2018-11-28T09:24:00 Asgard Asgard https://www.asgard.scot help@asgard.scot 25 1 25 32 2018-11-28T09:24:00 2018-11-28T09:24:00 Foraged B&T <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/107Magiklogosmall.jpg" alt="" width="482" height="520" /></p> <p>The artisanal Islay dry gin that is the Botanist is a must try for all you Gin lovers. Distilled by Bruichladdich distillery this complex spirit is slowly distilled with 22 hand foraged botanicals from around the Island. In keeping with the Island spirit, they recommend serving up a foraged Botanist &amp; Tonic or B&amp;T.&nbsp;</p> <p>One cocktail recipe they recommend is the Nettled Tom Collins. Think of it as a purpose for those pesky stinging nettles at the bottom of the garden.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/stinging-collins-470x705.jpg" alt="" width="387" height="581" /></p> <p>(Picture: The Botanist)</p> <p>Ingredients</p> <ul> <li>45ml Botanist Gin</li> <li>20ml Nettle Cordial</li> <li>15ml Lemon juice</li> <li>Ice</li> <li>Soda</li> </ul> <p>Method</p> <p>Begin by mixing all the ingredients bar the soda in a glass. Then pour and strain the mixture into an ice filled small cocktail tumbler. Simply top with soda and garnish with mint to finish then enjoy!</p> <p>Nettle Cordial Recipe</p> <p>To create the Nettle Cordial required for this cocktail you will first need to collect a jar of young stinging nettle heads. Be careful to wear thick gardening gloves when doing so to avoid stings and whatever you do, DO NOT garnish your drink with the stinging nettle. Then Dissolve 200 grams of sugar in 200ml of hot water. It is helpful to first cut up the leaves with kitchen scissors to speed up the process (gloves on of course). Add the juice of a lemon, close the Jar and leave to cool either overnight or for 2-3 hours. The makers at the Botanist suggest the cordial may even change to a lovely purple colour, depending on the nettles you use.&nbsp;</p> <p>Happy Foraging Folks!</p> <p>This recipe was created by the botanist and can be viewed here : <a href="https://www.bruichladdich.com/gin-cocktails/nettled-tom-collins/">https://www.bruichladdich.com/gin-cocktails/nettled-tom-collins/</a></p> AnnaLouise https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/annalouise help@asgsard.scot 31 2018-11-16T16:28:00 2018-11-16T16:28:00 Bruichladdich Whisky & Gin Tasting Notes <p>We're giving away a bottle of <em>The Classic Laddie</em> Single Malt, and a bottle of <em>Botanist</em> Gin from Bruichladdich, and one of our Ogham pendants. You can find details on how to enter here: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/asgardscotland/">Asgard Facebook</a> The closing date is 28th November 2018.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/07botanist bruichladdich logosmall.jpg" alt="Bruichladdich Whisky &amp; Gin, &amp; Asgard Oghams" width="800" height="800" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">If either of these fine drinks are new to you then take a look at their tasting notes from Bruichladdich.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Classic Laddie</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/104Magiklogosmall.jpg" alt="Bruichladdich Classic Laddie Single Malt Whisky" width="492" height="492" /></strong></p> <section class="av_textblock_section "> <div class="avia_textblock product-lockup av_inherit_color " style="color: #858586;"> <p><span style="color: #00cbbc;">CHARACTER</span> &ndash; Smooth as pebbles in a pool. It&rsquo;s clean, fresh and lively with both the oak and the grain in perfect harmony.</p> <p><span style="color: #00cbbc;">COLOUR</span> &ndash; Sunlight on fields of early summer barley.</p> <p><span style="color: #00cbbc;">NOSE</span> &ndash; The bouquet is brilliant. Opening with barley sugar and a hint of mint before leading into the most wonderful notes of freshly cut wild flowers; buttercup, daisy, meadowsweet, myrtle, primrose and cherry blossom. The cleanliness of the spirit is remarkable. As the seconds tick by, more aromas rise from the glass, little zephyrs of spindrift and sea pinks reminding you that this spirit is matured exclusively by the sea. After some four or five minutes and with the addition of a little water, caramelised fruits drift onto the scene; lemon drops and honey, tangerine and tablet.</p> <p><span style="color: #00cbbc;">PALATE</span> &ndash; The palate entry is so refined and refreshing, the sweet oak and the barley arriving together sending the taste buds into raptures. The fruits from distillation drift in on an atlantic breeze and pop on the tongue like champagne bubbles. A combination of ripe green fruit, brown sugar and sweet malt bring closure. A taste back in time, a realisation that not all single malts are equal and to achieve the absolute optimum, you must use barley that is made in Scotland. Make this one the benchmark for all&nbsp; others you meet on your journey through the stills of Scotland.</p> <p><span style="color: #00cbbc;">FINISH</span> &ndash; Unforgettable! Its best enjoyed in good company, you just don&rsquo;t want the evening to end. It brings warmth to the heart and soul. The clock slows down and the cares of tomorrow disappear into the dawn.</p> <p><span style="color: #00cbbc;">MOOD</span> &ndash; Conviviality! Relaxed, enjoying the spirit in the glass and the laughter from tales often told but never tired of hearing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Botanist</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/107Magiklogosmall.jpg" alt="Bruichladdich Botanist Islay Gin" width="486" height="486" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color: #d70d17;">BODY</span> <span style="color: #2e2a25;">&ndash; The spirit is satin smooth gliding over the palate like no gin you have ever tried before. A totally seductive experience.</span></p> <section class="av_textblock_section av-medium-hide av-small-hide av-mini-hide"> <div class="avia_textblock product-lockup av_inherit_color " style="color: #ffffff;"> <p><span style="color: #d70d17;">NOSE</span> <span style="color: #2e2a25;">&ndash; The aromas explode like an olfactory Aurora Borealis, filling the senses with meteorites of smell sensations as they explode from the glass. Sweet delicate menthol, apple mint, spring woodlands, juniper, coriander with aniseed undertones, lemon and orange peel, a bouquet of summer flowers on the Machir, honey from thistle, coconut from gorse, wild mint and summer meadows. It&rsquo;s a magical melody of Islay&rsquo;s natural bounty from the Atlantic washed beaches to the summit of heather covered hills. Inhale and you&rsquo;re there on the queen of the Hebrides!</span></p> <p><span style="color: #d70d17;">PALATE</span> <span style="color: #2e2a25;">&ndash; The taste is rich and mellow; cool on entry then as it reaches the back palate you can feel the warmth and absolute purity of slow unhurried distillation. This is a bewitching, delectable and luxurious gin; its citrus freshness excites and stimulates the taste buds allowing you to experience a star-burst of flavours as they explode across the palate.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #d70d17;">FINISH</span> <span style="color: #2e2a25;">&ndash; All this from a beaten up old pot still, operated by beaten up distillers on the coast of heaven.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #d70d17;">MOOD</span> <span style="color: #2e2a25;">&ndash; Carefree. The electric buzz of illicit anticipation.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #2e2a25;">If you'd like to find out more about Bruichalddich, you can see their full range of fabulous products here: <a title="Bruichladdich Whisky and Gin" href="https://www.bruichladdich.com/">Bruichladdich</a></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </section> </div> </section> Cat https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/cat help@asgsard.scot 30 2018-11-02T13:54:00 2018-11-02T13:54:00 Loki: the Icelandic God of Mischief <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Loki: the Icelandic God of Mischief</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>By Dr. Helena Bassil-Morozow - Glasgow Caledonian University<br /></strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Loki is a trickster &ndash; i.e., a figure representing chaos and regularly challenging the existing order of things. Mythological and folkloric narratives portray the trickster as a figure challenging the civilizing forces of society and attempting to destabilize or renew the system. The trickster&rsquo;s task is to shake up the system, to ensure that it does not go stale or complacent. Gods of the Norse mythology pantheon are afraid that Loki will cause Ragnarok &ndash; the end of the world, &lsquo;the twilight of the gods&rsquo;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/AT 007 main.jpg" alt="Norse God Loki" width="900" height="900" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The original trickster Loki appears in the Elder Edda (a book of anonymous poems without a definitive publication date) and its younger sibling, the so-called Prose Edda (published around the year 1220, and compiled (or possibly written) by the historian, politician and author Snorri Sturluson.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Most trickster narratives (mythological, literary or cinematic) share a number of stock themes and motifs that serve as the backbone for the plot. Usually, a trickster narrative starts with the cunning creature being or feeling restricted (often physically), goes on to describe the trickster&rsquo;s escape and its adventures, and ends with the dissolution/transformation of the trickster. The most common structural elements of trickster narratives are being trapped, boundary-breaking, licentious behaviour, scatological humour, bodily transformations, the presence of animals (which I prefer to call &lsquo;the animal connection&rsquo;), multiple names and identities, loss of control over one&rsquo;s body and mind, and the trickster&rsquo;s dissolution/death/transformation at the end of the story.</p> <p>Stories about Loki contain all these elements. For instance, in one of the stories in the Prose Edda, Loki the trickster is famously captured by the Aesir, tied to a stone and locked in a cave to prevent him from unleashing Ragnarok &ndash; a chain of apocalyptic events which would end the gods&rsquo; rule. Prior to his capture, Loki kills Odin&rsquo;s &lsquo;perfect&rsquo; son Baldr and gatecrashes the gods&rsquo; feast with the intention to insult the guests and to remind them of his powers to trigger chaos. Odin and Co. have no intention of risking their future, and the future of the world, and &lsquo;repay him in a way that he will long feel&rsquo; (Byok, 2005: 70)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Predictably, Loki tries every trick in the book to avoid capture. When the Aesir are looking for him, he builds a house on a mountain in order to be able to see any approaching danger quicker, and transforms into a salmon to hide in waterfalls and rivers. Neither of these tricks help as the gods manage to collectively catch him by using the net that he himself had invented:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Loki was captured and with no thought of mercy he was taken to a cave. They (the Aesir) took three flat stones and, setting them on their edges, broke a hole through each of them. Then they caught Loki&rsquo;s sons, Vari and Nali or Narfi. The Easir changed Vali into a wolf, and he ripped apart his brother Narfi. Next the Aesir took his guts, and with them they bound Loki on the top of the three stones &ndash; one under his shoulders, a second under his loins and the third under his knees. The fetters became iron.</p> <p>The Skadi took a poisonous snake and fastened it above Loki so that its poison drips on to his face. But Sigyn, his wife, placed herself beside him, from where she holds a bowl to catch the drops of venom. When the bowl becomes full, she leaves to pour out the poison, and at that moment the poison drips on to Loki&rsquo;s face. He convulses so violently that the whole earth shakes &ndash; it is what is known as an earthquake. He will lie bound there until Ragnarok.</p> <p>(Byok, 2005: 70-72)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Having a stable, definable identity is a prerequisite for belonging to a social structure. By contrast, trickster are good at transforming into other people, animals and inanimate objects as well as at changing sex. The shapeshifter Loki transforms into an old woman in order to catch the goddess Frigg off guard, and find out from her what object might hurt the otherwise invincible Balder (it is mistletoe) (Byok, 2005: 66). On other occasions, Loki transforms into a fish, a falcon and many other things. He also has shoes that allow him to race through the air, which he uses to escape dwarves. His modern version also enjoys changing shape, which he uses to mislead his opponents and escape from the numerous prisons to which he is regularly confined by the gods.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>References and Further Reading: </strong></p> <p>Bassil-Morozow, H. (2014) <em>The Trickster and the System: Identity and Agency in Contemporary Society, </em>London: Routledge.</p> <p>Bassil-Morozow, H. (2012) <em>The Trickster in Contemporary</em> <em>Film, </em>London: Routledge.</p> <p>Byok, Jesse L (translated and edited by) (2005) The Prose Edda, London: Penguin.</p> <p>Orchard, Andy (translated and edited by) (2011) The Elder Edda: A Book of Viking Lore, London: Penguin.