Vikings: Life and Legend at the British Museum
Most of what we think about the Vikings is in fact wrong. While archaeologists agree that the Vikings were bearded, blood-thirsty barbarians who reigned over four continents for 300 years, they also point out that these intrepid explorers were keen artists, who imported and exported luxuriant jewels just to flaunt their wealth.
Does their grotesque, barbaric reputation proceed them then? Well, this is just one theme that 'Vikings: Life and Legend' at the British Museum hopes to answer. The British Museum has held its fair share of impressive exhibitions, displaying some of the greatest historical finds from ages past, but Viking memorabilia hasn't sailed over to these shores for over 30 years - until now.
The Viking Age (800 - 1050) was a period of major change across Europe. The Vikings expanded from their Scandinavian homeland to create an international network, converging artistic and religious ideologies over four continents. You could say that they left a pretty impressive mark on history, one which in some ways has affected the way we live our lives today.
The Vikings' skill in shipbuilding is well-known. In fact, their ships and seafaring adventures are central to their culture and achievements, which is why Roskilde VI, the mightiest Viking warship ever constructed, features as this exhibits spectacular centre piece. The Roskilde VI, which dates back to around 1025 and is said to have 'spread terror wherever she sailed', is massive, stretching a whopping 37 metres. Admittedly, only a third of it is genuine timber - the rest is made up of steel construction replicating the ship's recognisable shape - but it's still an impressive sight. The Roskilde VI dominates the room; it's sure to be an Instagram favourite.
The exhibition will also present personal objects, including jewellery, amulets and idols, which all help to reveal more about how the Vikings lived. It's an educational trip back into a period of history that continues to intrigue and excite the imagination, yet is still strangely familiar.
The British Museum opened the exhibition on 6th March 2014 and it is on until 22nd June, so there's plenty of time to visit the Roskilde VI ship and all the other Viking antiquities.
For tickets (priced £16.50 for adult, free for children under 16) it's recommended that you book online, as there are only a limited number of tickets released by the museum each day and queues might be lengthy.
If you intend to travel to London to catch this enlightening exhibition at the British Museum, why not make your stay in the capital that much more memorable by checking out and checking in to one of our luxurious central London hotels?