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Archaeologists in Norway discover church and altar of Viking King Olav Haraldsson


Archaeologists working on a site near Trondheim have unearthed the foundations of a wooden stave church and the alter where Olaf may have been enshrined immediately after being declared a saint. The discovery gives credibility to Norse saga accounts surrounding important events of that era.

Director of the project, Anna Petersén said “This is a unique site in Norwegian history in terms of religion, culture and politics. Much of the Norwegian national identity has been established on the cult of sainthood surrounding St. Olaf, and it was here it all began!”

Olaf II Haraldsson, later known as St. Olaf, was King of Norway from 1015 to 1028 till his death in the Battle of Stiklestad. His younger half-brother, Harald Hardrada, was also present at the battle who also became King of Norway in 1047, only to die in a failed invasion of England at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.

In his Chronicle of the Kings of Norway, the medieval Icelandic historian Snorri stated that “following King Olaf Haraldsson’s martyrdom in 1030, his body was buried in Trondheim, or Nidaros” (as it was known) and that the local populus soon reported portents and miracles attributed to the martyred king. A year after his death, Olaf’s coffin was dug up and opened in the presence of the bishop, revealing his miraculously well-preserved body. He was immediately declared a saint by popular acclaim and his body was enshrined above the high altar in the royal church of St. Clement’s church before being moved to the Cathedral some years later.

St. Clement’s church discovered

Archaeologists working for the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) have recently uncovered the stone foundations for a wooden stave church which they believe is the actual ruin of St. Clement’s Church from the dating evidence. Dating evidence and a study of the ruins places its construction at the time Olaf ruled.

During its excavation, the archaeologists uncovered a small rectangular stone-built platform at the building’s east end which is probably the foundation for an altar – probably the very same altar on which St. Olaf’s coffin was placed in 1031. In addition, a small well was also discovered which may be a holy well connected with the saint.



Yes I would. Scandinavia was a hotbed of technological innovation and experimentation at that general time. Metallurgy, ship-building, social organization, navigation and exploration.

I consider it the early Northern Technological Renaissance.

Which reminds me, the premier of The Vikings is on tonight.

This is superb work by the way.


Norwegian Artisan Creates 3D Printed Replica of 6th-Century Sword

You probably wouldn’t consider 6th century Scandinavia a hotbed of anything, much less technological and artistic innovation, but that’s precisely what was happening in that region of the world as a result of increased migration in an era that’s actually called “the Migration Period.” From around 400 to 550 CE (Common Era), the northern migration of Germanic tribes, following earlier encroachment by the Romans, brought a great deal of change to Scandinavia–now Denmark, Norway, and Sweden–a region that was predominantly tribal and populated with small farms and settlements. This is the epoch that gave birth to the Vikings and it began with an influx of ideas from the south.

The hilt of the original, 6th-century sword.

One modern-day Norwegian paid homage to that long-ago period of awakening in his home country by replicating an artifact from that era of burgeoning technology and artistic mastery: Teacher, game developer, and 3D design- and printing enthusiast, Nils Anderssen used his expertise to produce a stunningly accurate reproduction of a 6th-century, double-edged, iron sword with a bronze hilt, which was originally crafted in Snartemo in Southern Norway. Anderssen used the cutting-edge technology of today to recreate a symbol of his country’s ancient, expert craftsmanship.

It has certainly been possible before 3D printing to undertake a project like Anderssen’s, but it has been more expensive and far more time-consuming. Also, Anderssen, who has many talents, is not a professional goldsmith, so he was willingly heading into uncharted territory when he began his Snartemo Sword project. What he did possess was an enthusiasm for history and historical artifacts and, of course, a maker’s curiosity and ingenuity, so he began his project, spending a couple of years figuring out how to go about using 3D printing to create a believable replica.

Eventually, Anderssen uploaded the results of his ongoing project on his website, which prompted the National Museum of Art in Oslo, Norway to approach him about creating a replica of the sword as a companion display to the real sword (which, as we understand it, is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo). The museum insisted, quite reasonably, that the copy should resemble the original as closely as possible. Visitors would be able to handle the replica, so it needed to feel like the original sword as well.

Equipped with photos and measurements of the sword, Anderssen used 3D Studio Max to create his 3D design. “In Studio Max,” he explained, “I have good control over the thickness and size of the patterns and therefore avoided problems in printing.” The sword’s sharp edges were easily modeled in 3D Studio Max. His secret was to use “almost exclusively…the basic features of the polygon modeling tools…”

3D printed hilt

Without the capacity to 3D print in bronze himself, Anderssen needed to find a 3D printing service to help him undertake this major part of the sword project. He did his research and opted to enlist i.materialize, whom, he found, could print larger sizes than most other companies. Not unlike the original process of crafting the sword, Anderssen’s replica was created in parts. After he received the 3D-printed bronze pieces from i.materialize, he smoothed them and then had them gilded. He did make one important change: With his design, the hilt was hollow and later filled with wood to make the finished piece more stable and to facilitate easier assembly.