</p> Dr Helena Bassil-Morozow https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/dr-helena-bassil-morozow help@asgsard.scot 29 2018-10-12T08:00:00 2018-10-12T08:00:00 Oleg of Novgorod and his Horse <p>The Russian primary chronicles tell of a prophecy about Oleg of Novgorod and his Horse. The chronicle is perhaps the most significant indigenous source for the early history of Russia (Hall, 2007, pp. 96). Oleg, a Viking warrior who was the brother of the legendary Rurik of Novgorod, captured Kiev and made it the Rus capital. He is also portrayed in the popular History Channel show &lsquo;Vikings&rsquo;.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/OLEG/1899._Russian_konung_Oleg_by_Vasnetsov-2.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="630" /></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/OLEG/credit vikings wiki - fandom.jpg" alt="" width="275" height="183" /></p> <p>Oleg was the Grand Prince of Kiev, successor of his brother Rurik Prince of Novgorod. He loved his horse and looked after it well, yet he had never ridden the horse.&nbsp;</p> <p>Oleg was curious and one day asked a magician about his death, how would it happen? The magician told him that his horse would bring his death.</p> <p>&ldquo;Oh Prince, it is from the steed which you love and on which you ride that you shall meet your death&rdquo; (Cross &amp; Sherbowitz-Wetzor, 1953, pp. 69).</p> <p>The magician&rsquo;s prophecy made Oleg fearful towards the horse and he vowed never to lay eyes upon his beloved horse again. He sent the horse away and demanded he be fed properly and well cared but that it is always kept from his view.</p> <p>After many years had passed after Oleg&rsquo;s raids on the Greeks, he began to think about his horse again. He wondered what had happened to his once loved Horse. He was please to find out that the horse had died. He laughed, &ldquo;Soothsayers tell untruths, and their words are naught but falsehood. This horse is dead, but I am still alive&rdquo; (Cross et al, 1953, pp. 69).</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/OLEG/AV008.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="300" /></p> <p>Oleg declared that he must see the horse is dead himself and further mock the magician&rsquo;s prophecy. After travelling to the horses grave he was pleased to see the bones of the dead horse. He mockingly kicked the skull of the horse, for it cannot kill him now. Alas, a snake slivered from the horse&rsquo;s skull and bit Oleg on the foot. He later sickened and died thus fulfilling the &lsquo;soothsayers&rsquo; prophecy.</p> <p>Kiev mourned their Grand Prince, for he had ruled for 33 years. The tomb of Oleg still stands today, upon a hill called Shchekovista.</p> <p>References</p> <p>Cross, S. and Sherbowitz-Wetzor, O. (1954).&nbsp;<em>The Russian Primary chronicle</em>. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Mediaeval Academy of America.</p> <p>Mitchell, R. and Forbes, N. (1914).&nbsp;<em>The chronicle of Novgorod, 1016-1471</em>. London: London Offices of the Society.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> AnnaLouise https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/annalouise help@asgsard.scot 28 2018-10-05T09:00:00 2018-10-05T09:00:00 Vikings oath rings: fact or fiction? <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/oath ring/ragnor.jpg" alt="Photo credit: Vikings TV" width="900" height="506" /></p> <p>Did the Vikings really hand out oath rings, as depicted on the hit tv show, Vikings? It was previously believed that oath rings were connected to the Icelandic sagas and were used for paying fealty in court (National Museum of Denmark).</p> <p>The so called &lsquo;oath rings&rsquo; found in Nebel, Germany were more than likely typical arm rings worn as a decorative item, with no connection to fealty. However, these bracelets are not from the Viking age at all, they actually date from the Bronze age, c.1700-500 BCE. These bronze arm rings like the one shown below are still referred to as oath rings, and turn up in sacrificial deposits, meaning that they were given as offerings in the Bronze Age.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/oath ring/credit national museum of denmark.jpg" alt="Photo Credit: National Museum of Denmark" width="492" height="385" /></p> <p>Basically, oath rings did not look like the used depicted in vikings. In fact, from series two onwards, they used our large dragon bracelet. (See below)</p> <p>Our Large Dragon Bracelets are our variation on two finds found in graves in Gotland, Sweden. These finds are the original of our Large Dragon bracelet and our tapered band Dragon bracelet. The heads of each of these silver arm rings found in the graves shows an extraordinary example of animal headed Viking age jewellery. It is the animal heads which allow archaeologists to date the arm rings to around 1000 ad (Wilson, 1980, 61). Believe it or not, animal headed bracelets are not a common find from the Viking period. There are very few examples recovered to date. Many finds are the flattened cuff type bracelets like the ones from the Huxley Hoard.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/oath ring/01.08.18.jpg" alt="" width="498" height="498" /></p> <p>Finds of bracelet fragments tell us that they were in fact a form of wearable currency rather than an oath ring. Vikings used a bullion economy, and they traded for goods and services in silver. It is believed that Vikings would cut off a piece of the silver bracelet in exchange for goods and services. Many examples of hack silver have been found in Gotland, dating after 1000, which suggests that there was an economic climate in which there was a lack of constant exchange. It suggests that personal items of value (such as silver dragon arm rings) could be altered into currency whenever the situation called for it (Graham-Campbell &amp; Williams, 2016, pp.89; 130).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>References</p> <p>Graham-Campbell, J. and Williams, G. (2016).&nbsp;<em>Silver economy in the Viking age</em>. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.</p> <p>Hall, R. (2007).&nbsp;<em>The World of the Vikings</em>. 1st ed. London: Thames &amp; Hudson.</p> <p>National museum of Denmark (2018).&nbsp;<em>The mysterious oath rings</em>. [online] natmus.dk. Available at: https://en.natmus.dk/historical-knowledge/denmark/prehistoric-period-until-1050-ad/the-bronze-age/arm-rings-of-gold/the-mysterious-oath-rings/ [Accessed 27 Sep. 2018].</p> <p>Wilson, D. (1980).&nbsp;<em>The Vikings and their origins</em>. 2nd ed. London: Thames &amp; Hudson.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> AnnaLouise https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/annalouise help@asgsard.scot 27 2018-09-28T10:00:00 2018-09-28T10:00:00 Our Bronze Ring Pins: Where do they come from? <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/ring pins/our-ring-pins.jpg" alt="" width="518" height="518" /></p> <p>Viking age and Medieval ring pins made from copper alloy have been found all over the world from Novgorod to Newfoundland; over a third of these were found in Ireland (McEneaney &amp; Ryan, 2004, pp. 24). The pins were used as fastenings for cloaks and dresses. Finds of these pins predating the Viking age in Ireland suggest that the pins originated in Ireland and highlight the ties between the &lsquo;Celtic West&rsquo; and &lsquo;Sub-Roman Britain&rsquo; (Fanning, 1994, pp.1). Vikings first appeared in Ireland in 795 and in the subsequent years settled throughout country establishing its oldest towns and cities (McEneaney et al, 2004, pp. 18).</p> <p>Although many variations of ring pins have been found, at Asgard, we create replicas of the plain-ringed Baluster and polyhedral ring pins. What&rsquo;s the difference you say? The baluster headed pin pre-dates Norse settlement in Britain and includes a square headed pin head incised with designs such as a cross or dots and features &lsquo;lozenged shaped panels&rsquo; at the top and bottom of the chased middle section. Whereas the polyhedral headed pins feature a 14-sided cubed shaped pin head (Fanning, 1994, pp. 8).&nbsp; Jim had the chance to go and examine the real thing at the Jorvik Viking Centre. His visit is pictured below.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/ring pins/jorvik-jim.jpg" alt="" width="561" height="561" /></p> <p>Plain ringed baluster headed pins were first found in a crannog (an ancient loch dwelling) at Lough Gara, co. Sligo, dating from between the 2<sup>nd</sup> to 5<sup>th</sup> centuries, pre-dating Viking settlement in Ireland. The only pin of this kind which can be dated broadly between the 9<sup>th</sup> and 12<sup>th</sup> centuries was found in a Viking encampment at Knowth, co. Meath which is thought to have served as the capital of Northern Brega, the Medieval Irish Kingdom north of Dublin. It was found decorated with dot ring perforations.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/ring pins/actual-thing.jpg" alt="" width="580" height="580" /></p> <p>Plain ringed polyhedral ring pins are the most common ring pins from a 1990 archaeological excavation in Dublin, they have also been found in Waterford and are though to have been popular with the Vikings (Fanning, 1994, pp.25; McEneaney et al, pp. 24). Waterford is the only Irish city to have kept its original Norse name. It was in fact founded by a Viking warlord in 914 (McEneaney et al, 2004, pp. 18).</p> <p>It is believed that these pins were fashionable in 10<sup>th</sup> century Dublin (Fanning, 1994, pp. 23). Some rings pin shave been found attached to tablet weave, though to prevent loss of the pin (McEneaney et al, 2004, pp. 24).</p> <p>To make our ring pins, Jim first studied the existing research on ring pins found in Coppergate, York. &nbsp;He then constructed a master piece based on his research, so we could make our own moulds. &nbsp;Once cast, the pins are then cleaned up and hand polished before adding the ring to the pin. It really is a simple yet understated piece.</p> <p>Our Ring pins are available on the website now, buy one of your own here:&nbsp; <a href="../shop/viking-brooches">https://www.asgard.scot/shop/viking-brooches</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">References</span></p> <p>McEneaney, E. and Ryan, R. (2004).&nbsp;<em>Waterford treasures</em>. Waterford: Waterford Museum of Treasures.</p> <p>Fanning, T. (1994).&nbsp;<em>Viking age ringed pins from Dublin</em>. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy.</p> AnnaLouise https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/annalouise help@asgsard.scot 26 2018-09-07T11:00:00 2018-09-07T11:00:00 Our Dunadd Brooch: Where does it come from? <p>Our Dunadd Brooch: Where does it come from?</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/dunadd/our-brooch-pic.jpg" alt="" width="678" height="678" /></p> <p>As many of you know all our products are based on or influenced by archaeological finds from across Europe from centuries past. Our latest Asgard reproduction is the Dunadd Brooch. It was originally discovered in Dunadd, Argyll. The finished brooch was not recovered, however the clay moulds (pictured below) were found around the royal hill fort instead. The moulds have two halves and once tightly fitted together, molten metal would have been poured into it to create the rough casting. This would have then been cleaned up, polished and set with precious stones or glass cabochons.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/dunadd/clay mould pic.jpg" alt="" width="450" height="258" /></p> <p>(Photo credit: National Museum of Scotland)</p> <p>Archaeological digs at Dunadd have uncovered strong evidence of wealth and prominence through the numerous finds of prestigious jewellery, ornaments and precious metal moulds and crucibles. This has led archaeologists to believe that Dunadd was in fact the capital of the early ancient Gael Kingdom Dalriada. Scholars argue that other archaeological finds throughout Scotland and Ireland from places such as St Ninians Isle and Clatchard Craig evidence the idea of mixed craft traditions between the high-status Gaels, Picts and Irish (Swift, 2013, pp.9).</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/dunadd/stone-pic.jpg" alt="" width="705" height="705" /></p> <p>To make our Dunadd Brooch Jim first studied impressions in the original mould to find out what it would have looked like when cast. He then constructed a master piece based on his research so we could make our own moulds. &nbsp;Once cast, our brooch is cleaned up by hand, and then polished, before being set with glass stones, and a pin added. It really is a striking piece of jewellery.</p> <p>It will soon be available on the website, but you can find our other brooches here: https://www.asgard.scot/shop/viking-brooches</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>References</p> <p>Swift, C. (2013).&nbsp;<em>Pictish brooches and Pictish hens</em>. 1st ed. Rosemarkie: Groam House Museum.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> AnnaLouise https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/annalouise help@asgsard.scot 25 2018-08-17T09:28:00 2018-08-17T09:28:00 Paul Hodson's Dragon Prow Shadow <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/dragon prow shadow blog/COMP-PIC.jpg" alt="" width="573" height="573" /></p> <p>&nbsp;I was lucky enough to grow up with fantastic Grandparents. They&rsquo;d take me and my cousins out and we&rsquo;d go and explore the castles, cliffs and coasts of North Lancashire and Cumbria. Of course it was mainly ruse on my Grandad&rsquo;s behalf to find a country pub he could get a decent pint in.