Cross-dressing and magical flying

28/04/2012 - 28/04/2012 Leicester, University of
Location: University of Leicester

Viking experts are converging on the University of Leicester to discuss topics ranging from the high-profile, grisly murder of Archbishop St Ælfheah one thousand years ago this April,  to a discussion of linguistic evidence for magical flying and cross-dressing male deities in Viking mythology.

A unique Viking boat burial, the first discovery of its kind on the UK’s mainland, will be celebrated at the 2012 Viking Symposium hosted by the University of Leicester on 28 April, with photographs of the recent groundbreaking excavation of the one thousand year old boat burial on display for all to appreciate.

The conference also includes a tour of landscapes of violence and governance in an era well known for its bloody nature.

Dr Philip Shaw of the University’s School of English said of the Symposium: “We’re delighted to welcome this year’s Symposium to Leicester, at a time when we’re seeing exciting developments in Viking Studies at the University.  The Symposium offers an invaluable opportunity for us to engage in discussion with the general public on the latest research on the Vikings, and the exciting new discoveries that specialists in the area continue to make.

“2011 saw the discovery of the Ardnamurchan Viking boat burial by a team co-directed by Leicester’s Dr Oliver Harris. The display of images from the fully intact Viking boat burial site will offer a detailed visual illustration of the period under discussion; the exhibition is an excellent opportunity for members of the public to see a tangible example of a historical culture’s burial rites brought to life through one of the most important archaeological finds of recent years.”

The importance of the discoveries of artefacts by hobbyists and members of the public is highlighted in a discussion led by Wendy Scott, the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s Finds Liaison Officer for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, who will explain how cataloguing these finds can impact upon the research of experts. The scheme recognises the valuable contribution of Viking enthusiasts and hobbyists.

Dr Shaw said of the scheme: ”It offers the possibility of gaining a much richer view of the past, both across the country and in our local area.”

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