Reading about the Vikings is exciting, but spending an afternoon sailing as one is a whole other experience!
This is exactly how students in the Nordic Mythology elective course spent a recent Wednesday field study: learning to sail a traditional Viking ship on the waters in Roskilde, a small town approximately an hour outside of Copenhagen. Roskilde is home to five excavated Viking ships that were sunk in the Fjord around 1070.
The goal of the trip was to understand the lifestyle of a Viking, so the group began the day by looking at authentic reproductions of old Viking ships at the harbor. Then, when it was time to board the ships and meet the captain and first mate, they learned how to row, rotate the sails, and steer. While sailing as a group was challenging, DIS Student Blogger Anisha Banerjee was enthusiastic. “I think it was a good bonding experience for the class. I definitely learned more about sailing, and it was nice to get a different kind of Danish experience.”
Anisha also really enjoyed getting into the mindset of a Viking. “I think seeing ships that were used for fishing, as opposed to warships, also helped us to perceive the Vikings in a more realistic way; they were not only warriors that fought, pillaged, and killed – they were also men who performed ordinary, more menial tasks to provide for their families.”
By playing out one aspect of the daily life of a Viking, everyone gained an experience to pair with future classroom discussions.