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He had a knack of telling stories, and the knack of sitting in the front of the car &lsquo;reminiscing&rsquo; with my Gran such that those 6-7-year olds eavesdropping from the back seat would find it all the more believable. Tales of how he stormed Lancaster Castle with Robin Hood to save Marion. Of how he hid Excalibur from Mordred in a hollowed-out oak in Silverdale, taking care of the sword for Arthur. It was he who burned the cakes, but Alfred took the blame as my Grandad was always getting in trouble for doing something wrong. This was further evidenced by my Gran&rsquo;s constant berations. He&rsquo;d even been at Hastings, told William to stop waving sharp sticks about as he&rsquo;d have somebody's eye out. We saw a copy of the Bayeux Tapestry, and there he was, right there, the one with the big nose.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A regular haunt was Half Moon Bay at Heysham, with its 6th Century ruined chapel on the cliff tops, Viking rock cut graves and Hogback stone. And it was the Vikings with whom he got into the most scrapes, the ferocious men of the North, who came in their dragon boats, leaving&nbsp;an indelible mark on our landscape, language and place names. And so, my fascination began.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When I was 20 I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. This was a catalyst to do different, to think different. As part of that I grew interested in how the words and labels you use to describe the world can change your experiences, everyone is having a subjective experience. People can be in the same event and come away with a completely different sense of what happened.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dragon Prow Shadow was born from melding those strands of interest. The title alludes to the shadow these people cast and left on these lands. I wanted to write a book that incorporated that passion for the Norse, their way of thinking and their stories with some sort of altered perspective, and what better way to do that than from the point of view of a child? I wanted to write a story that highlighted the Viking DNA that runs through where I live (north west England) but didn&rsquo;t roll out the usual trope of the fury of the Northmen. These were people who were skilled, artful, traders, makers, builders, poets and wordsmiths, wove incredible stores that still enthral us and made beautiful objects that perfectly combine form and function. They were a pragmatic, problem solving bunch, who just got on and dealt with what was in front of them - an approach that given my experience as a 20-year-old, has a strong appeal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Head over to our Facebook for you chance to win a signed copy of the Dragon Prow Shadow by Paul Hodson now.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/dragon prow shadow blog/BLOG-COMP-PIC-2.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="900" /></p> Paul Hodson https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/paul-hodson help@asgsard.scot 24 2018-08-10T08:00:00 2018-08-10T08:00:00 Sleipnir and the Fortification of Asgard <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Sleipnir/Sleipnir-Small2.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="900" /></p> <p>Sleipnir was the eight-legged horse born of Loki, and belonged to Odin. Loki gave birth to Sleipnir after turning himself into a female horse when his father demanded he sabotage the work of a craftsman from being able to complete the fortification of Asgard in one season.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Silver Blog/Manuscript_Sleipnir pic.jpg" alt="" width="591" height="763" /></p> <p>In the early days of Valhalla, a craftsman came to visit. He offered to create a citadel around Asgard which could keep out the giants who may attack from any direction. The man claimed he could complete the fortification of Asgard in three seasons, and for payment demanded that the goddess Freyja be his bride and that he receives the sun and the moon also. The gods however thought his choice of payment was steep and negotiated that he would be paid in full, if he completed the wall in just one season and that he receives no help from any man. The man accepted this with the condition that his stallion, Svadilfari, could help. The gods were unsure, but Loki convinced them that even with the help of his horse, the man would not be able to uphold his end of the bargain, so Freyja, and the sun and moon were not at risk at all.</p> <p>And so the man set to work on the first day of winter, yet it was his huge stallion that did all the work, effortlessly hauling huge boulders. The progress of the citadel progressed swiftly, and it was so tall and strong that no enemy would be able to take Asgard. Three days before the winter was over the gods sat down for counsel and discussed how they could avoid giving the man payment. Whilst discussing this the gods began to question who had agreed to the man&rsquo;s terms in the first place. The consensus was that Loki was to blame. The evil Loki was demanded to obstruct the craftsman from completing the last part of the citadel so that they would not need to pay him. Loki would face violence and death if not, so he swore oath that he would stop the man and his horse from completing the citadel.</p> <p>Whilst the man was working that evening, a mare appeared from a nearby forest and neighed towards the stallion. The mare was in heat, and the stallion broke away from his work and ran away into the woods, following the other horse. The man was not happy that his stallion had got away. He became enraged when&nbsp;Svadilfan ran with the mare all night and the next day and he could not finish the citadel in time.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Stallion running away pic.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="614" /></p> <p>The gods, noticing the man&rsquo;s wrath, realised that he was in fact a giant, and they had been well and truly duped. They called for Thor to kill the giant. Thor swung Mjollnir into the giant&rsquo;s head. The heavy blow killed him instantly, the force sending his body flying to Niflheim, and cast tiny pieces of his skull across the nine realms.</p> <p>It then became clear that it was Loki who had stopped the completion of the citadel. He had disguised himself as the mare to which Svadilfari left the giant to be with, and had become pregnant with the stallion&rsquo;s foal. Loki later gave birth to a grey, eight-legged horse he called Sleipnir. It was the best horse among gods and men, so Loki gifted him to Odin.</p> <p>Thank you for reading!</p> <p>References</p> <p>[1] Sturluson, S. and Brodeur, A. (1916).&nbsp;<em>The Prose Edda</em>. 1st ed. Michigan: American-Scandinavian Foundation, pp.37-38.</p> AnnaLouise https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/annalouise help@asgsard.scot 23 2018-08-03T15:00:00 2018-08-03T15:00:00 Twisted & Plaited Rod Arm Rings from the Viking Age <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Twisted &amp; Plaited Rod Arm Rings from the Viking Age</strong></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/Silver-Knotted-Bracelet6.jpg" alt="" width="560" height="560" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/ABLET011c.jpg" alt="" width="558" height="558" /></p> <p>Bracelets from the Viking period generally fall into 3 categories:</p> <ul> <li>Broad Band Arm Rings &ndash; Like the ones from the Huxley hoard we talked about in a previous blog.</li> <li>Plaited or Twisted Rod Arm Rings</li> <li>Single Rod Arm Rings</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This week we&rsquo;ll take a closer look the twisted or plaited variety. The simplest of this type are often 2 silver round-section rods twisted around each other. They can be either annular or penannular in style. Annular means that they are a closed circle, with the ends usually joined together with solder, or the ends are tapered and then wrapped around the band in a variety of decorative ways. Penannular describes a broken circle, so the ends do not meet, and finish in terminals or taper to a point.</p> <p>Many finds of this style are often 2 twisted rods, though sometimes this is embellished with a smaller twist of fine wire running along side these. Examples of more rods are less common, however they are still found across Europe.</p> <p>Viking expert James Graham- Campbell researched this multi strand type back in 2006.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Birka-Armring11.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" /></p> <p>The earlier theory was that this style had been developed in the east, and brought and traded into the west by the Vikings, however Graham-Campbell concluded<a href="#_edn1" name="_ednref1">[i]</a> that this was not the case, and that the style was developed in Western Europe in the middle of the 9<sup>th</sup> century and became a Scandinavian fashion.</p> <p>A number of the hoards from the U.K and Ireland contain some complete examples of this style, and the majority of the hoards contain fragments. Though not as popular as the bracelet types we see at Huxley, they still appear to have been a popular way of carrying bullion around in the Viking period.</p> <p>We know that the Vikings cut up their silver to pay for things, and these complex bracelets were not spared this fate. It would seem strange to us to cut up something so beautiful, but James Graham-Campbell raises an interesting theory<a href="#_edn2" name="_ednref2">[ii]</a>. He suggests that in order to make such a complex bracelet, the silver would need to be of good quality to get it to take on the shape required. Low purity silver or plated cheaper metals would be very difficult to work into this style, so Graham-Campbell suggests that these types of bracelets could be an obvious sign of the purity of the silver, and no one wanted excess cheaper metals watering down their silver.</p> <p>Cast ingots found in hoards frequently contain nick marks were a sliver of the metal has been cut away to help determine its purity, but applying his theory, these twisted arm rings wouldn&rsquo;t need to be tested, as the design itself would suffice to determine the purity of the silver.</p> <p>Here at Asgard, we&rsquo;ve made lots of silver bracelets over the years, so what does our experimental archaeologist think of James Graham-Campbell&rsquo;s theory on the purity of twisted rod arm rings?</p> <p>Jim agrees. He says that in order to create these twisted bracelets, you have to frequently anneal the silver during the twisting stage. Annealing is the process of heating the metal up to remove the tension from the molecular structure of the metal. This means that you can bend it without it fracturing. From working with various different metals over the years, Jim knows that copper alloys need to be annealed far more often than sterling silver, and are still very difficult to shape without the metal fracturing. And while he hasn&rsquo;t tried these techniques with low purity silver, it would probably behave the same way.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;d like to see how these twisted arm rings are constructed then our video will give you a quick glimpse into the process.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ilrNIyi2x9c" width="560" height="314" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>So there you have a replica Viking age twisted rod arm ring from Birka, Sweden. Pretty to look at, and also quite possibly a way to make sure at a glance, that you were getting good quality silver.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="#_ednref1" name="_edn1">[i]</a> James Graham-Campbell &ndash; The Cuerdale Hoard and related Viking-Age silver and gold from Britain &amp; Ireland in the British museum &ndash; 2011</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="#_ednref2" name="_edn2">[ii]</a> James Graham-Campbell &ndash; The Rings - 2006</p> Cat https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/cat help@asgsard.scot 22 2018-07-20T09:16:00 2018-07-20T09:16:00 Thor goes fishing <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Thors Goes Fishing/Thor goes Fishing Jumper.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="900" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The story of Thor goes fishing is mentioned in the 13<sup>th</sup> century Icelandic work of literature the Prose of Edda, and the Poetic Edda within Hymiskvitha. It is also depicted upon a 17<sup>th</sup> century Icelandic rune stone at Altuna, Sweden. Below pictures the runestone found in Altuna.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Thors Goes Fishing/Thor goes fishing Altuna rune pic.png" alt="" width="236" height="693" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The story tells of Thor's visit to Hymir the giant, to take his colossal cauldron back to Asgard for the gods, who needed it to replenish their supply of ale. It is unclear of the reason why the gods had no ale, however the poetic Edda mentions that it was Hymir who kept the cauldrons to himself to spite the gods and that the Aesir Thor to take the giant&rsquo;s cauldron. Tyr, the god of war, who is also the son of Hymir tells Thor that to take the cauldrons from his father they must be cunning. Thor travels to Hymirs disguised as a young boy as not to make the giant suspicious. Within the Poetic Edda Thor goes under the guise of the name Veur. He took Tyr with him as he was the giants son and would &nbsp;help outwit the fierce giant. The gods travelled as far east as they could go, to the near end of earth and sky in heaven where Hymir&rsquo;s hall sat on a hill side near the sea.