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Monday, May 10, 2010

the Viking Age comes to Wareham!

Nothing can bring the Viking Age to life like costumed historic interpreters surrounded with the personal goods and tools of the past. Artefacts that seem puzzling when seen in a museum exhibit or book suddenly become clear when seen in use or in placed in your hand.

The Dark Ages Recreation Company has once again been invited by Parks Canada to come and demonstrate the living history of the first Europeans to explore North America at L'Anse aux Meadows NHSC in Newfoundland. As a part of our preparation for this presentation in August, we are mounting a full dress run-through in Wareham on June 12th from 10am to 4pm.

You are most welcome to drop by and visit with members of the company as they practice their skills and fine tune the presentation areas. This presentation will be of particular interest to students in Grade 6 (Explorer's unit) or Grade 11 (archaeology), teachers involved in those topic areas, or other groups with an interest in traditional historic skills such as scouts and guides.

There are no fees to attend this special event!

Wareham is located just of highway 10, close to Flesherton Ontario. Directions are available on the Wareham Forge Website. (

Living History - What does it look like?

DARC focuses on daily life in the Viking Age. The presentation will centre on a 'camp', with costumed interpreters surrounded by a collection of replica objects consisting of domestic goods, tools, and storage. At the rehearsal, simple overhead covers and tents will mimic the buildings which we will use at L'Anse aux Meadows. Individuals will be outfitted with the tools of their various trades and arts, all representing our real interests and skills. (We really are weavers and cooks, blacksmiths and carvers.) All of the objects seen, from clothing to tents, are based on specific artifact prototypes.
To the public, the members of DARC present themselves as actual voices from the past, with shared experiences as a group and direct personal histories. Individual members of DARC have prepared detailed characterizations based on their personal research into the Viking Age, developing considerable expertise in specialized areas. These characters are the 'common man': artisans, merchants or farmers typical of the Norse of the North Atlantic circa 1000 AD. Any conversation is likely to begin at this 'role playing' level of historic interpretation. The interpretive level used is then shifted to suit the needs of individual visitors. Some people delight in talking to a character from 1000 years ago, others are more comfortable with more of a modern commentary. Interpreters are able to handle a wide range of topics and level of detail.
Demonstrations being prepared for this presentation will include:

* antler and bone carving
* soapstone carving
* spinning
* natural dyes
* game playing
* simple musical instruments
* wood work (spring pole lathe)
* coin minting
* weaving
* iron smelting (did you know that the norse made the first iron in Canada 500 years before Columbus arrived?)

The use of replicas, although still historically accurate, allows the public to personally handle tools and materials. In many cases you can actually try a technique or help out with a task.
A team with proven experience!

DARC has provided skilled and well equipped interpreters for special programs for all of the major events and exhibitions that marked the 'Viking Millennium' in Canada. No other group of Canadian re-enactors has as much accumulated museum experience. As a group and as individuals, members have worked both throughout Canada and the USA. Personal research has taken members to museums and archaeological sites across Iceland, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.

Interested in Discussing Details?

Darrell Markewitz - organizes DARC's museum presentations and serves as the museum contact. Not only one of the original founders of DARC, he brings extensive museum experience as a consultant on educational programing and staff trainer for Parks Canada and other major institutions.


Darrell Markewitz
Interpretive Program Designer
Hamlet of Wareham
RR # 2 - Proton Station, Ontario
N0C 1L0 Canada
(519) 923-9219

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