ti­vat­ing le­gacy of these fierce Scan­di­na­vian fight­ers.

Vik­ings: The Ex­hi­bi­tion launched in Novem­ber at the Royal On­tario Mu­seum and runs un­til April 2018.

The ex­hi­bi­tion “pro­vides vis­i­tors with a holis­tic per­spec­tive on who the Norse were, how they changed through time, and how they con­stantly pushed the bound­aries of their world through in­no­va­tion and ex­plo­ration,” said Dr. Craig Cipolla, ROM as­so­ci­ate cu­ra­tor of North Amer­i­can ar­chae­ol­ogy. “The ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ma­te­ri­als and in­ter­ac­tive dis­plays in the ex­hi­bi­tion al­low vis­i­tors to ex­pe­ri­ence Vik­ing cul­ture and his­tory in re­veal­ing and sur­pris­ing ways.”

The ex­hi­bi­tion con­sists of more than five hun­dred ar­ti­facts. They come from the Swedish His­tory Mu­seum as well as from Cana­dian sources, in­clud­ing Parks Canada, The Rooms mu­seum in St. John’s, New­found­land and Labrador, and the Cana­dian Mu­seum of His­tory in Ot­tawa.

High­lights in­clude two re­con­structed Vik­ing boats, the Arby, and the Eik Sande. Both ves­sels have been faith­fully recre­ated us­ing Vik­ing pro­cesses and ma­te­ri­als. Also on dis­play is an au­then­tic Norse weapon that was the centre of a twen­ti­eth-cen­tury hoax: the “Beard­more Sword,” which was planted in North­ern On­tario in the 1930s in an at­tempt to fool ar­chae­ol­o­gists study­ing the Vik­ing pres­ence in North Amer­ica.

This Norse long sword is part of the ROM’s Vik­ing ex­hibit.

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