A Visual Tour of the Old Norse World
We’ve put together a variety of videos from our friends and affiliates around the internet. Below, we have clips from documentaries, and lectures on Viking language, history, and archaeology suitable for furthering your own studies or that of your classroom’s.
A Viking Landscape Series
This video is about Jesse Byock’s interdisciplinary research in Iceland. The material discuss the use of sagas, history and archaeology in the Mosfell Valley in Iceland. The Mosfell Archaeological Project is an international research project directed by Jesse Byock. This research constructs a comprehensive picture of human adaptation and environmental change in the Mosfell region of southwestern Iceland and employs the tools of history, archaeology, anthropology, genetics, saga studies and environmental sciences.
The Saga of a Viking Longhouse
Mosfellsbær is a small town situated in southwestern Iceland, very close to the country’s capital city, Reykjavík. In the proximity of Mosfellsbær there is a well preserved Norse longhouse that dates back to the Viking Age. This architectural structure proved worthy of research that ultimately determined several aspects of the Norse settlement in early medieval Iceland.
The initial purpose of the project was to determine whether or not the places from the Icelandic sagas existed in reality. The team of experts working on the Hrísbrú longhouse employed the tools of archaeology, history (mainly the Icelandic sagas written in Old Norse during the 12th and 13th centuries in Iceland), as well as genetics, in order to discover how valid where the sagas after all.
The Mosfell Archaeological Project also made extensive usage of anthropology, forensics and environmental sciences so as to highlight the development stages of the Norse settlements in Mosfell, southwestern Iceland. According to Landnámabók (‘The Book of the Settlements’ in Icelandic), human activity in the Mosfell Valley is recorded as early as the 9th century.
While it is mostly believed that the Norsemen were the first permanent settlers in Iceland (the island being as such unknown to most Europeans during the early Middle Ages), it should be mentioned that recent archaeological studies cast light on a short-lived pre-Norse settlement era when Irish monks sparsely inhabited the coastal parts of the country.
This research is also strengthened by an important Icelandic manuscript, namely Íslendingabók (‘The Book of the Icelanders’ in translation), where these hermit Catholic monks were referred to as ‘Papar’ and were most likely part of a Hiberno-Scottish mission.
Throughout all the years of the archaeological research in Iceland, the team of archaeologists were provided with assistance and support on behalf of the Icelandic authorities, from the mayor Mosfellsbær to the president of Iceland.
The short documentary film below was made in the process of several excavations from the Mosfell Valley and tries to illustrate the historicity of the Icelandic sagas through archaeological discoveries.
Journey’s End (Ferðalok)
This is the trailer for a six-part television series that examines the Icelandic Sagas from an archaeological and literary point of view. The series covers selected events from the Icelandic sagas and sheds light on them based on extant artefacts that still exist, either in nature or in museums. The episodes aim to make the sagas available to the public in an entertaining way and at the same time explore the veracity of the sagas.
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Welcome to our site, OldNorse.org! We seek to educate on Old Norse teaching Old Scandinavian language, culture, and sagas. Learn Old Norse–the language the runes and myths of the Vikings–through user-friendly textbooks, online content, and blog. Here you will find books, free content, audio resources, and a community of Old Norse students to aid teachers, students, and beginners.