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We invite you to join us for Norwegians go to a program of music and commentary produced from materials provided by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation featured on this program will be a documentary called The Viking 8. But first a composition by Leif G or Wagner called the Ranger mark the Norwegian broadcasting Orchestra conducted by Oyvind bet. The in. The back. The
behalf. I am. I am. It was.
The bigger. The bigger. The earth. Get. Leaf or vans. Ranger much performed by the Norwegian broadcasting Orchestra under the direction of Ivan better. No radio Norway. Another documentary in a series called The Search for Norway's path and the Viking age. Was it glorious or shameful. That is the question we will pose in this program. Nowhere on there were there were a hundred hardass and I had him hands on one knee.
And a hundred shopping ready cooler never rusting brazen tongues in each head. And a hundred gather loose loud unceasingly system each tongue they could not recount on the radio and enumerate or tell what all the gate Hills offered in common both men and women lady and kludgy Odin young noble and ignoble of hardship and of injury and of oppression in every house. From these that he and all full thought in purely pagan people. Light my mind was Lord and the mirthful went on further ways with the glorious King that stormy gales did shake our sail ships in gullies swiftly our sea Steve's all sounds of Lister bounded up well with the wind the bellowing the wings are healing. These two quotations the first taken from a 12th century Irish source
devoted to the invasion of the Vikings and the second school the poem from the eleventh century can serve to illustrate two different attitudes to the Viking Age attitudes which we seem to find even today in the one case the Viking age is seen as a shameful blot on our regional Scandinavian history with civilised crude hordes of pagans looting holy shrines and cruelly killing women and children. Incidentally this seems to be an attitude most often found outside Scandinavia. The other and more popular attitude with us is that the Viking Age was a glorious golden period in our history a time when Norwegian spy virtue of their courage and superiority on sea and land gathered riches and honor in far off lands and made Norway's influence felt throughout Europe. These two attitudes are both extremes I suppose and colored by the eyes that see. Let us turn in this program to the silent witnesses. The
evidence of archaeology and see whether the archaeological material can bring us a little nearer to the truth about the Viking age. Mrs. Sherlock to be and I'm curator of the Historical Museum in Oslo has made the Viking age her speciality. And we asked her what she thought should we look upon the Viking age with shame or with pride. To my opinion that is hardly or answer to this question. Of course if you look upon it from the contemporary written from the eyes behind the contemporary written sources it's a shameful period for us because their moms storage of it raided the women were raped and there was bloodshed everywhere where the Vikings came and the nines in the 10th century must indeed have been troubled times. To put it mildly for the Irish and the English and also for the other people
along western Europe's coast and specially. But if you look upon it as I am forced to do by my job from an archaeological point to you you can see that the Viking Age is a time of enormous expansion. In here in the north. Here in Norway as well as in the other countries and I do think that the Vikings contributed a little at least to the Western European civilization of that time. The Viking civilization here in the north was a civilization very sure of itself. They had a traditional way of living and they came out with open eyes and made open minds. And I thought I think it is a question of give and take. How did this sudden expansion come about. Do we know at all that also that again is a very difficult
question to answer. But I think it's a very naturalistic to do it. We can see it from our archaeological sources and finds that the main problem for the three Vikings civilized session here in Norway and in the north on the whole world's supply of iron and in the in years immediately before starting all day writing expeditions that is in the years before 880. They succeeded in finding a way of producing iron which gave them not only supply for their demands but also surplus if you might call it that. And this. With this I didn't they could conquer the forests inside Norway and they could also conquer. They could also cut the road wanted let's say for the Viking ships for
real seafaring vessels which brought them and brought it on the other hand you can see from some who call them DE VOS to farms especially in. Western Norway that there was an op over population here and they had to search for new land. And at the southernmost point of Shetland for instance settlements have been found which can be connected with. The writings and which obviously show us that these people went out not only in search for richness but also in search for land. Is it true to say them perhaps that the Viking raids do not give the complete picture of the period. Oh yes indeed. It should also be remembered that the grave the writing
created was a vet a Metra wasting paper that as I said before and in the Viking days we find all sort of daily life your Densil in the man's man's grave we will find his weapon but also the carpenter's outfit if it was a cop do at the summits of fit if it was dismissed and so on and into women's graves. We will find her and the wives your dances in her kitchen at her. In her evening and in her. Perhaps you know you got trill back on of the of the life on the farm and so on and the greatest discovery from this point of view ever made in Norway and in Scandinavia was made in nineteen hundred and four on the overall Sebag in the coastal district of Austria if you want. And don't find everything was uncovered
like a fairy tale to us. And this is perhaps the greatest rocking discovery ever made. That gives us a picture of life on the farm then yes it does. Could we go and have a look at these. Oh yes by all means do letters ago. It's the greatest pride on museum and I'm always delighted to take people there. And here we are in the Viking ship house outside. And here the numerous finds made in the grave have been collected. How was all this found Mrs. Bowen. Well this great great adventure of the Norwegian working archaeology happened as I said before in nineteen hundred and four when the from the owner of the land on the far most bang came upon an enormous mound which she wanted removed.
