Friday, February 25, 2011


The U.K.-based newspaper, The Guardian, just published a great piece on authors writing historical ficton for young readers. In addition to books on Bronze Age and 15th Century Britain, there is this stellar comment on another classic Viking saga.....

"Another perennial childhood favourite is Henry Treece, whose Viking Saga trilogy, grim, sanguinary and poignant, follows Harald Sigurdson from his first voyage as a boy in a longship under the command of the magnificent Thorkell Fairhair to his last as a seasoned warrior, this time himself the master of the ship. From the sun-fevered romance of The Road to Miklagard – the Norse word for present-day Istanbul – to the freezing blades of Viking's Dawn and an early transatlantic voyage in Viking's Sunset, the books are characterised by violence, easy death and the close bonds forged between warriors who brave the whim of the wild sea and the hostility of the peoples they meet only to despoil. The terror and glamour of the Berserker fighters who tear off their clothing and run naked and blood-streaming into battle unites the books, which still boast a mythic grandeur in keeping with their subject matter."

To read the entire Guardian article, CLIKC HERE:

Kevin Crossley-Holland
Kevin Crossley-Holland 'rewrites Arthurian legend commandingly' in his historical fiction for children. Photograph: Eamonn Mccabe/Guardia

Special tip o' the war helmet to the blog author Imogen Russell Williams and to The Guardian for permission to reprint this piece.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vikings Revered Stone Age Objects. . . . .

From the "Viking Archaeology Blog:"

     New archaeological findings suggest that the Vikings considered Stone Age objects to have magical qualities, and that such “antiques” were more important in Viking culture than previously understood.
      The Vikings buried this ship, the "Oseberg," in a grave south of Oslo. New discoveries indicate they also buried other items, with a purpose. 
     Examinations of around 10 Viking graves found in Rogaland, southwest Norway, revealed Stone Age items, such as weapons, amulets and tools. Olle Hemdorff of the Archaelogical Museum in Stavanger told newspaper Aftenposten that he believes the items were buried so that “they would protect and bring luck to the dead in the after-life.”


Thanks to the Viking Archaeology Blog for permission to reprint this article.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


University of Leicester geneticists are involved in a truly epic research project
A new Norse saga! DNA detectives in the Viking North West
‘Viking DNA: The Wirral and West Lancashire Project’, published by Nottingham University Press.
Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 24 January 2011
The Vikings are alive and well and living in the North West of England!  That’s the revelation in a new book on an epic research project into the genetic footprint of the Scandinavian invaders.
‘Viking DNA: The Wirral and West Lancashire Project’ is the culmination of several years of research by biochemists and geneticists, by Wirral-raised Professor Steve Harding from The University of Nottingham and Professor Mark Jobling and Dr Turi King from the University of Leicester. It shows the power of modern DNA methods to probe ancestry using the North West of England as an example.

To read the entire article from the University of Leicester website, click on:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Did the Vikings navigate with sunstone?

According to The Cosmic Log on, a new study suggests that the Vikings could have navigated the oceans in inclement weather with the aid of a crystal that pinpointed the sun's location behind banks of clouds and fog.
Such a tool, known as a sunstone, is known from legend, but until now experimental evidence that it could actually work as hypothesized was lacking.
     The Vikings were Scandinavian seafarers who traveled widely in the North Atlantic, roughly between the year 900 and 1200. Under clear and partly cloudy skies, archaeological evidence indicates that they used sundials to find their way around. But a sundial is only useful when the sun is shining, raising the question of how the Vikings navigated in cloudy and foggy conditions, which can last for days along their known sailing routes.
     In the 1960s, Danish archaeologist Thorkild Ramskou suggested that the Vikings used a sunstone to filter the sunlight so that it all had the same polarization, or direction. By rotating the crystal to and fro, the light would appear brighter or darker, depending on how the crystal was oriented. The brightest point would be toward the direction of the sun.

Visit the RuneWarriors Blog again for all things Viking!