One year ago, the project managers of Trondheim Vikinglag and Hands on History decided to make an event where reenactors and living history enthusiasts could gather to get back to the basics of what and why we are engaged in historical reenactment. We had several years of experience in producing Viking markets and other commercial events. This time we wanted to create something new.
- We wanted to make an event where the alibi for the gathering was Vikings living and surviving of nature in a temporary settlement in the forest.
- We wanted the focus to be on every day crafts and survival, not on buying and selling like in a market or Kaupang.
- We wanted to re-organize the way reenactors think about camp life – contributing, learning and participating.
- We wanted to look in to the many methods and aspects of successful dissemination and reenactor-audience relationships.
The following summary will give the reader a small insight in to our seven day event The Viking way. For more information regarding the concept, budget or practical solutions please contact us.
The camp – events grounds, set up and sleeping shelters
We searched high and low for the perfect event grounds. We had two criteria’s that had to be fulfilled: fresh natural drinking water and the opportunity to dig holes and make fire places as we pleased. After looking at 38 different locations we found our dream spot in Mostadmark. A stream with fresh wather ran through the camp site. This stream was “the origin of all life” and the main reason all camp activities worked like a dream.
Skeggi contemplating his life by the stream Foto: Daniel SecarescuTwo happy horses Foto: Daniel Secarescu
We encouraged all participants to build sleeping shelters instead of bringing tents. We were, after all, reenacting Vikings living in a temporary settlement. This is also why, upon arrival, most Vikings were asked to find a spot that suited their needs. The Trondheim crew is used to making a strict tent plan and sticking to it! This time, all participants choose a spot that fitted their needs in terms of water, wind and sun conditions. Our message “keep it light enough to travel” really got through to most of the participants who literally did not bring more than they could carry on foot in to the camp site. German Vikings Skeggi and Florian from the group Arcäopedi spent a lot of time preparing this, and made two back-pack constructions that could carry all of their precious belongings.
The Slovenian crew´s sleeping shelter Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Hands on History´s head of authenticity Rickard invested a lot of time as curator of the participants – discussing individually with each and every one about their Viking gear, shelter ideas and clothes. Together with the rest of the project managers he also curated all other elements in the camp so they would fit to our idea and concept. It´s all in the details.
Russian crafters from Ratabor Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Two Vikings grinding malt for beer brewing Foto: Daniel Secarescu
No program, just skilled masters and curious learners
All participants were encouraged to come up with an idea for a craft project or experiment. By the beginning of the week we had several interesting project on our “to do” list, and many curious learners. The activities were not organized as courses but as workshops, where all participants were welcome to participate for as long or short as they would like. Where ever help was needed, help was given. This was a big success! Geologist and Viking Chris Halewood offered a hike in nature investigating the local habitat. Ten Vikings tagged along for this hike and experienced things they will never forget…
Viking from Marobud turning wood Foto: Daniel Secarescu
We also had workshops in skin tanning, blacksmithing, pottery, making glass beads, wood turning, arrow production, beer brewing, smoking fish and meat, fire-starting, rope making and a lot more. We had a mix of experienced and new Vikings, all eager to learn from each other. The Slovenian group Archeofact really amazed us with their pottery workshops. With their background in experimental archeology, this group started doing living history only six months ago. In the event they won the price titled «from zero to hero» as we were blown away by their skill and kind spirit.
Making stone lamps Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Tanning skin Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Reparing the rope turning device Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Too much food. And the food was too good.
As many of you know, the Trondheim crew likes to feed the hard working Vikings who contribute in the camp. This year however, due to the concept, we scaled down the selection of food at breakfast. From full continental to only bread, meat, cheese and jam. We also had fresh fish, meat, veggies and grain brought to the camp on a daily basis. This was handed out to the participants, so they could cook meals.
The kitchen Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Some of the food that was cooked and served Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Talking to the Russian crew, their only complaint was that there was too much food and that the food being served and provided was too good. We love this kind of feed back! The Russian crew had prepared dried meat, dried fish and dried apples for their trip – and they were not expecting to be fed. Also, they make a valid point about the participants not fully appreciating the food that they got. So maybe a good way to avoid binging, hoarding and food waste is to scale this down even more?
Fresh fish and meat was brought to the camp Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Brewing beer Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Kari Marie Heland og Daniel Serra
The kitchen was in the middle of the camp. This made the kitchen a natural meeting place and the heart of the event. Kari and Daniel did many interesting food experiments all week. They experimented with a cooking skin, made a huge cooking pit and reconstructed the stone oven found in Viklem, Ørlandet.
Meals in the kitchen Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Some journalists found their experiments with the stone oven very interesting. Daniel claims that the oven was not used for baking – but for malting grain for beer and smoking meat and fish! When reconstructing it, measuring the heat and looking at the construction of the house surrounding the oven, we conclude that Daniel is right! Hats off for culinary archaeologists!
Kari preparing the cooking pit Foto: Daniel Secarescu
One of the many food experements Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Kari and Daniel also cooked for the Viking feast on Saturday. On the menu: two fat pigs cooked in the biggest cooking pit we have ever seen! The pigs were stuffed with grains, onions, cabbage, apples and many other delicious treats! In addition they made a soup with horse meat and two kinds of porridge.
Taking the pigs out of the cooking pit Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Rinsing the pig of dirt Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Feast Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Midsummer celebrated by people from 13 different countries
The midnight sun is one of the trade marks of the north. And, so far all the Trondheim events have been arranged around the day when the sun turns and we head for darker days. The Lithuanian, Czechs, Slovenian and Russian crew collaborated to make a spectacular and beautify midsummer fest. Thank you.
The girls headed for the boys Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Skål! Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Lighting the big fire with the fire from the sun Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Audience – Viking – interaction
When the project managers sat down to discuss what “successful dissemination” is, we all agreed upon three terms. One of the terms of success is time – taking the time to disseminate and offering the audience the time they need to absorb the knowledge. The second term we agreed upon was quality. The quality in a process or item that a good crafter carries in his or her body. The third term we agreed upon was atmosphere, or rather esthetics. To create a nice, pleasing and calming atmosphere. We kept the opening hours few and short, only four hours on Saterday and Sunday. Our experience is that the short opening hours contributed in boosting the energy level in the event and the hard working particepants gave all they had to give for four intense hours. We got more visitors that we expected and we truly belive that the once who visited us were happy and pleased.
We promised the public dirty hands Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Hunting with a bear spear Foto: Daniel SecarescuThe pottery is prepared for burning Foto: Daniel Secarescu
We want to thank all the organizers and the participants that made this event possible. Thank you for believing in us and contributing in making The Viking way happen. We would also like to thank our partners and especially Mostadmark Jernverks venner who represent the local Iron Museum.
Iron production Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Shelter Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Digging the cooking pit Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Camp life Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Serving the beer Foto: Daniel Secarescu
Sleeping shelter Foto: Daniel Secarescu