It isn’t clear how and where the blade was produced, but the various pieces of the sword were assembled by Anderssen and the results were spectacular. He had the pleasure after completing the project of seeing his replica placed next to the original sword, by far the greatest test of his success. As the photo emphasizes, the similarities between the reproduction and the original really are remarkable. What a brilliant means of both preserving history without compromising the physical state of an ancient artifact and allowing those of us who want to appreciate such objects to do so in a more interactive way! We hope that this becomes a trend with museums and archives; 3D printing certainly makes it plausible and far more budget-friendly.

both swords


Let’s hear your thoughts on Anderssen’s work in the 3D Printed Replica Sword forum thread on

3D Print (Left), Original (Right)


If I were young and single I’d do this… if you ask me they also needs guides and explorers and traders and fishermen and Skalds/Scops if they don’t already have em.

Unique Opportunity: Summer Job as Viking Ship Høvedsmann/ Captain

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Viking ship “Lofotr” needs a new captain the coming summer. (Photo: Lofotr Viking Museum)

Have you ever dreamed of being Høvedsmann (Captain) on a Viking ship? This summer, you have the opportunity to apply for the position at the Lofotr Viking Museum in the Lofoten archipelago, Northern Norway – if you have the right qualifications.

There are two Viking ships at the museum. “Lofotr” is a full-scale reconstruction of the Gokstad ship dating back to the 800s. Like the original, “Lofotr” is an excellent seagoing ship which has won several regattas.

The Viking museum which is located on the beautiful Vestvågøy island is searching for two captains the coming summer.

(Article continues)

Lofotr Viking Museum Longhouse Norway

The reconstructed Viking longhouse at the Lofotr Viking Museum is the largest ever found. (Photo: Lofotr Viking Museum)

Here you will find the job ad translated into English. Notice that there is no requirement to speak Norwegian, but you have to speak two languages – including English or Norwegian.


Høvedsmann Viking Ship

Apply for an exciting and challenging summer job as Høvedsmann in the main season 15 June – 15 August 2015. The Høvedsmann is responsible for preparing and carrying out daily rowing trips with a Viking ship for our guests. It is an advantage if you have experience using a square sail or a boating license. You should master at least two languages. Specify in the application which periods you can work. Minimum application period is two months. You must master Norwegian or English. Only relevant applicants will be contacted.

Workplace: Vestvågøy, Lofoten

Type of employment: Vacation work, Shift work, Part time, Full time

Number of positions: 2

Application deadline: February 16, 2015

Vacancies from: June 15, 2015

Vacancies to: August 15, 2015

Application postal address: Prestegårdsveien 59, 8360 Bøstad, Norway

Mark the envelope “Season 2015”

Contact person: Ole-Martin Hammer, tel. +47 90 11 87 08


You will find the complete job ad here (in Norwegian).



Venison with mead, haunches of boar and the occasional bowl of RISOTTO: The surprisingly tasty treats enjoyed by the Vikings revealed

  • Jesper Lynge, 44, from Aalborg is attempting to revive Viking food
  • Says they used spices and lots of vegetables as well as roast meat
  • ‘Beserke’ warriors would eat anything – including magic mushrooms
  • Others had considerably more refined tastes and loved barley risotto 

Jesper Lynge, 44, is a chef on a mission. But it’s not the pursuit of the perfect foie gras or uncovering the world’s tastiest oysters that gets him going. Instead, his passion is for Viking food.

Based at the picturesque Lindholm Høje just outside Aalborg in northern Denmark, Lynge, a red-haired giant of a man, looks every inch the beserker – and has learned to cook like one too.

But don’t expect charred cuts, industrial quantities of schnapps and barrels of pickled herring. The Vikings, says Lynge, not only loved spices, they were partial to a bowl of risotto too.

Man on a mission: Chef Jesper Lynge is attempting to revive Viking cuisine from his Aalborg restaurant

Man on a mission: Chef Jesper Lynge is attempting to revive Viking cuisine from his Aalborg restaurant

‘The menu during the Viking period was decided by the season, as they needed to take use of the available ingredients,’ he explains.

