In the late 1980s, 30 assorted glass beads were found during the excavation of the Chieftain’s House (Borg I). The occurrence of melted glass here has been to some extent proven, but we have no evidence of the manufacture of beads at Borg. The majority of these beads are most likely imported, but the bead material found at Borg has not been thoroughly examined beyond an account of the finds written by Ulf Näsmann in the main publication about Borg: “Beads of amber, carnelian, glass, jet rock-crystal and stones,” pp. 231-240.
Jannika Grimbe built a bead making furnace of clay in the living quarters of the Chieftain’s House and demonstrated bead making as we believe it was done in the Viking Age.
Viking Age Fare
Taste and the sense of smell are equally as important to your experience of the Viking Age as your eyesight or hearing. In collaboration with food researcher Daniel Serra, the museum arranged a food exhibition with food samples, permanent and shifting exhibitions, and culinary activities for the public.
Part of the project also involved experiments and documentation using a cooking pit.
Replica of the Skjoldehamn Costume
Over the course of two seasons, Dan Halvard Løvlid has made a replica of the Skjoldehamn costume.
It can be found in our permanent exhibition. The Skjoldehamn costume probably dates back to the 1000s or 1200s.
Building a Dry Stone Wall
For several years, Arthur Johansen has been building dry stone walls near the Chieftain’s House.
Apart from reintroducing dry stone walls into the cultural landscape at Borg, the walls are a necessity around the pig sty in order to keep the pigs in place – they do not always respect electric fences.
Replica of a Horse’s Bridle
During the excavation of the Chieftain’s House, the buckle from a horse’s bridle dating back to the early Merovingian Period was found. The find is from the oldest phase of the house, i.e. the 67 metre long hall that was in use during the period from c. 600-700 AD. Similar fastenings have been found in graves (Vendel amongst others), and the large fastenings were found in pairs together with a couple of smaller ones. Laura Bunse, student of archaeology in Tromsø, wanted to reconstruct a leather bridle and its fastenings.
Woodcarving of a Horse’s Head
As part of a new exhibition in the prospective new building, the replica of the bridle will be mounted on a full-scale wooden sculpture of a horse’s head. One of the horses at Borg was model for the sculpture which was crafted by Doreen Wehrhold.
Oil Production in a Melting Pit
Lofotr Viking Museum carried out experiments with the burning of seal and whale blubber in reconstructed Iron Age melting pits in Kvænangen, Nord-Troms in 2008.
Oil Lamps as a Source of Light in the Chieftain’s House
Lofotr Viking Museum’s Lars Erik Narmo and Gøril Nilsen from Tromsø University’s Institute of Archaeology have carried out successful experiments with the production of oil from seal and whale blubber in reconstructed Iron Age melting pits. The results were pursued further in a project where the oil was used for lighting. An assortment of oils from seal, whale and cod were tested in oil lamps with a variety of wicks.
Coal burning, iron smeltery and the further development of bloomery iron
Lofotr Viking Museum has been experimenting with coal burning and iron smelting for a number of years. Since 2007, the experiments have been carried out in association with Kittilbu Utmarksmuseum (Wilderness Museum) in Gausdal (a branch of the Randsfjord Museum).
At the museum we have constructed a replica of a bloomery from the 700s. In our experience with the use of such a bloomery, the chimney of burnt clay disintegrates during the winter, before the material itself is worn out. This indicates that the furnace must have been placed under a roof of some kind. Part of our work on the bloomery in 2010, involves building a roof (of staves) over the furnace/bellows.