The 2014 exhibition Vikings: Life and Legend was brought to the screen, telling this fascinating story with plenty of clarity – but somehow feeling slightly flat.
Filled with fascinating objects and capturing the story of the Vikings, it is certainly clear that in the creation of this exhibition, the British Museum put a lot of thought and research into unveiling this fascinating part of history.
Following on from the success of Pompeii Live, the British Museum’s live broadcast exploring Vikings:Life and Legend, effectively cuts through some of the myths that surround the viking era to bring to life the true history. It is a story filled with battles, treasure, adventure and of course ships.
Having missed out on seeing this exhibition in person, Vikings Live offers a wonderful opportunity to explore it – even more so with the additional information that is provided by a variety of experts throughout. Details as to the importance of the ships – even showing how the vikings would have built one using traditional tools is a particular highlight that reveals how forward thinking they were.
The huge variety of objects on display is completely astounding, with many having been discovered in more recent years, from dainty broaches to parts of what was the largest ship to be discovered placed right at the heart of the exhibition. It effectively covers all of the important elements of Viking life, through a more documentary style which at times can come across as rather flat and clinical in places.
However, this being said the exhibition itself comes across as a very comprehensive and engaging, with unusual objects such as ear spoons and a cup filled with 700 different pieces of treasure that is beautifully decorated – shining a light on the workmanship that the Vikings clearly took pride in.
This is a part of history that deserves more attention than it gets, enhancing further that perhaps that the history children are taught in schools needs to be re-examined to offer more variety than simply the more traditionally taught parts.
Overall, this is a fascinating topic that has been richly explored in both the exhibition and live event but could have perhaps been presented in a more engaging way.
By Emma Clarendon
Vikings Live is available to watch through Youtube now.