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Poetic Edda tells us that upon their arrival Tyr&rsquo;s mother and his nine-hundred headed grandmother tell them to hide in the cauldron as Hymir does not take kindly to guests. After knocking down all of his cauldrons bar the one Thor and Tyr are hiding in, Hymir begrudgingly accepts his son and his friend into his hall. He even slaughters three of his bulls for the boys provision during their stay. He is shocked when Veur (Thor) devours two of the three slaughtered bulls in one sitting. Irked by Thor&rsquo;s legendary hunger, Hymir set off the following day to go fishing for more food. Thor asks to accompany Hymir on his fishing trip and Hymir accepts, telling Thor to collect some bait from his pasture. Hymir is dismayed when Thor comes back with the head of the his best Ox, Himinhjrot the Heaven Bellower.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hymir, and the nuisance Veur launched the boat. After some time Hymir took over the oars and Thor urged him to row further out into the sea. Hymir was fearful of Jormungand the Midgard Serpent who lurked below the deepest part of the ocean, so he stopped rowing and began to fish. Hymir quickly pulled up two whales, their fight churning the water into a whirlpool. Thor then cast his line, with the oxen&rsquo;s head hooked at the end, into the deep dark water. Suddenly Thor's line began to tighten. As he pulled the enemy of the gods Jormungand the Serpent to the surface, Thor reached for his hammer, his feet snapping through the boat from the tension of reeling in the enormous creature. As the serpent writhed and twisted, Thor stuck his hammer on its head, the highest mountains of Jotunheim heard its screams and they replied with a shudder. The hook that was tangled in the serpent's jaw broke loose and Jormungand sank to the bottom of the sea. Hymir, appalled at Thor&rsquo;s actions, began to row homeward.&nbsp; It is important to note that within the Poetic Edda, the explanation of why the serpent breaks loose from Thor&rsquo;s line is missing.</p> <p>(Pictured below is Thor capturing Jormungand beside a fearful Hymir).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Thors Goes Fishing/Thor goes fishing drawing pic.png" alt="" width="728" height="900" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When the boat&rsquo;s hull finally hit the shingle, Hymir cheekily asked for assistance to haul the boat up the beach. Thor responded by jumping out of the boat and dragging the boat with the giant and two whales on board up the shore, through the woods and over the hills until the boat was put to rest outside the giant&rsquo;s house.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now back in his great hall, Hymir is intimidated by Thor&rsquo;s strength and fearlessness in his near capture of the Jormungund. Rather unwisely, Hymir challenges Thor with another task: to smash his unbreakable glass goblet. Thor threw the Goblet across the hall against a pillar. Pieces of stone and rubble flew everywhere, but the glass was still intact. Hymir&rsquo;s wife whispered to Thor to throw it against Hymir&rsquo;s head for it was hard as stone. Once again Thor threw the goblet, and this time it smashed in two against the giant&rsquo;s solid forehead.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The giant stared at the broken shards with defeat in his eyes and then granted ownership of the cauldron to Thor; &ldquo;&lsquo;With the loss of this goblet,&rsquo; he said &lsquo;I lose far more than a goblet&rsquo;.... &lsquo;What's mine is yours now. My last cauldron is yours.&rsquo; he said. &lsquo;I can&rsquo;t stop you from taking it&rsquo;&rdquo; (Crossley-Holland, pp. 101, 1985).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thor carried the cauldron out of the hall on his shoulders. Thor and Tyr had not gone far when they turned to discover Hymir and the other giants emerging from their lairs after Thor and the cauldron. Thor released the cauldron and swung his hammer, knocking all the giants with their many heads down.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thor and Tyr returned home to Asgard acclaimed by the gods. That winter, and every other winter since, the gods enjoy ale brewed in the sea giant&rsquo;s cauldron.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thanks for reading!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>References</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All pictures used are our own images or have been labelled for reuse.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>[1]Ashliman, E. (1997). <em>Thor and the Midgard Serpent</em>. [online] Pitt.edu. Available at: https://www.pitt.edu/~dash/thorserpent.html [Accessed 5 Jul. 2018].</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>[2] Bellows, H. (1936). <em>The Poetic Edda. </em>New York: The American- Scandinavian Foundation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>[3] Crossley-Holland, K. (1985). <em>Axe-Age, Wolf-Age. A selection from the Norse Myths. </em>1<sup>st</sup> ed. London: Faber and Faber Limited, pp. 97-102.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>[4] Larrington, C. (1996). <em>The Poetic Edda. </em>1<sup>st</sup> ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 78-83.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>[5]Sturluson, S. and Brodeur, A. (1916). <em>The Prose Edda</em>. 1st ed. Michigan: American-Scandinavian Foundation.</p> AnnaLouise https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/annalouise help@asgsard.scot 21 2018-07-13T09:46:00 2018-07-13T09:46:00 The Cuerdale Hoard - Viking Age Neck Rings <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Cuerdale/Cuerdale Hoard BM 13.07.18.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="530" /></p> <p>The Cuerdale hoard was found in 1840 during work to the banks of the River Ribble in Lancashire. The initial find weighed approximately 42.5kg and contained over 7,500 coins.<a href="#_edn1" name="_ednref1">[i]</a> Thanks to the high number of coins, the hoard can be dated quite accurately, being deposited around 905-910 A.D.</p> <p>The hoard is one of the largest found to date, though the British Museum does not hold the complete collection. After an inquisition in Preston in August 1840, the hoard was &lsquo;seized into the Hands of Her Majesty in right of Her Duchy and County Palatine of Lancaster.&rsquo; Nearly 150 individuals were gifted coins and other trinkets from the hoard, and the whereabouts of all of these is not certain in 2018. James Graham-Campbell, who tried to track down the missing pieces, also theorised in his 2011 book that a number of the rarer coins went missing before the hoard made it to the inquisition, taken by the coin experts who were called in to initially assess the hoard.</p> <p>The hoard contained lots of hack silver and ingots, but it also contained complete bracelets, neck rings, and rings. This week we&rsquo;re going to take a quick look at the neck rings.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Silver-Neck-Ring5 (2).jpg" alt="" width="900" height="900" /></p> <p>Neck rings from the hoard were made from twin strands of silver wire twisted together, paired with 2 or 3 more of the same, and then twisted around each other once more. These rods were then joined to the smooth rods that formed the terminals. There are other types found in the UK, but this is the most common, and makes up the majority of the Cuerdale pieces. The examples from Cuerdale tend to fasten with a simple hook and a loop, and this way of fastening is also the most common type found in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark<a href="#_edn1" name="_ednref1">[i]</a>.The hook and loop fastening, instead of two hooks, is clustered in the south of Norway, the east of Denmark, and the U.K. An example of the two hook fastening method was found at Halton Moor.</p> <p>The complete neck ring examples from the Cuerdale hoard weigh 173g, and 188g, which is just under a mark&rsquo;s worth of silver (200g).The hoard also contains a number of fragments that were originally part of complete neck rings.</p> <p>There are no gold neck rings in the hoard. In fact, the only example of a gold neck ring in the UK and Ireland was found in Midlothian, Scotland, and has since vanished<a href="#_edn2" name="_ednref2">[ii]</a></p> <p>Neck rings were not an easy item to make, so it is interesting to see that there are fragments of neckrings in the collection that have been cut down into smaller values of silver. Neck rings may not have been the first piece of silver a Viking would use for a financial transaction, but the evidence of portions of neck rings tells us that these pieces of jewellery were still cold, hard, bullion at the end of the day. We can draw a parallel with the long standing tradition of people pawning their jewellery to pay bills and debts.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a very condensed look at how neck rings are constructed. It&rsquo;s a long and laborious process that would have taken considerably longer in the Viking period, as they would not have access to wire like we have. The first step for a silver smith would have been to draw out the wire.</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/8l4RwurN7zI" width="560" height="314" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p><a href="#_ednref1" name="_edn1"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>We have plenty more research to undertake on the bullion economy of the Viking age, and hopefully we can talk more about that over the coming weeks. Next week we&rsquo;re looking at the sagas again, and a story about Thor.</p> <p><a href="#_ednref1" name="_edn1"></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>[<a href="#_edn1" name="_ednref1">i</a>]The Cuerdale Hoard &amp; related Viking-Age silver and gold from Britain &amp; Ireland in the British Museum &ndash; James Graham-Campbell&amp; others 2011.</p> <p>[<a href="#_edn2" name="_ednref2">ii</a>]Silver in the Viking-Age. A regional economic study &ndash; Brigitta Hardh 1996.</p> <p><a href="#_ednref1" name="_edn1">[iii]The Viking-Age gold &amp; silver of Scotland (A.D 850-1100) &ndash; James Graham-Campbell 1995.</a></p> Cat https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/cat help@asgsard.scot 20 2018-07-06T09:09:00 2018-07-06T09:09:00 Tony Bradman ( Author ) – Viking Boy <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/06.07.18.jpg" alt="Viking Boy" width="900" height="900" /></p> <p>I&rsquo;ve always loved historical fiction, and history too. A good historical novel has lots of drama &ndash; writers don&rsquo;t tend to pick dull periods to write about! And if it&rsquo;s a well researched story, you also learn lots about a particular time and place.</p> <p>The Vikings were my first love. I&rsquo;ve been a fan of Viking stories (and the history of the Vikings) Among the earliest books I read as a boy were the novels of Henry Treece, a historical writer for children who has almost been forgotten now. But his book Horned Helmet stayed in my mind for a long time &ndash; it&rsquo;s very cool in the way only a Viking story can be cool &ndash; spare, hard, northern, but witty and poetic too. I then went on to read other Viking novels (by Rosemary Sutcliff!), and saw a great film at an impressionable age &ndash; The Vikings, starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis. All good stuff&hellip;</p> <p>Viking Boy is the story of Gunnar, a boy whose home is destroyed by raiders and his father killed. Gunnar swears revenge on the man responsible, and sets off on a quest to achieved it &ndash; but he encounters some pretty big obstacles on the way. I wanted to write a book that I would have loved when I was a boy &ndash; something packed with drama and with lots of twists and turns in the plot. I also wanted to make it feel as Viking as possible, and did plenty of research to make that possible. I&rsquo;ve read loads of stuff about the Vikings over the years &ndash; lots of history books! I also read a lot of the Icelandic sagas, brilliant real-life stories of Viking life in the early years of settlement on Iceland. They were written down in the 14th century by an amazing man called Snorri Sturlusson who is worth a book on his own. I read lots of versions of the Norse myths, too, the best one by far being Kevin Crossley-Holland&rsquo;s The Norse Myths. (Kevin has also recently produced two brilliant new Viking stories, Bracelet of Bones and Scramasax &ndash; I&rsquo;m hoping there&rsquo;s a third one in the pipeline!). And last but not least I did a couple of research trips to Scandinavia. I visited two great Viking ship museums, one in Oslo, and one in Roskilde, Denmark, where I went for a ride in a reproduction Viking ship and even dressed up as a Viking! My wife still won&rsquo;t let me buy a sword, though.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m a big fan of the ancient Greeks, and there are some similarities between the two sets of Gods &ndash; their violence and capriciousness, the way they interfere in human life. But the Norse Gods do have their own darkness and intensity &ndash; the idea of fate as being inescapable is a powerful one, especially when it generates an attitude that runs through Viking culture &ndash; fate is inevitable, but you don&rsquo;t know what yours will be, so you might as well get on and live your life as best you can. There&rsquo;s a kind of tough, rugged individualism at the heart of Viking culture that boys find very appealing &ndash; I know I did when I was young!