‘Lots of the food that is fashionable today is similar to what they ate. They ate lots of root vegetables, cabbage and lots of different types of wheat and corn – definitely not just meat.’

Indeed, so adept were the Vikings at preparing vegetables, many of the techniques they pioneered are still in use today, notably the method of fermenting cabbage used to make sauerkraut.

They also, says Lynge, liked a sweet and sour supper, combining savoury game meat such as venison with sauces made from foraged berries.

Nevertheless, not every part of the Viking menu sounds quite so tasty. ‘There was one sort of warrior called berserkere [beserkers] who would eat anything,’ he concedes.

‘These types of warriors were very special. They would have eaten everything they could get their hands on, including psychedelic mushrooms.’

Tasty: Despite their ferocious reputation, Mr Lynge says Vikings loved vegetables - and barley risotto

Tasty: Despite their ferocious reputation, Mr Lynge says Vikings loved vegetables – and barley risotto

Feast: Roast boar and venison were feast day favourites and awaited warriors in Valhalla

Feast: Roast boar and venison were feast day favourites and awaited warriors in Valhalla

Luckily for visitors to Lynge’s Viking themed restaurant, there are no magic mushrooms on the menu, although there are plenty of unusual herbs, many of which he grows himself.

There’s also ‘festive’ wild boar and ‘barleyotto’ – an early version of the classic Italian dish made with barley grains.

Fish, mostly taken from the icy North Sea waters off the Aalborg coast, is also a highlight, although this being Denmark, much of it is herring.

‘We do not use any ingredients that weren’t available for the Vikings,’ insists Lynge. ‘Many of the techniques they used, we do too.’

Lynge, who himself bears more than a little resemblance to the beserkers of years gone by, is certainly in the right place.

Denmark is famous for its Viking past and Aalborg, with its network of fjords, sandy bays and concealed islets, is no exception.

Further north is Skagen – known to the terrified English as ‘The Scaw’ – which, despite its picture perfect modern face, was, during the Viking period, the ideal jumping off point for raids on the Norfolk coast.

Lindholm Høje, where Lynge’s Viking eatery is based, was itself a Dark Ages settlement and was once directly on the coast, although the passing centuries have left it landlocked.

A cluster of what initially look like stone circles, it is in fact a burial ground where clan chieftains and slaves alike were buried with varying degrees of pomp and circumstance.

They were also buried with jewels, tools and crucially – for Lynge at least – their cooking implements, all of which have helped him build up a picture of the Viking menu.

It was, with its vegetables and grains, a varied one and one that was enlivened considerably once the Vikings worked out a route to Constantinople (now Istanbul) where they proved enthusiastic customers at the city’s many spice markets.

‘They travelled to Constantinople regularly,’ explains Lynge. ‘It all began with Halfdan Skallesmækker, who travelled there and brought home a lot of fine spices.

Delicious: This sweetheart cabbage and berry salad (recipe below) is a Viking classic

Delicious: This sweetheart cabbage and berry salad (recipe below) is a Viking classic

Food fit for Thor: Venison with ham and mead (recipe below) was another warrior favourite

Food fit for Thor: Venison with ham and mead (recipe below) was another warrior favourite

Remnant: Mr Lynge's restaurant is based at Lindholm Høje, an important Viking site in north Jutland

Remnant: Mr Lynge’s restaurant is based at Lindholm Høje, an important Viking site in north Jutland


Fiery portents, a dragon seen streaking across the Northumbrian sky and whirlwinds lashing the coast could mean only one thing to the fearful Anglo-Saxons watching the heavens in 793 – doom was imminent.

And doom duly came in the shape of the Vikings, who between 793 and 1066 were a hazardous part of life for the Anglo-Saxons.

Beginning with the Lindisfarne attack, their power and influence grew and by 849, the year King Alfred the Great was born, they held much of the north and east.

Although King Alfred managed to halt their advance, raids didn’t cease until after the Norman Conquest.

And while the Vikings may be gone from British shores, their influence does live on in our culinary traditions as well as the English language.

Beserk, which means murderous rage, comes from the Anglo-Saxon ‘beserker’ or clad in bear-skin – an early term used to describe the Vikings.

Other words inherited from the Vikings include the days of the week, most famously Thursday – or Thor’s Day.

‘This was the Viking’s first encounter with exotic spices like cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, ginger and black pepper.’

The Danes first encounter also proved to be the British people’s first encounter, as Lynge enthusiastically points out.

‘In the Nordic countries and in England, the same spices are still used today. Among other things, English blood sausage contains many of these spices, and you will also find them in Scottish haggis and Christmas cakes.