This man was built of clay and he suddenly realized that he noted down what we understand was the mast of an enormous ship. Again it is to amuse them and the people came down and the next question had to be planned carefully and it went on from July. And nineteen hundred and four until November. And in this period they end covered and then ship the real well ship some 20 well made to long and on both sides of the mast of the ship found an enormous collection of different objects. Man had a family of four pledges all dutifully decorated with wood carvings. There is a most peculiar for you to value and every animal is decorated in the most beautiful wood carvings and there are also more
metally stick things like daily utensils for the people living on the farm. About the 880 we could date the find to that time. And in the middle of the burial in the middle of the ship they found a barrier we call it that is a very small little house and inside that house there were traces of beds. When I said traces of beds I mean I really mean this because some time after the battle had taken place we think perhaps in the Middle Ages robbers grave robbers had found their way in the mound and into the bank and they had taken out the people who had been interred there and who moved them must have been in this grave that was removed back in the Middle Ages and the skeletons of the people who had been put
into the bed but are not found in their beds but they're found in. The passage made by the grave robbers but they could identify skeletons of at least two people both female and the discussion no. Still last whether there was one that was an old and what suffered badly from outright this and there was a young one and it is discussed whether the young one was the real owner of the ship and how will these beautiful things and the old 100. Pound woman whether it's the opposite way around. And the young Want it was forced to follow an old woman in her grave. We don't know but it should be mentioned I think that. One has tried to identify one of these two skeletons one of these two women with the person mentioned in I wrote it to two and called him her of the name of the
farm. The bikes will be arrived from her name then and the owner I was there was about fine is usually called Queen or suck the ham because it's quite obvious that the person living here and being given this beautiful bed must have belonged to the highest peak of society. That's absolutely certain. You mentioned that all this was found in the ship. Was that the custom and as man know whether this ship was intended as a well in place or was it meant as a vessel perhaps to take the dead to some Promised Land. Well least custom of burying the dead in the ship's orbits is characteristic of the Viking age in the Coast to this day so no way. And we know the burial custom also from Sweden and from Denmark. But it's most common in Norway. Rich
people would be interested in relationships like those specially whilst people of a farm a standard for instance would be given only a small boat. I've been excavating but dressed like that myself but the idea must be I think that the dead people would want the ship or there but for the classical The Voyage to the kingdom of the deaths of what have we would call it I don't think it was meant meant as it really dwelling place. What kind of a picture of life in those days can we conjure up from these finds. We do our eyes. What I would call a train will be called all the objects not only the showpieces which I mentioned before but also the daily things for
daily life them mostly mad of. The world we have TROs for baking bread. We have booze for working on the fields we have spades made of wood. We have paid in buckets and a lot of other objects all made of old and in addition to that of course we have itan cauldrons and things for cooking. What is very astonishing to a modernised is that you have no pottery at all. But this is not something completely new to us because during the centuries after. And Viking I had during the mid legit and even down to offer days away you will find the same kind o wood cut of the daily utensils being made of wood. It's a natural material I think for Norwegians. Not perhaps today
but it was generations ago and it must have been the Viking age. Finally told us that and that is to my opinion perhaps the most important of everything about this find that we got there long traditions in the way of living from these finds we can see that the same utensils and the same way of plowing the fields must have started at least in the Viking times and went on till the industrial revolution and the last class stage. If you can call it that. We can see from the beautifully carved cots misled just and so on here that even that was expressed in wood. Yes indeed most of the things have been covered. I must say with beautiful wood carving it's not only the pieces but also of the pieces for daily life a decorated with this
what we call animal patterns. The Viking art is of a standard and it is a delight to everybody even today I think if you have eyes to see with that there were two women found in this grave. Do we know anything about the position of women in the society of those days. Here again we must say that the above find confirmed in the vault record. Guess from our latest Sawgrass that the position of the woman in the Viking society and also in the middle cited was not so bad as some people seem to think I mean you must have been in a position which gave her an opportunity to demand a burial like this that she must have picked out the things she wanted in her bed. I think myself and she certainly must have been
a woman of a high Betty high position. But whether she has been allowed to marry out to her own choice we can't tell you the finds were made in best fall as far as I know this is one of the richest districts for liking finds. What about marketplace. This seems to be mentioned in the literary sources also in this district. Yes that's quite true. The man from also Norway who called himself off. We call him and he came to the court of King Alfred and he gave a very very important report on the conditions in Norway at the time about. 180 look related that the district in which she lived is called holy. No one he said lived farther north than he. But there is a port in the southern end of the country. This people called the
