Thursday, January 28, 2010


An arrowhead and unfinished axhead found at 11th-century metalworking sites
presumed to have been used by Vikings in York, U.K.

It’s true! As reported recently by James Owen in the National Geographic News, new excavations in the U.K. suggest that the famed Norse warriors – especially those who settled parts of England -- recycled on and off the battlefield.

“An 11th-century metalworking site recently discovered in the city of York is likely evidence of a makeshift recycling center,” writes Owen, “where Vikings took weapons for reprocessing after battle, according to historian Charles Jones, organizer of the Fulford Battlefield Society.” Owen goes on to write that Jones and his team “have found hundreds of pieces of ironwork—including axes, sword parts, and arrowheads—along with lumps of melted-down iron and the remains of smelting pits. ‘We found several 'smithing hearth bottoms'—the remains of the molten metal which dribbles down during the reprocessing of the weaponry ironwork,’ Jones told the York Press.

"The iron finds support the idea that metal was gathered and recycled in the area just behind where the fighting took place," Jones said. The artifacts are currently undergoing x-ray analysis at the University of York. The university's Søren Sindbæk said the tests should reveal whether the corroded items were forged using Norse ironwork, which involved using distinctive alloys of soft iron and hard steel.

"The Vikings were very skillful metalworkers," Sindbæk, an archaeologist, told National Geographic News. "Their weaponry is famous for the way iron is treated. Any metal was a precious material that would be recycled," he added. Recent excavations in York, which was captured and settled by the Scandinavian seafarers in 866, for instance, show that Vikings recycled boats for building material for houses and even sidewalks, Sindbæk said.

--This post courtesy of National Geographic News

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We Came. We Signed. We Conquered.

The book launch signing party for "RuneWarriors: Sword of Doom", book 2 in the RuneWarriors series, was a great success. Held on Friday, January 22nd, 2010, at the venerable Village Books (or should that be "Pillage Books"?) in beautiful downtown Pacific Palisades, California, the authors were seen signing books and speaking extemporaneously on Viking culture and Norse mythology. Fine wines and cheeses were provided by Allison Robbins Wines and videography by Jake Jennewein, Jim's thirteen-year-old son.

Thanks to Katie, owner of Village Books, and her entire staff for all the tireless support that they've shown to us and our books. In a very challenging economy, Village Books continues to be one of the finest independent bookstores in Southern California, and we salute all that they do to keep the love of reading alive and well.

Thanks also to everyone at HarperCollins, especially our brilliant editors Donna Bray and Ruta Rimas. A special shout-out to the fabulously talented artist Greg Call whose amazing artwork adorns both book 1 and book 2.

The event was also held to promote the release of book 1 in paperback, "RuneWarriors: Shield of Odin."

RuneWarriors fan Chad Horwitz
awaits his moment with the authors

Co-author Tom S. Parker with his lovely daughter Laura

Tom signs as Jim mouths off

Jim tries to remember how to spell "Viking"

iPhone fotos courtesy of Michael Clebanoff