The event was filmed live at the British Museum on 24 April 201
Vikings from the British Museum
This special British Museum cinema event offers an exclusive private view of the BP exhibition Vikings: life and legend – the first exhibition about the Vikings at the museum for 30 years. Introduced by former British Museum Director Neil MacGregor and presented by the celebrated broadcasting historians Michael Wood and Bettany Hughes, the exhibition is brought to life by curator Gareth Williams, alongside experts on Viking ships and swords, burial and beliefs, language and legacy. With demonstrations, stunning close-up photography of the Viking objects in the exhibition and a torch-lit burial staged in the grounds of the museum, Vikings from the British Museum is a reminder of how the Vikings have shaped modern lives across four continents including North America.
Supported by BP
Organised with the National Museum of Denmark and the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
The exhibition and cinema feature focus on the core period of the Viking Age, from the late 8th century to the early 11th century. The extraordinary Viking expansion from the Scandinavian homelands during this era created a cultural network with contacts from the Caspian Sea to the North Atlantic, and from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. Warfare and warrior identity are at the centre of what it meant to be a Viking and contact with other lands was often violent. Objects include recently excavated skeletons from a mass grave of executed Vikings in Dorset, armour and and weapons. But there is also fine jewellery, sculpture and metalwork which was traded as well as raided across the globe.
At the centre of the exhibition and Vikings cinema event is Roskilde 6, the longest Viking ship ever found. Kristiane Straetkvern, conservator at the National Museum of Denmark will talk about the exciting find, excavation and conservation of the ship timbers found in a Danish harbour, while renowned yachtsman Robin Knox-Johnston will re-live his transatlantic voyage testing Viking navigation. During the broadcast craftsmen from the National Maritime Museum constructed the prow of a great Viking ship to show what made these vessels so spectacular – built for speed, endurance and shaped for terrifying beauty. A replica ship was installed in front of the Museum and as the evening darkened, a Viking burial was staged, culminating in an elaborate theatrical boat burial lit by a ritual procession of flaming torches carried by Viking warriors.