The glorious Viking Ship Museum (part four) – The animal heads

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Five carved animal heads were found in the Oseberg grave. Four of them are displayed at the Viking Ship Museum for the public to behold. The fifth is in very poor condition, and the remains are therefore kept in the Museum’s depository. Because none of the animal heads are alike, researchers believe that the animal heads have been made by different woodcarvers. The heads are carved out of maple wood, and two of them are adorned with silver rivets. The making of the animal heads must have been quite the challenge. The woodcarver(s) had to find a naturally curved piece of wood from the lower part of a suitable tree trunk.

We do not know for certain what the animal heads have been used for. As with many of the mysteries of the Viking Age, one can only wonder. Four of the animal heads were found in the burial chamber, and one on the forward deck. They were all found with a rattle and a piece of rope. One of the ropes passed through the mouth of one of the animal heads, like reins. There was a shaft about half a meter long at the base of the neck of each of the heads. It is possible that the heads were carried using the shafts. They might also have been mounted on walls, or perhaps even on a throne (or anything, really). But most interessting of all is the theory that they had some sort of magical or religious significance. They might have played a significant part in offerings, and maybe the burial ritual of the Oseberg Queen herself.

Sources: Museum of Cultural History, UiO
Photos: Sól Geirsdóttir

The glorious Viking Ship Museum (part three) The cart and sleighs

 oseberg77oseberg-pt3-9oseberg42oseberg-pt3-1 oseberg-pt3-2 oseberg-pt3-11oseberg-pt3-6oseberg-pt3-12oseberg-pt3-7  oseberg-pt3-10In The Oseberg Queen’s grave, there were more than 12 horses, 3 ceremonial sledges and a cart. The placement of the sledge shafts indicate that there could have been a horse on either side. The cart (1st pic of this post) was probably only used for special occasions. The back of the cart is decorated with carvings of cats – often associated with our fertility goddess Frøya. The front end shows a man being attacked by serpents, possibly portraying the tale of Gunnar in the snake pit. The sleighs are made of different types of wood and were richly carved. The placement of the sledge shafts indicate that they were pulled by two horses. We believe that the sleighs were made for pageantry and therefore, appearances were important. These carvings were enhanced by black and red paint, and tinplated nails were also part of the decoration. Unfortunately, the colours were difficult to preserve and cannot be seen today.

The best viking bling is ancient museum bling! 😉 I am always in awe when beholding the gorgeous Oseberg finds. Yass!

Sources: Uio, Museum of Cultural History & The Viking Ship Museum
Photosss: Sól Geirsdóttir

The glorious Viking Ship Museum (part two)

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Tools for textile production

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Two yarn winders for beechwood. The balls are balls of yarn;)

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Tent Frames. These objects were too fragile to be mounted in the correct position

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Tent plugs

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Authentic viking shoes. Behoooold! 

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Mystical rune inscription that possibly reads “unwise person”

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Chests, Boxes and Various Wooden Containers:

“The Oseberg grave was rich in chests, boxes and casks. The beautiful metal-bound buckets of yew-wood with gilded bronze fittings, were probably produced in England or Ireland. The Oseberg grave contained neither jewelry nor precious metals. Some of these items may have been deposited in this damaged chest and removed by the grave robbers who broke into the chamber.”

Text: The Viking Ship Museum, UiO
Photos: Sól Geirsdóttir

The Oseberg Ship

Behold part one of more posts to come about the Viking Ship Museum at Bygdøy, Norway! (Yes, I have been here several times – for previous posts click here and/or here (:
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”The oseberg ship was found in a large burial mound on the Oseberg farm, in Vestfold, and excavated  in 1904. The ship was built sometime between 815-820 AD, but was later used as a grave ship for a woman of high rank who died in 834 AD. The woman had been placed in a wooden burial chamber on the aft deck of the ship. The burial mound was constructed of layers of turf which preserved both the ship, and its rich contents of wooden objects, leather and textiles. The burial mound was plundered by grave robbers in ancient times – probably the reason why no jewellery or gold or silver objects were found in the grave. The 22 meter longs hip was built of oak. The number of oar holes indicates that the ship was rowed by a crew of 30 men. The ship had no seats, and the oarsmen probably sa ton their own wooden ship’s chests. The oars could be drawn in when the square sail was raised. The steering rudder was placed on the right aft side of the ship- the starboard side. The Oseberg ship is less solidly constructed than the Gokstad ship – only the upper two rows of side planking extend above the water line. It was probably a royal pleasure craft used for short journeys in calm waters.”

