Saturday, 17 May 2014


Once I had the tickets for the BL event for Friday evening, I also booked for the Vikings exhibition at the British Museum, so spent some time there before meeting up with my friend, to head on to the Library. 
Roskilde 6

I was a little disappointed at the exhibition. Firstly,  the exhibition has timed tickets and limited availability, but they seem to have seriously misjudged how many people can realistically see the exhibits at any one time, with the result that it was massively overcrowded. Given that the majority of exhibits are small and intricate, this is a particular disadvantage! 

The stand-out exhibit, and the exception to this, of course, is 'Roskilde 6' the remains of a 37m long Viking ship.The ship has been dated to around 1025 AD (around 20% of the display is the original timbers) It is dramatic and awe inspiring, but the rest of the exhibition does not entirely live up to it!

That said, there are interesting exhibits - some beautifully ornamented metal work and stone carving, and lots of fascinating nuggets of information : images and grave-goods associated with sorceresses included their staffs, which in turn had decorative heads reminiscent of spindles/distaffs; the information accompanying them suggested that there were close associations between woman, magic and spinning (So it is not only the Norns who combine magic and spinning!)  There was also a fascinating map of the British Isles, showing the distribution both of placenames of Viking origin, but also of Viking DNA.

I'm glad I saw the exhibit, but do feel that the curators missed opportunities to make it more human - it seemed, for the most part, a little dry and academic, and, as I mentioned, very, very overcrowded. 

And of course, after leaving, I still had the most exciting part of the day still to come!

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