</p> <p>One of my favourite Shakespeare plays is Macbeth, and the scenes with the three witches were very much in my mind when I wrote the Norns scenes in Viking Boy. The Triple Goddess of Maiden, Mother and Crone also features in ancient Mediterranean culture &ndash; I was a big fan of Robert Graves in my 20s, and read his book The White Goddess, which explores the idea that the original European religion was matriarchal. It&rsquo;s fairly barmy, but rich in ideas that have obviously percolated in my mind for a long time. Viking Boy is also a very masculine book, with mostly male characters &ndash; although when any female characters appear (the Norns and the Valkyries!) they&rsquo;re very scary. Maybe that says something about me&hellip;</p> <p>I do plan quite carefully &ndash; the process is one of lots of research and thinking and note-taking and making, and then an outline&hellip; I like to know where I&rsquo;m going. But the plan often changes, sometimes completely. I usually have an idea of the ending, but that can change too, and it never works out the way I thought it would when I started the journey. A lot of writers say they don&rsquo;t plan because they need to be surprised by the characters and the story &ndash; that happens to me all the time, even though I plan, in every type of story &ndash; long, medium, or short. In Viking Boy, for instance, I never really planned to have a character called Rurik &ndash; but there he was in a key scene, a minor character who became my hero&rsquo;s friend and a major part of the plot.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It took me a long time to write Viking Boy, and I had a lot of ups and downs with it. The first draft was over 60,000 words, and the publishers reminded me that they&rsquo;d only wanted 30,000 (whoops!). I thereupon cut it to 42,000 and swore blind that I couldn&rsquo;t cut another word. They were happy with that draft, except for a few fairly minor suggestions&hellip; but when I read it again I realised I could make it a lot better and proceeded to cut it to&hellip; just over 30,000 words! So I got there in the end. It was an interesting experience, and I think the final draft was right for a Viking story &ndash; lean, mean, under-stated, cool. Why didn&rsquo;t I do that in the first place? Ah, writers&hellip; we&rsquo;re a mystery even to ourselves&hellip;</p> <p>I love the way Viking Boy turned out, and I&rsquo;d love to do something else on that scale, or even bigger. But I always take on too much and I want to be careful about what I commit to over the next few years &ndash; I&rsquo;m not getting any younger! I have a number of ideas &ndash; another Viking story, but a much darker one with a real twist;. We&rsquo;ll have to see&hellip;</p> Tony Bradman https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/tony-bradman help@asgsard.scot 19 2018-06-29T12:49:00 2018-06-29T12:49:00 The Huxley Hoard - The lost treasure of Viking Refugees from Dublin? <p>The Huxley Hoard</p> <p>The lost treasure of Viking Refugees from Dublin?</p> <p>&nbsp;This well preserved silver hoard was unearthed in 2004 in the small village of Huxley near Chester. It was found by chance by metal detectorists during a weekend rally organised by a local club. First to be uncovered, only a foot beneath the surface, were the fragments of lead that wrapped around the hoard. Under these were the 22 pieces of silver. Due to the style of the bracelets, and the designs on them, it was immediately apparent that the pieces of jewellery were from the Viking period, and they had just uncovered a hoard.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; <img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Silver Blog/Image 1a.jpg" alt="" width="768" height="322" />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>As luck would have it, archaeologist Dan Garner from the University of Chester was at the site, and he swiftly and carefully excavated the area around the find. There was nothing else to be found in the vicinity besides more lead fragments, which were probably part of the vessel originally containing the hoard. The archaeologists think it could have been made of wood, which has long since rotted away.</p> <p>All the bracelets in the hoard have been flattened so that they take up less space. The original owner seemed to be trying to reduce the size of the silver as much as possible to fit it in the original container. The bracelets are similar in style and design to those of the Cuerdale hoard from Lancashire, some of which have also been folded up.</p> <p>It seems that no matter how pretty an object, in the Viking period, silver meant wealth. An arm ring with a lovely pattern stamped on it could be chopped up to pay for goods or flattened beyond wear to be stored easily. It was not cherished, because of its looks, but cherished because of the value it had; it appears that the decorations are almost an afterthought.</p> <p>The Huxley hoard is one of four from the Chester area that date to the Viking period. The other three are mostly made up of coins. The largest of these was found in 1950<a href="#_edn1" name="_ednref1">[i]</a>, and contained a whopping 547 coins, 27 ingots, and 120 pieces of hacksilver (cut up jewellery or mounts).The 1950 hoard is dated to around 965-970 AD, however, the Huxley hoard is dated even earlier. Experts at the British Museum date it to around 900-910 AD.</p> <p>The museum believes<a href="#_edn2" name="_ednref2">[ii]</a> that these types of stamped bracelets were also being produced at the same time by the Vikings in Dublin. The Viking settlers were forcibly removed from Dublin in 902 A.D. by the Irish, giving rise to the theory that this hoard may have belonged to Norse refugees from city. They also speculate that these bracelets could have belonged to raiders who were frequent visitors to the area, sailing up the River Gowy from the Mersey estuary. Unfortunately, we&rsquo;ll never know the exact reason why the silver was buried.</p> <p>Of the 22 pieces of silver found in the hoard, 20 were of the cuff style bracelets. There was also one crude ingot, and a length of square section bar with a stamped design on it. Unlike the other Chester hoards, there were no coins in this find. Coins are always very useful, as they can help in dating a hoard. Coins are struck for kings, so if we know the date of a reign, then we can date the coin. Therefore, hoards can not have been put in the ground before that date.</p> <p>Of the 20 cuff bracelets, 4 were plain, and 16 had designs stamped on them. The designs are made up of lines and geometric shapes &ndash; predominantly triangles with a dot or dots inside them. These simple designs are found on numerous bracelets across the Viking world, and on lots of other metalwork from the period.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Silver Blog/Image 2.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" /></p> <p>This reproduction was a commission piece for a customer. Whilst the original bracelets were probably hammered from an ingot, we have the luxury of sheet silver to work with. That aside, the rest of the process probably wouldn&rsquo;t differ much from that of the originals.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/v_jSJvecn60" width="560" height="314" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>The entire hoard weighed in the region of 1.5kg. One question we are frequently asked by the public on our travels is what was silver worth? Obviously, we know how much a pound of silver costs today, and what we could expect to buy for it, though we&rsquo;d have to convert that silver to cash, as we no longer use bullion as a form of currency. But in Viking times, what did items cost? What could the Huxley hoard have bought someone in 900 A.D.? In short, we aren&rsquo;t exactly sure. Ring money bracelets from the period weighed around an ounce, and these bigger and heavier bracelets are around four ounces, half a mark. Some of the sagas touch on money very briefly, but not to the degree of talking about the costs of everyday items. There are records of the values due if a court agreed a weargeld (compensation) for killing someone, but that still doesn&rsquo;t help us determine the cost of living. This is rather frustrating, and we&rsquo;ll certainly be coming back to this topic another time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="#_ednref1" name="_edn1">[i]</a>http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/art538804-viking-coins-hoot-root-santander-bank-chester-cheshire</p> <p><a href="#_ednref2" name="_edn2">[ii]</a>http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/collections/archaeology/huxley-hoard/</p> Cat https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/cat help@asgsard.scot 18 2018-06-22T09:00:00 2018-06-22T09:00:00 The intriguing Viking history of a Neolithic burial mound <p>The intriguing Viking history of a Neolithic burial mound</p> <p>Maes Howe chambered tomb sits at the heart of the stunning Neolithic landscape of Mainland, Orkney, in close proximity to the stone circles of Brodgar, and Stenness, and the recently discovered temple complex on the Ness of Brodgar. The mound is also home to a collection of 30 runic inscriptions, said to date from the 12<sup>th</sup> century.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Maes-Howe-Edit.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="506" /></p> <p>But who made these inscriptions, and what do they say? The Orkneyinga Saga sheds a little light on this, and more recently, scholars<a href="#_edn1" name="_ednref1">[i]</a> have translated the carvings, giving us some answers.&nbsp; However, this leaves us with more questions than we started with. The inscriptions in the tomb talk about buried treasure, they refer to the mound as Orkahaugr &ndash; Orc Mound, not Maes Howe, and the earth mound itself seems to have been bolstered in the 9<sup>th</sup> century<a href="#_edn2" name="_ednref2">[ii]</a>.</p> <p>Were there piles of gold under the earth? Where is it now? Were orcs marauding across the land? The runes and sagas don&rsquo;t tell us everything, some of the stories may be fabricated, and much is left undocumented.</p> <p>So let&rsquo;s start at the beginning. Maes Howe is around 4,800 years old. There is no evidence to suggest that burial chambers of this period had gold and silver placed in them. If it had been opened for the first time today, then we would expect to find nothing but bones. Archaeological excavations&nbsp; at the site have shown that the mound was re-enforced in the 9<sup>th</sup> century, with more earth added to the mound. The end of the 9<sup>th</sup> century corresponds with the start of the Orkneyinga Saga, and the arrival of the Earls of Orkney.</p> <p>King Harald Fine-Hair of Norway ruled from 879-930A.D. The Saga tells us that he gave the land to Earl Rognvald after the Earl&rsquo;s son, Ivar died fighting for the King in/around Ireland and the Isle of Man. Rognvald hands the land to his brother, Sigurd, who becomes the first Earl of Orkney. After Sigurd, the title passes to his son, Guthrum, then to Hallard, Sigurd&rsquo;s nephew. Hallard couldn&rsquo;t keep raiders at bay, so skulked back to Norway with his tail between his legs. Two Danes, Thorir Tree-Beard, and Kalf Scurvy decide to take the islands, so Earl Rognvald sent his youngest son, Einar to remove the Danes. There was much turmoil in the late 9<sup>th</sup>, and early 10<sup>th</sup> century in Orkney, but the Norse were certainly there.</p> <p>There is more than one theory to explain why Vikings re-enforced the mound in the early years of the Earls. One<a href="#_edn3" name="_ednref3">[iii]</a> is that it was stripped of the old bones, and turned into a burial mound by the vikings. Another, put forward by <em>Dr Alexandra Sanmark</em><a href="#_edn4" name="_ednref4">[iv]</a> is that it is was a thing site &ndash; a Viking parliament, and that Maes Howe was not actually called Orkahaugr by the Vikings, because Mesow (as written in the 1845 New Statistical Account) could be old norse for Meadow Mound.</p> <p>Orkahaugr is only referenced twice in history &ndash; once in the Orkneyinga Saga &ndash; it remains in the English translation of the late 1800&rsquo;s<a href="#_edn5" name="_ednref5">[v]</a>, but was swapped out for Maes Howe in a later edition<a href="#_edn6" name="_ednref6">[vi]</a>, and in the actual chamber itself in one of the rune carvings. Despite how fun it sounds, there is little evidence to suggest that the Vikings thought Orkney a mystical land filled with boggarts, fey creatures, and orcs, and Orkahaugr may simply mean &lsquo;that big mound in Ork&rsquo; instead of a mound filled with Orcs. The Irish referred to the lands as <em>Insi Orc, </em>the land of the wild boars<em>.</em> We simply don&rsquo;t know why it was referred to as Orkahaugr instead of Maes Howe, though it should be noted that the Saga was written in Iceland, and the man carving the runes may not have been native to the Orkneys.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/mccrm130318010.jpg" alt="" width="768" height="512" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/mccrm130318011.jpg" alt="" width="768" height="512" /></p> <p>And the treasure that these Vikings speak of? The inscriptions say it was hidden to the north-west of the mound, that is was removed by Hakon, and that it was taken away 3 nights before they opened the mound. Is any of this true? We will never know, but it could be said that if the theory about the 9<sup>th</sup> century Vikings burying someone in the tomb was correct, then there could well have been gold and silver among the grave goods. Or it could simply have been a story or myth told in Viking times to explain these huge monuments in the landscape. The Orkneyinga Saga makes no reference to the contents of the mound.