Text: The Viking Ship Museum
Photos: Sól Geirsdóttir

Outfit – Ancient Elegancy (Visiting the Oseberg ship)

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Norway is cold. Fur and wool keeps me warm. 

A few weekends ago, I went to see the Oseberg ship and this was my outfit (Been there.. wayyy too many times. Maybe I should apply for a part time job there?) I brought my camera with me so prepare for a glorious photo storm. She is a beauty, that ship. Excited to share her with you once more in the coming days. I have noticed that many of my readers want more outfit posts. Why is beyond me- My outfit posts must be the most boring posts ever! You see, It’s not like I shop at specific places -and I’ve been digging through second hand stores since my early teens. Many of my clothes – (like this fur coat) are inherited. This coat used to belong to my grandma, who passed long ago. What I’m saying is that ; my everyday clothes aren’t fancy according to society’s standards – I don’t wear gucci, prada, mulberry etc etc… I wear old shit that someone probably died in. Therefore, it will sometimes be hard for me to name brands or stores. Buuuut if you’re okay with that(?) , I’m more than happy to post outfits anyway. Who knows, maybe I’ll even wear something nameable one day! That being said, I love clothes – and I adore alternative fashion. I guess you could think that I aim to look as if I could stroll straight into Game of Thrones. This, however, would be a subconscious choice and I can’t help looking like a evil villain living in an irish castle all by herself and her 1000 cats. That’s just my style.

– Sól Geirsdóttir, The Viking Queen.

Skulls (part one)

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One of my hobbies is cleaning and collecting skulls. This is a hobby that I’ve enjoyed for many, many years. My collection has grown over time, and now there are loads of different skulls everywhere (You’ll get to see when I do a “viking crib tour” of my home. My home is full of viking themed decorations, and the skulls is a part of the “forest” look. I shall give you guys a video tour when I move into the new apartment – which is pretty soon now. Cannot wait for that to happen! :D) Anyways, I went through this weird period in my life where I would find deceased animals in the forest whenever I went out. This happened so frequently that I started bringing plastic bags, knives  and gloves with me every time I stepped outside my door. When stumbling upon the dead animals I collected the parts that could come to use. Better to give them eternal life on my bookshelves that than to let them rot in the forest. When I started collecting skulls I spent hours on internet forums to learn more about how to do this. There are loads of ways to clean bones, but I quickly found out that involving nature was the best idea. I learned that one could leave the cleaning job to the ants by tying a rope around skulls and bones and place them inside anthills. The process of cleaning bones and skulls can be… quite smelly and time consuming. My favorite method is to clean bones by using water – only water and a bucket, and let the skulls soak in water until they are clean. This can take weeks and the water needs to be changed frequently. I must add that I have never, nor will I ever kill an animal for the purpose of skull collecting (!)-  just in case someone thought I was a crazy crow-serial killer. None of that, none of that.

Any like minded souls with “weird” hobbies out there?

Sól Geirsdóttir, The Viking Queen

Seiðr

The forest called to me, and I answered. December. Leaves, smoke, soil and candlelight. I felt grounded, I felt at one with the elements. And I took the time to breathe- Breathe with intention. 

Seiðr is ancient norse shamanism, connected to The Old Norse religion. Seiðr is a spiritual practice, a craft that involves ritualistic energy workings. True mastering of the craft is only acquired through experience and wisdom. Books can only take you so far. You have to get your hands dirty- and only you can do this; This kind of work comes from within.

Old Age, not New Age seidrseidr3seidr2seidr4seidr5img_0353Ritual makeup.
(I posted this on instagram in december and it became the most popular pic of “2016”.  I remember thinking that people would think I looked ugly when I posted it -but none of that matters to me anyways – so I thought why not. I have seen some recreations of this “look” already which feels …weird, but fun!)

I will be doing more looks like this one this year. Honestly – I can’t help it… I HAVE to.

– Sól Geirsdóttir, The Viking Queen