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Biggest Viking Exhibition to be Hosted in Berlin

September 26th, 2014
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News from Berlin - Vikings are usually seen as fearsome warriors and conquerors that dominated the North and Baltic Seas between the ninth and eleventh centuries. The last major international exhibition on Viking culture was twenty years ago. A research team from the Copenhagen National Museum, the British Museum and the Berlin State Museums have assembled an exhibition featuring the latest archaeological finds, including a Viking warship that is 37 metres long, the longest extant example. Along with eight other Viking ships found in 1997 in the port of Roskilde in Denmark, it is now being shown to the public for the first time here in Berlin at the Martin-Gropius-Bau.

From the Baltic Sea, the Vikings ventured as far west as North America and as far east as the Black Sea, in a period of expansion in which they were not only feared as raiders and pillagers, but also greeted as traders and settlers. Through their travels, they came into contact with numerous, vastly differing societies and cultures. As its central theme, the exhibition explores the reciprocal influence and the diverse cultural contacts which the Vikings fostered. Drawing on the latest archaeological and historical research, the exhibition will include recent, major excavation finds, now presented to the wider public for the first time.

The centrepiece of the display is a vessel from Roskilde, which stands as an impressive symbol of the Viking Age; measuring 37 metres in length, it is the longest warship from this era to be found. The exhibition is divided into four thematic strands which branch off from the warship and lead the visitor through the presentation, with each theme illustrated by an array of spectacular exhibits. The strands are titled: 'War and Conquest', 'Power and Dominion', 'Faith and Ritual', and 'Contacts and Exchange'. The exhibition features splendid warrior graves and weapons finds, grave goods for affluent women, archaeologically important settlement finds, as well as evidence of cultic and religious practices of enormous historical value.

The Vikings will be viewed in a global context that will highlight the multi-faceted influences arising from extensive cultural contact.

News from Berlin - Berlin Global