</p> <p>Do we actually know for sure who carved the runes in Maes Howe? The Orkneyinga Saga says that Earl Harald was travelling from Hamna Voe to Firth 13 days after Christmas, with 100 men, and they sheltered from a snow storm in the Howe. Two men went mad during the night. It is suggested that it was these men that wrote some of the runic inscriptions. This could be true, though you may struggle to fit 100 men in Maes Howe for the night, as it&rsquo;s not that big internally. Also mentioned in the saga are the men of Earl Rognvald Kali, who went on crusade in 1153. This looks to be around the same time as the incident with Earl Harald, however there is no mention of Maes Howe in the Saga in relation to Earl Rognvald Kali. However, the date ties with the style of runes they are using, the fact that they use the word crusader in one inscription, and the addition of a cross carved into one of the stones, so it could have been these men.</p> <p>Beyond the date of the original tomb, the earth works done in the 9<sup>th</sup> century, and the runes dated to the 12<sup>th </sup>century, it looks like we can theorise until Ragnarok about what really happened inside that mound. What we can certainly take away from the carvings inside Maes Howe, is that runes do have immense power. At some point, men called Hegli, Erlinger, Thorir, Tryggar, Ofram, Thorfir, Ottarfila, and Haermund Hardaxe stood in that small, dark space and left their mark, so that we may sit here nearly 1000 years later, and still know their names.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="#_ednref1" name="_edn1">[i]</a> John Mitchell. Mesehow: <em>Illustrations of the Runic Literature of Scandinavia, Translations in Danish and English of the Inscriptions in Mesehowe, Visits of the Northern Sovereigns to Orkney, Notes, Vocabularies, etc.</em> Edinburgh: 1863.</p> <p><a href="#_ednref2" name="_edn2">[ii]</a> https://canmore.org.uk/site/2094/maes-howe</p> <p><a href="#_ednref3" name="_edn3">[iii]</a> Sigurd Towrie. http://www.orkneyjar.com/</p> <p><a href="#_ednref4" name="_edn4">[iv]</a> Dr Alexandra Sandmark. Althing and lawthing in Orkney. The Orcadian 2012</p> <p><a href="#_ednref5" name="_edn5">[v]</a> Joeseph Anderson. Orkneyinga Saga 1873</p> <p><a href="#_ednref6" name="_edn6">[vi]</a> Palsson Hermann, and Paul Edwards. <em>Orkneyinga saga : the history of the Earls of Orkney. </em>Penguin Classics, 1981</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Cat https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/cat help@asgsard.scot 16 2018-06-08T13:31:00 2018-06-08T13:31:00 The Tale of Loki Bound <p>The Tale of Loki Bound</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/14.06.18USE.jpg" alt="Loki Bound" width="900" height="900" /></p> <p>The sagas tell many tales of Loki and his tricks, but he really incurred the wrath of the other gods when he murdered Baldur. The gods were enraged and demanded vengeance. The tale of what happened to Loki, found in the Prose Edda, is a rather unpleasant one.</p> <p>First Loki ran far away. He hid himself in a mountain, and built a house with 4 doors &ndash; one facing each direction so that he could always see his enemy approach. To pass the time, Loki took on the form of a salmon, and then hid himself in a place called Fr&aacute;nangr- Falls. Here he would ponder what tricks the gods would try and use to capture him at the waterfall. At night, Loki would sit in his house with four doors, and use linen thread to knit fishing nets.</p> <p>Odin had seen from Hlidskj&aacute;lf where Loki was hiding, and sent the Aesir to capture him. When they arrived, Loki cast the nets into the fire, turned himself into a salmon again, and leapt into the river to escape.</p> <p>The wisest of the Aesir who had come to apprehend Loki was Kvasir, so he entered the four door house first. He saw in the fire white ash from where the fishing net had burned away, and deduced that this must be something used to catch fish. So the Aesir made a fishing net, based upon the pattern in the ashes, and took it to the waterfall to catch Loki.</p> <p>Thor took hold of one end of the net, and all the Aesir, the other, and they stretched it out. Alas, Loki managed to dart ahead, and hid between two stones. So the Aesir tried again, but this time they used a rock to weigh down the bottom of the net so that Loki could not swim under it. Undeterred, Loki jumped over the net this time, and made for the waterfall. The Aesir split into two, to try another time to capture Loki with the net, but Thor waded up the middle of the river. Loki panicked, he had but two choices: to flee to the open sea, or jump over the net again. He chose the net, and leapt gracefully over it, but Thor snatched him mid leap. The salmon slipped through Thor&rsquo;s fingers, however, the tail stopped him from losing his grip, and his hand stopped there. This is why salmon have a tapered back.</p> <p>Captured, Loki was taken by the Aesir into a cave. Here they took 3 flat stones, drilled holes in them, and stood them on end. The Aesir brought in Loki&rsquo;s sons, V&aacute;li and Nari, turned V&aacute;li into a wolf, and watched as he ripped his defenceless brother asunder. They took Nari&rsquo;s entrails, and used them to bind Loki to the three stones &ndash; one stone under his shoulders, one under his groin, and the last under his legs. The bonds were turned to iron, and Loki lay immobile upon the rocks.</p> <p>Skadi took a venomous serpent, and tied it above Loki so that it would drip onto his face. His wife, Sigyn stood beside him with a bowl to catch the venom, though when the bowl became full, she would have to empty it out. At this moment, the venom would fall onto Loki&rsquo;s face, and cause him to writhe in pain. This would cause earthquakes to&nbsp; shake the world. And so there lies bound Loki, tended to by Sigyn until Ragnar&ouml;k.</p> Cat https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/cat help@asgsard.scot 15 2017-12-19T17:50:00 2017-12-19T17:50:00 #AsgardsYule Recipes - Cranachan <p>It wouldn&rsquo;t be Yule at Asgard without our favourite, easy to make dessert, Cranachan.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/19.12.17.2.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="900" /></p> <p>Vikings didn&rsquo;t have whisky, but we&rsquo;re pretty sure that if they did then they&rsquo;d add it to Cranachan. You can also leave the whisky out if you wish. You can really taste the whisky, so use a good one. We&rsquo;ll be putting Highland Park in ours this year.</p> <p><strong>Serves:&nbsp;4&nbsp; </strong></p> <ul> <li>6 tablespoons porridge oats</li> <li>150ml whipping cream</li> <li>6 tablespoons Scottish honey, divided</li> <li>4 tablespoons whisky, divided</li> <li>1 punnet of fresh raspberries</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Toast the oats in a hot dry pan over medium heat until browned and fragrant. Leave to cool.</li> <li>Mix five tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of the whisky into the cream and whip until thick but still floppy.</li> <li>Mix the rest of the honey and whisky into the oats. Layer the oat mixture, cream and raspberries into shallow individual bowls. Decorate with a little oatmeal and one raspberry. Serve chilled.</li> </ul> Cat https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/cat help@asgsard.scot 14 2017-12-08T11:49:00 2017-12-08T11:49:00 #AsgardsYule Recipes - Oyster Shells <p>Oyster Shells have been found in middens across the Viking world. They&rsquo;d make a great starter for any Yule feast. Allow 3-4 per person and open them as close to time of eating as possible.</p> <p><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/10.12.17.1.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="900" /></p> <p>Or you can bake them and dress with the following sauce:<br />pinch of pepper<br />pinch of ground lovage<br />2 egg yolks<br />1 tbls vinegar<br />1 tbls olive oil<br />1 tbls wine<br />1 tsp anchovy essence<br />1 tbls honey (optional)</p> <p>Mix the pepper and lovage with the egg yolks, then add the vinegar, a drop at a time, to make a smooth mixture. Stir in the olive oil, wine, and anchovy essence. Honey may be added if you like. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly and pour over oysters and serve.</p> <p><strong>Enjoy!</strong></p> Cat https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/cat help@asgsard.scot 13 2017-12-05T18:10:00 2017-12-05T18:10:00 #AsgardsYule Recipes - Roasted Purple Carrots <p><strong>Did you know that the Vikings had purple carrots?</strong> You can now find them in some supermarkets, greengrocers, or from farm shops.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Purple-Carrots1.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="900" /></p> <p>You can mix them with some parsnips, cover them in honey, and roast in the oven for a vibrant side dish this Yule.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Cat https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/cat help@asgsard.scot 12 2017-12-01T14:22:00 2017-12-01T14:22:00 #AsgardsYule Recipes - Mint & Garlic Coating <p>Do you fancy a change from lamb with rosemary this year? Try this mint and garlic coating instead.</p> <p>It's the first of our #AsgardsYule Festive Recipes...<img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/garlic-and-herbs-in-mortar-P6KPSQ5.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="561" /></p> <p>You&rsquo;ll need:<br />2oz butter<br />1 tsp salt<br />&frac12; tsp black pepper<br />2 heaped tablespoons of chopped parsley<br />2 cloves of garlic crushed or finely chopped<br />Half an finely chopped onion<br />1tbsp chopped fresh mint<br />3 heaped tbsp. of breadcrumbs</p> <p>Gently heat the butter in a pan until melted. Removed from the heat, and add the rest of the ingredients. Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is a little runny. Spread over the top of your lamb joint, and cook as normal.</p> <p>Don't worry, you can thank us later.</p> Cat https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/cat help@asgsard.scot 11 2017-11-08T17:30:00 2017-11-08T17:30:00 Is it Santa? Is it Odin? The Alternative Giftbringer <p>Hey guys,</p> <p>with less than two months till Christmas, today we want to talk a bit about the Viking god Odin, which some of you will recognise from our <a href="../shop/tattoo-design-clothing/t-shirts" target="_blank" rel="noopener">T-Shirts</a>, and how he might actually be related to the modern Santa Claus!</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/Monday.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="900" /></p> <p>Christmas and Vikings might not seem to have an immediate relation, but actually many Christmas traditions have their origins in the old Norse and Germanic cultures.</p> <p>You might already know that Christmas has its roots in the pagan celebration of Yule, the Midwinter Festival, celebrating the Winter Solstice. Traditions such as adorning the house with evergreens, decorating a tree, or the Yule-log all derived from the Nordic Yule fest.</p> <p>But did you know that even the figure of Santa Claus has been strongly influenced by Viking culture? Long before the figure of the modern Santa Claus became the bringer of gifts, Vikings had their own Father Christmas: the ruler of the gods, Odin.</p> <p>&nbsp;According to Norse mythology, Odin would lead the Wild Hunt across the world during the midwinter period, riding on his flying, eight-legged horse Sleipnir. Children would leave their boots by the fireplace, filled with straw and carrots for Sleipnir, and Odin would fill their boots with gifts in return. Over the centuries this has changed to leaving cookies and hanging stockings from the mantelpiece, but the traditions survived.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/Best Odin Card.jpg" width="579" height="827" /></p> <p>Odin didn&rsquo;t have have a sled with reindeer, but these are actually a pretty new appearance anyway: before the 19th century, St Nicholas, the Christian figure behind modern Santa, would mostly be portrayed as riding a horse instead. And what better way to travel over the world than a flying horse like Sleipnir!</p> <p>Physical traits of Santa Claus also point towards Odin: he was commonly portrayed as an old, cloaked man with a long, white beard. Sounds familiar, doesn&rsquo;t it?</p> <p>So if you want to honour an alternative &ldquo;Santa&rdquo; this festive season, why not get one of our <a href="../item/AT004-TM-odin-design-mens-t-shirt" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Odin T-shirts</a>&nbsp;or send an <a href="../item/MERCH009-odin-greetings-card">Odin Greetings Card</a>? And we might show you something new for the end of Odin's week, so keep tuned!</p> <p>And check out&nbsp;Eric W. Brown's page for an amusing take on Odin and Santa:&nbsp;<a href="http://infolocata.com/mirovia/irrefutable-proof-that-santa-is-odin/">Irrefutable Proof that Santa is Odin</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;<a title="Odin T-Shirt" href="../item/AT004-TM-odin-design-mens-t-shirt" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/odintshirtwlogosmall.jpg" width="700" height="700" /></a></p> Chiara https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/chiara help@asgsard.scot 9 2017-09-07T16:00:00 2017-09-07T16:00:00 Odin and the Runes T-Shirt - The Story behind the Design <p>Today we want to tell you a bit more about the story behind our newest T-shirt, Odin and the Runes:</p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/Odin and the Runes/odinrunes.jpg" alt="Odin and the Runes T-shirt Design" width="500" height="688" /></em></p> <p>In Norse mythology, it is told that Yggdrasil, the world-tree that holds all known nine worlds, grows out of the Well of Urd, often referred to as the Well of Destiny. In this well live three norns (Ur&eth;r, Ver&eth;andi, and Skuld), who carve the destiny of all people into the base of the tree. These carvings are the first account of the use of runes.