Experimental archaeology: putting theories to the test

  • 3.5.2022 kl. 12 The Lecture Hall - National Museum of Iceland

William R. Short and Reynir A. Óskarson

Dr. William R. Short and Reynir A. Óskarson of Hurstwic (hurstwic.com) will give a lecture at the National Museum, on Tuesday May 3 at 12 PM. The lecture is about the use of experimental archaeology in historical research, using experiments in settlement-era iron-making in Iceland as the example to explain the concept. The Lecture is in English and will also be live-streamed from YouTube.

Experimental archaeology is a method of physically testing the past. For more than 20 years has the Hurstwic group used scientific methods to research Viking combat and Viking society. The group extensively uses experimental archaeology in their research.

More conventional sources, such as archaeological or literary sources, can advance research only to a certain point, when it comes to specialized fields such as combat or iron making. Experimental archaeology is invaluable for taking a hazy picture and making it clearer. The approach has allowed the Hurstwig group to test theories about the nature of the past.

In this lecture, Dr. William R. Short and Reynir A. Óskarsson will talk about the process and benefits of experimental archaeology and discuss how they used experiments to unlock the secrets of iron-making in Iceland, as well as to make advances in several other areas of research. Many of these examples will be drawn from their new book, Men of Terror: A comprehensive analysis of Viking combat.

The lecture is related to a new exhibition at the National Museum, From Mire to Metal. The exhibition is in collaboration with Hurstwic LLC and Eiríksstaðir, where the bloomery experiments were conducted in 2019.

Admission to the museum is needed. Free for Annual Card holders and free for children up to 18 years of age. An Annual Card costs ISK 2,500. and offers access to all exhibitions and events at the National Museum of Iceland.