This gold-plated axe which probably dates from early 11th century, found in Botnhamn in Northern Norway sometime between 1915 and 1920, is one of many attractions at the “Vikings: Life and Legend” exhibition.
“Vikings: Life and Legend”, the most comprehensive Viking exhibition ever to have been held outside Scandinavia opens tomorrow at the British Museum. The Scandinavian countries, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, have contributed with fantastic objects from the core period of the Viking Age, the late 8th century to the early 11th century. The exhibition lasts until June 22.
The British Museum writes about the exhibition (excerpt):
This is the first major exhibition on Vikings at the British Museum for over 30 years. It features many new archaeological discoveries and objects never seen before in the UK alongside important Viking Age artifacts from the British Museum’s own collection and elsewhere in Britain and Ireland.
New interpretations place warfare and warrior identity at the centre of what it meant to be a Viking; cultural contact was often violent, and the transportation of looted goods and slaves reflects the role of Vikings as both raiders and traders.
The extraordinary Viking expansion from the Scandinavian homelands during this era created a cultural network with contacts from the Caspian Sea to the North Atlantic, and from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. The Vikings will be viewed in a global context that will highlight the multi-faceted influences arising from extensive cultural contacts.
The exhibition will capitalise on new research and thousands of recent discoveries by both archaeologists and metal-detectorists, to set the developments of the Viking Age in context. These new finds have changed our understanding of the nature of Viking identity, trade, magic and belief and the role of the warrior in Viking society.
Above all, it was the maritime character of Viking society and their extraordinary shipbuilding skills that were key to their achievements. At the centre of the exhibition will be the surviving timbers of a 37-metre-long Viking warship, the longest ever found and never seen before in the UK.
Weapons and looted treasures demonstrate the central role of warfare to the identity of the Vikings. Recently excavated skeletons from a mass grave of executed Vikings near Weymouth in Dorset, will provide a close-up encounter with ‘real’ Vikings and illustrate what happened when things went wrong for Viking warriors on British soil.
Ostentatious jewellery of gold and silver will demonstrate how status was vividly displayed by Viking men and women. These include a stunning silver hoard from Gnezdovo in Russia, never previously seen in the UK, which will highlight the combination of Scandinavian, Slavic and Middle Eastern influences which contributed to the development of the early Russian state in the Viking Age.
Text modified by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews
Photos from top by: Private, British Museum
Source: British Museum