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High Tech, Viking Style

October 22, 2013
Canadian experts on Norse America will lecture, build a kiln and glass furnaces, and make iron and glass beads while visiting the Washington College campus. The public talk is Tuesday, Oct. 22.

                                                                                                             CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College is preparing for a Viking invasion. On October 22, Early Medieval experts Darnell Markewitz and Neil Peterson will arrive on campus for several days of workshops and instruction about Viking history and technology. Invited by the College’s own expert in early technology, anthropology professor Bill Schindler, the two visitors will deliver a free, public talk titled “Norse America — What Really Happened” at 7:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall Commons. 

For the remainder of the week, Markewitz and Peterson will focus on the on-campus construction and operation of a Viking-age bloomery kiln and several smaller Viking-age glass bead furnaces. Over the course of two days, Washington College students will recreate these technologies entirely from scratch, using the same materials and techniques the Vikings would have used.

After the kiln and furnaces have been completed, students will have the opportunity to actually smelt iron and replicate Viking glass beads. The kiln construction will take place in the Student Environmental Alliance Garden, located between the Western Shore dorms and Rita’s Italian Ice. 

Darrell Markewitz is an artisan blacksmith from Ontario whose work blends traditional forging techniques with original designs. Markewitz is a specialist in the Viking Age and has served as a consultant for major exhibitions at museums such as the Smithsonian, the Newfoundland Museum, and the Cranbrook Institute of Science. 

Neil Peterson is a certified software-development project manager who helps create displays and teaching tools about the Viking era. Peterson, too, has worked on a number of Viking exhibitions, delivering public lectures such as “Pastimes of the Norse” at the Woodstock Museum.

Markewitz and Peterson’s visit is made possible by the Robert Julian Emory Memorial Lecture Fund, the C.V. Starr Center, and the Center for Environment and Society.  

Kimberly Uslin ’14


Last modified on Oct. 22nd, 2013 at 9:38pm by .