</p> <p>According to the Old Norse poem <em>H&aacute;vam&aacute;l</em>, Odin, in his quest for more and more wisdom, comes across these norns and their runes, and sacrifices himself on the world-tree in order prove himself worthy of receiving the knowledge associated with the runes. After nine days and nights of teetering on the precipice of death, he is finally able to glimpse the runes in the depth of the well, and gain their wisdom and power.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Here is a translation of the poem:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>I know that I hung on a windswept tree.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Nine long nights.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Pierced with a spear, sacrificed to Odin, myself to myself.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>On that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn, downwards I peered;</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>I took up the Runes, screaming I took them,</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Then I fell back from there.</em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Did you know there are several different types of runic alphabets? They were used to write various Germanic languages before the Latin alphabet became more widely adopted, and referred to as Futhark or Futhorc. The three best-known runic alphabets are the Elder Futhark, the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, and the Younger Futhark.</p> <p>Our own Asgard Futhark is inspired by all three alphabets, as we wanted to be able to express all letters of the English alphabet, and therefore had to create an adjusted version. Below you can see an overview of our futhark and the correspondent English letters:</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/Odin and the Runes/Asgard Futhark_correct.jpg" alt="" width="401" height="569" /></p> <p>So if you want to pick a <a href="../shop/runes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">rune pendant</a>&nbsp;or <a href="../shop/rune-rings" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ring</a> with your initial, just find it on the chart. And there will be more jewellery with individual runes in our shop pretty soon, so stay tuned!</p> Chiara https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/chiara help@asgsard.scot 7 2017-06-22T17:17:00 2017-06-22T17:17:00 Is this the largest Thor's Hammer we've ever made? Making a replica of the large pendant from the Hiddensee hoard. <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/hiddenseeeditsquarelogo2.JPG" alt="Viking gold at its most shiny." width="656" height="656" /></p> <p>We first saw the massive Hiddensee hoard pendants in 2013 at the Vikings exhibition in the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, and nothing can prepare you for seeing just how big these pieces of gold jewellery really are! Of course, we were already familiar with the hoard, and the style of pendant is well known from the Viking era, but these individual pieces are just so big, that they were instantly added to the list of designs we wanted to make.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The original hoard &ndash; not the best picture, but like all others, it doesn&rsquo;t do the scale of the pieces justice.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/20131009_132216.jpg" alt="The original Hiddensee Hoard, in Copenhagen in 2013" width="514" height="514" /></em></p> <p>The hoard was found on Hiddensee Island, which is now in Germany, in 1873. It dates from the 10<sup>th</sup> century, and given the size of the pieces, and quantity of gold involved, it may be supposed that it originally belonged to Danish royalty. The design of the main pieces is usually thought to represent a Thor&rsquo;s hammer design, but the 10<sup>th</sup> Century was the time when Scandinavia was converting to Christianity, so it may be that these designs were deliberately shaped to merge the hammer and cross designs together, in the same way that the two cultures were merging together &ndash; with the enthusiastic support of the rulers of the time.</p> <p>Full size replicas of the original hoard have been made before, of course, there is one in the local museum in Hiddensee, and one was exhibited with the Viking exhibition in the Canadian Museum of History in 2015. Like the original pieces these have been made of granulated gold, and follow the original in that they consist of 4 different designs, 5 if you include the spacer, in 2 different sizes.</p> <p>Having been so taken by the scale of these designs in Copenhagen, I first started with a smaller version of this pendant type, based on the dimensions, and style of a find from Coppergate, in York. This one was a Patrice, or former, made of lead alloy, and used for making the granulated finished items. Now, being something of a specialist in the legitimate Viking jewellery technique of false filligree, where a master is carved in imitation of the granulated style, a mould is made from this and then cast, that was how I made our original Jorvik Hiddensee pendant.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>My interpretation of the Coppergate Hiddensee style pendant. Gold plated, of course.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/IMG_2367.JPG" alt="The coppergate Hiddensee style pendant. Gold plated." width="414" height="414" /></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Following this, and with the intention of completing the whole Hiddensee necklace, I made the spacer piece in 2016, again using that same method of carving the design, rather than full granulation. So, having tested out, and studied the designs, I then moved on to the larger pieces from the Hiddensee hoard in 2017.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The spacer piece from the Hiddensee Hoard</em><em>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/IMG_1703.JPG" alt="The spacer from the Hiddensee Hoard. In pewter." width="356" height="356" /> </em></p> <p>&nbsp;The major challenge with this piece is keeping the proportions, and style of the original. Remember, these pieces were made using a former to create the base plate for the granulation, so all of the pieces the same size would be roughly the same shape, having been formed over the same Patrice. So the first step was to carefully draw out the design, and figure out the intricacies of the knotwork, before getting started on the carving itself.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The working drawing. Combining some of the features of original Hiddensee pendants.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/Scan_2017051701.jpg" alt="My original working drawing of the design." width="422" height="307" /></em></p> <p>Of course, the original method of manufacture means that no two pendants are exactly the same, so combining the features and quirks of several pieces was done at this stage of the process, all drawn at 2x the final size.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Carving the master. Using traditional tools and methods, in a modern material, to more accurately reproduce the design of the original.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/Screenshot (7).png" alt="Carving the master. Using traditional tools and techniques." width="423" height="282" /></em></p> <p>Once this was finished, and the moulds made, we are able to cast the design in pewter, which we quickly launched on our website, they are available here - http://www.asgard.scot/shop/pewter-viking-pendants-rings</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Back on the drawing board. The finished Hiddensee pendant next to the working drawing.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/2017-06-06 13.36.55.jpg" alt="From drawing board to finished design. " width="432" height="243" /></em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>But there is one thing left to do, to reproduce the scale of the original Hiddensee hoard: get them plated with gold! We were able to do very quickly, and so, here we have, a full size, gold plated replica of one of the larger pendant designs from the Hiddensee hoard.</p> <p>And this piece, or even a full necklace, is now available to buy here -&nbsp;<a href="../shop/viking-pendants">http://www.asgard.scot/shop/viking-pendants</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<em>The finished, gold plated Hiddensee necklace.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/IMG_0162.JPG" alt="The finished Hiddensee necklace." width="676" height="380" /></em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>And this image demonstrates just how big it is!</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/hiddenseeeditsquarelogo3.JPG" alt="All the shiny Viking gold." width="656" height="656" /></em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>So, after all that, and with full size replica&rsquo;s of the Hiddensee pendant design, the only thing to do now, is the other 3 hammer designs. But this one will still be the largest hammer we&rsquo;ve ever produced!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>A gold necklace fit for a Valkyrie.</em></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/hiddenseeeditsquarelogo4.JPG" alt="Jewellery fit for a Valkyrie." width="656" height="656" /></p> Jim https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/jim help@asgsard.scot 4 2017-06-14T14:08:00 2017-06-14T14:08:00 JORVIK VIKING CENTRE GETS HELP FROM ASGARD <p style="text-align: left;">The grand reopening of the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, took place this year, on April 8<sup>th</sup> and Asgard are proud to have played a small part in the re-imagining of this world class display of Viking archaeology. We reproduced several Viking bone, antler, and metal objects&nbsp;from the Jorvik collection. Some will go on sale in the shop, and others will be used by staff to demonstrate the Viking way of life including an intricate, thousand year old, working padlock.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/W4biCtNyPDE" width="560" height="314" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: left;">The museum closed in December of 2015 after it was inundated by the flood waters from the River Foss. Since then a huge effort has taken place to raise over &pound;1.5 million and reimagine the museum ready for the reopening. It has been an enourmous effort involving many different contributors from across the world.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Jim taking detailed measurements at the York Archaeological Trust in August 2016.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/2016-07-15 11.31.31.jpg" alt="Jim taking detailed measurements at the York Archaeological Trust in August 2016." width="486" height="322" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Jim and the team agreed to recreate several artefacts, which had been uncovered in the original Coppergate excavations. Amongst the artefacts were antler objects including combs with their cases, &nbsp;&nbsp;hair pins, gaming pieces and a die. There are also bronze cloak pins, tweezers and a fake dirham &ndash; an imitation of an arabic coin. Real Dirhams would originally have made their way from the arabic world to York in the 9<sup>th</sup> century, where they were prized for their silver content. There are also many brooches, bracelets and rings that Asgard have painstakingly recreated, and will be sold in the Jorvik shop. Perhaps the most complex artefact they have recreated, is an ornate iron and bronze Viking padlock of the 10<sup>th</sup> century.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The workings of the reconstructed Coppergate padlock.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/padlockworkings.jpg" alt="The workings of the reconstructed Coppergate padlock." width="363" height="363" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Jim of Asgard recalls,</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>&nbsp;&ldquo;When we received the call from Jorvik Viking Center, I couldn&rsquo;t wait to get started. When you spend your life recreating Viking jewellery and artefacts, the chance to visit the Jorvik collection and handle the originals is incredible. I got to examine in minute detail all the objects that we were to reproduce, taking detailed measurements and drawings. We wanted to recreate these objects as they would have been when they were first crafted in Viking York over a thousand years ago.&rdquo;</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Getting up close with a Viking age antler comb.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/2016-07-15 12.01.31.jpg" alt="Getting up close with a Viking age antler comb." width="484" height="321" /></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Detailed pictures of the finds were taken, giving us more information than was previously available.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/2016-07-15 12.07.30-1.jpg" alt="Detailed pictures of the finds were taken, giving us more information than was previously available." width="484" height="294" /></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The Coppergate padlock, in all its rusted glory.