Vikings invade Fife galleries for real-life heroes exhibition this summer
Real-life heroes featuring in the show at Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries include the legendary Eric Bloodaxe, ruthless adventurer Harald Hardrada and warrior woman Lathgertha. Also spotlighted in the exhibition – which opened on July 1 – are bold explorer Leif the Lucky, fearsome warrior Sweyn Forkbeard and mighty King Harald Bluetooth.
Norse valour and inventiveness are key elements of the show, which is a touring exhibition from the award-winning JORVIK Group of Attractions based in York.
Heroes’ stories are told through a series of display panels, replica objects and even human remains displaying battle injuries. Curators are keen to stress, however, it is not all lore about gore … stories about Vikings as traders, farmers and craftspeople feature too.
Alice Pearson, a curator with the cultural charity OnFife, which runs the exhibition venue, said: “The exhibition is all about discovering the real people behind the myths. Visitors can explore how each of these Norse celebrities has been celebrated and examine what the archaeological evidence can tell us about their lives.”
A series of free drop-in events, aimed at all ages – and featuring special Viking guests –– will complement the exhibition, which runs until November 19. Gallery-goers can meet ever-resourceful Ingheid on July 26 and find out about the clothes she makes for herself, her warrior husband and others. Master storyteller Oddleif will be presenting tales of gods and mischief on August 2 and also showing off some of his treasures and weapons. Versatile craftsman Sigurd will be popping in on August 9 to talk about must-have Viking accessories, including belts, combs and cloak pins.
Fife was part of the kingdom of the Picts at the start of the Viking era and its coastal position made it vulnerable to attacks. Raids took place as early as AD 839 when the Pictish king Uuen was killed fighting a Viking army. Although the Vikings are more readily associated with Scotland’s northern and western fringes, archaeological evidence for Norse activity in Fife continues to emerge.
Sarah Maltby, director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust, the owners of The JORVIK Group, explained: “The Heroes exhibition brings these Viking champions’ stories to life, drawing on historical and archaeological evidence to help explore how these people were celebrated and commemorated in their time and ours.”
Heroes of the Viking World runs at Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries until 19 November. Admission is free. Find out more at www.onfife.com