skating is healed. And to it he said. One could not fail in less than a month if one camped by night and had favorable winds by day south of skating his heel and large CD-ROMs up into the country. The sea is whiter there than any man can see across. And from skidding is he'll he said. He sailed for five days to the port that is called here the B. Our guide through the Viking age and through this program has made it her main task to find and unveil the port which tided describes for 15 years excavations have been carried out at code in Southeastern Norway this year the work will be finished. And if Conrad kampung will once again be able to plough the land over what was once a lively Viking trading port. We have taken our record a nod to the Historical Museum in Oslo and are looking at some of the finds made
down and kept on talking about a cap on Mrs B and I'm that is actually the old Norwegian word for Trade Center and it is also the same name of the farmer who owns the land today. Is this some kind of connection. Maybe you want one might say that this farmer can carry his family tradition back to at least the middle of the 15th century the family has been sitting on a farm since then and the dividing marketing place must have been closed at the middle of the tenth century we think. And it must have taken some time between the mocked mocked in place being given up and the mainland being fertile enough for agriculture and back again. So. Maybe his family go back to the to the real Vikings I don't know. Anyway his name is certainly
what he name and it's the same name as you have in shipping in England and it just being in then my friend that it describes very minute leave the geographical location of skating this heel and the location is important for the trading routes of those days isn't it. Yes certainly you know the will to be called of the fjords a long coastline. Musta been the best contact between different coastal districts. But then again people from the inland would want to come down to the coastal districts be partly for for of course for. They're doing that trade there and partly getting sold supplies for instance which we don't have in the inland of this country and they had to use the lakes and rivers and also the old natural barriers in in the countryside and heading west fell back up on the situation. They have such bad here. It's the old eyes
and mud rain which we call Doha on which even the modern European road into our store is rounding today and that must have been very important for them for transport and for into district communication. Is it possible from the fines made to draw a picture of the town and of the life lived there. I would hardly call it a town from what we have found it's more a market place. It must to be in an open place. It was not fortified on any. And any part as far as we can see there must have been very intense contact between the people living down there perhaps only four seasons not through the whole year. And the people in the immediate hinterland and in my opinion the whole thing was balkanized by the farmers in the neighborhood. In they conducted the trade I think
and then they also looked after their farms. We should have liked to go down to the site and look at the excavations But at this time of year snow covers the whole area even without the snow I don't suppose one can actually see the streets and keys of the old place and that is impossible. It was very badly damaged by the plowing and I got to being off to the marketplace was given given up and we only find the bottom layer of the houses and the keys and the streets if we might call them that. If we could return to our STARTING POINT have the excavations here at cope on or for that matter the archaeological finds of the later years in any way to the general conception of the Viking age. Yes I do think one might say that the trading aspect on the Viking time was Biden very much in the last years. Now that only by the
excavations here in Norway but by the excavations done in Denmark in Sweden and also in England for instance and more peacefully trained in the Viking raids is coming to light. It should never be for forgotten that between or behind our Viking raids there. There is also the Viking expeditions through the northern islands to the island and also of sept of Scotland to Iceland to Greenland and even to me this is a peaceful aspect of the Viking raids. This is people in such a lot of loot. But of land and this aspect this proud man will of surviving on the dominion of existence possibilities should never be forgotten to talk about the market. You have been listening to the Viking Age produced by Google Crawl's god
of radio Norway. Which concludes this program of Norwegians cancer's this programme was prepared by Marianne Watson at the University of Michigan technical supervision by Robert Hooke. This is Brett Hundley. Join us again next. Week when. This is ending and you are the national educational radio network.
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Norwegian Sketches
Episode Number
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
Norwegian Sketches is a National Educational Radio Network program prepared by the University of Michigan . Each episode features a unique selection of music and commentary from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Musical selections are performed by the Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra, and commentaries include documentaries, lectures, and readings from Radio Norway.
Local Communities
Recorded Music
Media type
Host: Hindley, Fred
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Producing Organization: Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-27-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:36
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APA: Norwegian Sketches; 4. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from