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/2016-07-15 15.11.24.jpg" alt="The Coppergate padlock, in all its rusted glory." width="469" height="311" /></em></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Armed with these detailed records, Jim returned to his workshop and created models of the metal objects. Where corrosion had removed detail from the orginals, Jim used his extensive knowledge of Viking artefacts to interpret the missing details. The arabic writing on the fake dirham was a particular challenge, something that had even taxed the Viking craftsmen who produced the forgeries of the arabic originals. Jim;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>&nbsp;&ldquo;There are examples of Viking forgeries of Dirhams where they obviously didn&rsquo;t understand the Arabic text they were copying. The Coppergate forgery would have been more convincing. We couldn&rsquo;t see the entirety of the script, so we had to reference other similar coins found in Britain. These are beautiful coins and we wanted to do them justice. &ldquo;</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Reproduction in pewter of the Coppergate Dirhem.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/jorvikdirham.jpg" alt="Reproduction in pewter of the Coppergate Dirhem." width="357" height="357" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;The real challenge was to replicate the incredible Viking padlock, that had suffered heavy corrosion in the ten centuries since its burial. Jim describes the challenge;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;I needed to understand the construction both inside and out, in some ways the corrosion was a blessing that allowed us to peek into the inner structure. The original craftsman had used brazing techniques to, where they flooded the joints of the padlock with molten bronze. This would originally have been done using a charcoal hearth, to heat the metal to over 800 degrees centigrade, the temperature at which bronze would melt. We didn&rsquo;t have the time to recreate the original methods, and luckily I could use a modern blow torch to achieve a similar effect.&rdquo;</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Brazing the padlock in the workshop.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/fireypadlock.jpg" alt="Brazing the padlock in the workshop." width="388" height="388" /></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Ring pins based on the Coppergate designs.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/ringpinssquare.jpg" alt="Ring pins based on the Coppergate designs." width="386" height="386" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The finished combs. Made of antler, these are now the best reproductions of Viking originals we have ever made.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/combs.jpg" alt="The finished combs. Made of antler, these are now the best reproductions of Viking originals we have ever made." width="389" height="389" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Most of the items that were made for the Jorvik Viking Centre by Asgard.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/allthejorvik.jpg" alt="Most of the items that were made for the Jorvik Viking Centre by Asgard." width="391" height="391" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">All of these objects are now in their new home at the Jorvik Viking centre, which is now completely open again. The pewter brooches, bracelets, rings, and that Dirhem are also available to buy from the JVC shop, and here, on Asgard.scot.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">There is a lot more we could say about the invdidual techniques, some of which were quite experimental, that went into the making of the Coppergate reproductions. We're hoping to get to that in a future blog.&nbsp;</p> Jim https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/jim help@asgsard.scot 3 2017-06-13T14:41:00 2017-06-13T14:41:00 The craft of Asgard - where it all started. By Jim Glazzard. <p style="text-align: left;">I graduated from the University of York with a degree in Archaeology in 1994, and an interest in Viking culture that was expressed through Viking re-enactment. Involving fighting, re-creating some Viking age objects for personal use, and, what I later came to realise was, interpreting Viking age history and archaeology for the general public at events up and down the British Isles.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Below -&nbsp;A very young archaeology student, just discovering Viking re-enactment.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/veryyoung.jpg" alt="A very young archaeology student, just discovering Viking re-enactment." width="279" height="409" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">And this could have been as far as it went, indeed many re-enactors are happy to do just that, engrossing themselves in a hobby that draws on existing knowledge of the Viking age,&nbsp; and presents it in a fun, entertaining way, on a bank holiday at a historic site somewhere.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">For me, this all stepped up a gear when, in 1999, I got a job with the Jorvik Viking Centre as one of their &lsquo;in house&rsquo; Vikings, an interpreter by job description, and entertainer in practice. But it was here that I really started looking closely at the Viking age artefacts, it can&rsquo;t be helped really, when surrounded by them day in day out. And I looked at the objects I, and other re-enactors, used for our interpretations, and looked at the original objects, and saw the difference.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Combs and cloakpins were objects I was particularly drawn to, and I resolved to make some. How hard can it be? I asked myself. Well I found out. The first issue was, of course, that there was no Viking age manual of how to do these things, so I had to work it out myself. There are reports, and scholarly works, of course, but their conclusions on the methods used for making an item such as a Viking comb were not based on practical experience, at least, not in 1999. So I made some, and as I left the JVC at the end of the 1999 summer season, I spent a bit of time in 2000 perfecting the methods for making combs, cloakpins. And other pieces that were useful to re-enactors, like dice, bone and brass needles, tweezers, scales, that sort of thing. I would sell these to re-enactors where I could, and visited Norway for the first time, attending the Karmoy Viking festival, which is where I fell in love with the concept of the open air Viking Museum.This period of ad-hoc trading &nbsp;was, effectively, the first version of the business that is now Asgard.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">My first workshop was in an outhouse of a house I rented a room in, my second was in the front room of my next rented house, but at this stage there was not enough money in doing this to pay the bills, so I went back to work, wherever I could, including a short stint in commercial field Archaeology.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">At the end of 2000, I moved to Bradford to be with my now wife, Cat, and carried on making Viking bits and bobs in my spare time while I worked office jobs, and whatever paid the bills. Workshop 3 was in the shed at the back of our house. We founded Asgard, as Asgard Crafts, at the start of 2002, and began trading at re-enactment shows, pushing our Vauxhall Astra Estate car to its limits as we sped around the country from show to show with a Viking tent lashed to the roof rack, and the back loaded up with gear and dogs.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The Asgard Crafts stall, about 2002. Somewhere in England!</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/MORDEN02.JPG" alt="The Asgard Crafts stall, about 2002." width="486" height="364" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Demonstrating antler comb making, at a very windy Carlisle Castle.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Copy of RIMG0469.JPG" alt="Demonstrating antler comb making." width="272" height="362" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">This was fun, but we had to do a lot of buying in and selling of stuff I didn&rsquo;t make, to pay the bills. So we saw how much of a difference jewellery makes to the trader at a weekend show. I was also gaining a reputation for high quality replicas of Viking age artefacts suitable for use in museum displays, which helped keep the business going through the winter.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>At the, very wet, Karmoy Viking Festival, 2002.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/NORWAY007.JPG" alt="At the, very wet, Karmoy Viking Festival, 2002. " width="487" height="365" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">In 2004, with our first child on the way, we made the hugest decision it was possible to make, we moved to Scotland, to Plockton in the Highlands, and carried on working and travelling where we could. Our aim was to get a shop/workshop in the area, but this was slow going, so I worked on the first jewellery designs to be cast in pewter at the kitchen table. I was doing some casting on the stove, in home made moulds, but we needed something more professional. So we got another company to cast the first 8 designs.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The Lochcarron shop in the snow.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/theoldshop.jpg" alt="The Lochcarron shop in the snow." width="517" height="388" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">We moved to the shop in Lochcarron at the start of 2006, and attracted a lot of tourist trade, &nbsp;selling hand made Viking reproduction artefacts: combs, bone pins, cloak pins and jewellery. We also sold&nbsp;incense, gifts and fair trade clothing. The museum commissions kept coming in, and I expanded my knowledge of Viking age craft techniques, all based on research and experimentation, gradually moving more towards the metalworking techniques. Silver and copper alloys became specialities. It was while we were there that we expanded the pewter jewellery range, drawing on the results of the experimentation, and following my research into Viking designs.&nbsp; Around 2009 we started casting our own pewter designs on a more serious level, as the wholesale and website sales grew.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Stall at the Jorvik Viking Festival - with much more pewter on display.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikstall.jpg" alt="Stall at the Jorvik Viking Festival - with much more pewter on display." width="401" height="535" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">In 2011 Asgard, as it was now known, seeing as the majority of our sales were from our pewter jewellery range, had outgrown the little shop in Lochcarron, so we moved to the Isle of Skye. Based on an industrial estate in Broadford, we increased the scale of production significantly, and continued to produce more designs as our market, and worldwide interest in Viking culture grew.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Jim and Paddy taking a break from the foundry work, in a rare moment of sunshine on the Isle of Skye.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/broadfordworkshop.jpg" alt="Jim and Paddy taking a break from the foundry work, in a rare moment of sunshine on the Isle of Skye." width="200" height="200" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Our final (hopefully!) move was in 2015, as we found that not only was the Broadford workshop getting a bit small, but we also needed to be closer to transport links to the global audience we were now attracting for our products, we decided to move to Dunoon, in Argyll. An hour away from Glasgow, but still close to the water and west coast Scottish scenery and culture that brought this Viking enthusiast to Scotland in the first place. This stunning part of Britain is almost exactly like the parts of Scandinavia we visit at every opportunity, and is the perfect setting for the further growth of Asgard, which is now a globally recognised brand, noted for the way we remain true to ancient Viking age design, while bringing that design to a modern audience. Providing a tangible link to the past, and&nbsp; interpreting what we know of the Viking age culture and crafts to a wider audience than ever before. Which is great, because that is what I wanted to do in the first place.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>&nbsp;The Asgard stand as it now appears at various trade fairs through the year.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/12022332_10156134590280093_8896141757961214247_o.jpg" alt="The Asgard stand as it appears at various trade fairs through the year." width="539" height="404" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Still taking out a Viking stall - after all these years. Here at the Lofotr Viking Festival, in 2016.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://www.asgard.scot/images/library/IMG_1222.JPG" alt="Still taking out a Viking stall - after all these years. Here at the Lofotr Viking Festival, in 2016." width="227" height="404" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Afterword.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">This piece was intended as an introduction to my work and the development of Asgard into the phenomenon it is today. I have said nothing of the associations with Viking Metal bands, film and TV work and appearances, or really much about the experimental archaeology and replica work we carry out. I&rsquo;ll get more into that another time. Stay tuned!</p> Jim https://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/jim help@asgsard.scot