‘In Denmark, there’s a popular Christmas biscuit called the pebbernød, which can be traced all the way back to the year 1200.

‘At Christmas, it is tradition to make pebernød and another biscuit called brunkager, both of which contain variations on these warm spices, which is also the case with many British Christmas cakes.’

Spices, risotto and sauerkraut aren’t the only culinary traditions passed down by the Vikings, however.

Porridge too was a Viking favourite as was the classic roast dinner, although the beserkers, unsurprisingly, preferred Danish pork to British beef.

‘The pig is one of the most festive animals that were present in the Viking time,’ says Lynge. ‘This is evident in the mythology, most notably in the story of Frej – the god of fertility.

‘His transport animal is not a horse; it is a wild boar. Today, the ultimate Nordic feast dish is still roast pork. Or the Christmas ham.’

Like their neighbours, the Vikings were also fond of game and, come feast days, would tuck into Valhalla style banquets based on venison, poultry and even songbirds.

‘They also had rabbit, hare, birds and ducks,’ says Lynge. ‘They weren’t too bothered about what sort of bird they were eating. A bird was a bird.’

All change: Picturesque Aalborg is now a lively modern city but was once a Viking settlement

All change: Picturesque Aalborg is now a lively modern city but was once a Viking settlement

Remote: North Jutland's network of pretty bays and winding fjords made it the perfect haunt for Vikings

Remote: North Jutland’s network of pretty bays and winding fjords made it the perfect haunt for Vikings

The Skaw: Now a pretty fishing port, Skagen was once a jumping off point for Viking raids on England

The Skaw: Now a pretty fishing port, Skagen was once a jumping off point for Viking raids on England

Ancestors: According to Mr Lynge, 80 per cent of English people boast Scandinavian genes

Ancestors: According to Mr Lynge, 80 per cent of English people boast Scandinavian genes

While Lynge is yet to cook any songbirds, he does think the Vikings deserve more credit for their culinary traditions, many of which still influence modern British, Danish and Swedish dishes.

‘There’s a common cultural heritage,’ he explains. ‘Much of northern European culture has its roots in the Viking Age.

‘The British might talk about the Vikings attacking and being violent and that might be true, but 80 per cent of English people have Viking genes. In that sense, we are one common people.’

Nevertheless, the Viking menu certainly helped fuel the raiders, even if stories of mass schnapps sessions prior to battle are nothing more than a myth.

‘What made the Vikings such great and feared warriors was their perception of heaven and the afterlife,’ says Lynge.

‘They were not afraid of dying and they were especially not afraid of dying in a battle. Just imagine fighting against a big man, who believes that if he dies while he is giving his best in a battle, then he will be sent on to an eternal party.’

And with spiced venison and perfectly cooked roast boar on the party menu, you hardly blame them for looking forward to it.


Roast boar might have been the Vikings’ party food of choice but venison was almost as popular, as Jesper’s delicious recipe proves. Here’s how cooking like a Viking is done:


One venison filet

Four slices of mature ham or good bacon

250g butter

Handful of fresh mushrooms

300ml cream

200ml mead

Check the fillet for tendons and remove. Cut the meat into four pieces and wrap each one in a slice of ham, fixing it in place with a tooth pick.

Clean the mushrooms and slice or chop them. Next, brown 50g butter in a frying pan, then add the meat and cook to medium. Remove from the pan and cover with a paper towel and leave to rest while you make the gravy.

Place 100g of butter in your pan and let it brown. Fry your mushroom until they take on some colour. Next, add the mead and let it reduce by a third before adding the cream. Reduce again by two thirds, before removing the pan from the heat and stirring in the rest of the butter.

Serve the meat in the pan and grin along with the Norse gods as you enjoy it.


1kg baby beetroots

100g butter

100g honey

Peel the beetroots and dry them. Melt the butter and honey in a frying pan, then add the beetroots, covering them completely in the mixture.

Bake the beetroots for approximately 45 minutes at 175 degrees. Check and turn the beetroots regularly.


400g sweetheart cabbage

Eight baby leeks or  one large one

One pear

A dash of apple cider vinegar

Small handful of blackberries and blueberries

3tbsp rapeseed oil

Sprinkling of chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the sweetheart cabbage into 5mm slices and place in a large serving bowl.

Cut the pear into thin slices, add the parsley and drizzle both with apple cider vinegar before throwing all of it over the cabbage with the blackberries and blueberries.

Fry the leek in rapeseed oil with a pinch of salt until the edges turn brown and add to the salad as a topping

All dishes serve four

For more information on Aalborg, Skagen and North Jutland, see 

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