The AIA Iowa Society Lecture Program Joukowsky Lecture Series: Dragon Boats of the North: Viking Longships

Presentation by John Hale, University of Louisville

Viking ships are among the most remarkable artifacts in the entire realm of archaeological discovery, dominating European history for the three centuries between 800 and 1100 AD.  As warships they terrorized coasts from Scotland to the Mediterranean; as trading craft they ventured down the rivers of Russia to Byzantium, and as vessels of exploration and colonization they crossed the open Atlantic to Ireland, Iceland, Greenland and ultimately America.  Yet all these amazing achievements were accomplished by open, undecked ships with a few oars and a single square sail.

The 19th century witnessed dramatic finds of royal Viking ships in Norwegian burial mounds along Oslo fjord.  More recently, underwater archaeologists have recovered virtually intact Viking ships from harbors in Denmark.  The most ambitious project in the field of experimental archaeology has involved the reconstruction and sea trials of many Viking ship types.  John Hale has traced the ancestry of Viking ships all the way back to sewn-plank canoes of the Scandinavian Bronze Age, and shows the links between these remarkable ships and the watercraft of the Pacific and central Africa.

The Archaeological Institute of American (AIA) Iowa Society Lecture Program is a joint initiative of  the Office of the State Archaeologist, the University of Iowa Departments of Anthropology, Classics, Religion, Art and Art History, the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, and the Iowa Academy of Science.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Mark Anderson in advance at mark-l-anderson@uiowa.edu.

 

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