Welcome to Harald the Smith – a blog dedicated to unlocking the wisdom of craft, archaeology and living history.

One of the reason for creating this blog was not only to spread knowledge about and increase understanding of the interplay of craft, archaeology and cultural heritage, but also to nurture a certain set of values centred on a genuine pride in doing things well, which fine craftsmen have managed to preserve in our modern age.

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with cheap thrills. A fast world of ever shortening attention spans and mindless action. A world filled with garbage by quick cycles of mass production, mass consumption and mass abandonment of products which are mediocre at best. This blog is an act open act of rebellion against such a world. It is dedicated to all who believe that there is still space for craft in such a world and that getting your hands dirty does not make you a mindless labourer.

This blog urges you to step back, take a deep breath, focus and then do something properly.

Who is Harald the Smith?

My name is Črtomir Harald Lorenčič and I am an eternal wanderer in space and time. Sometimes a cynic and sometimes a dreamer, I live many interwoven lives, held together by an interest for the time period 500-1200 CE and a fascination with ancient craft. These two fuel my constant thirst for new skills and knowledge and my work as a craftsman, scholar and re-enactor.

Harald the Craftsman

Photo: D. Badovinac

I am self-taught Bladesmith – a tamer of fire and the elements who shapes steel according to his will. Most of my work is inspired by archaeological finds from the European Early Middle Ages and the Viking Age, but I occasionally produce modern knives as well. In my pursuit to understand the work of past craftsmen, I have learned to smelt my own iron from ore in a bloomery furnace. In the last years I have participated at international gatherings of blacksmiths and iron-smelters across Europe. You can see some of my work in the gallery.

Harald the Scholar

Photo: M. Lukic

My growing interest as a craftsman in historical blades, namely early medieval knives, saxes and swords, led me to seek out higher learning in the field of archaeology. I finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, with a Bachelor thesis on the early medieval weapon finds in Slovenia.  I did my share fieldwork in research and commercial archaeology, excavating sites ranging from the Stone Age to the Early Middle Ages. I also have experience in promoting cultural heritage through public outreach projects. Some of the project which I have collaborated on involved building an Iron Age farmstead, reproducing Roman woodworking tools for a boat-building project, and demonstrating ancient cooking techniques.

In 2016/17 I was a part of the 1st generation students to pursue an MSc. in ‘Experimental Archaeology & Material Culture’ at University College Dublin, Ireland. For my final research project I studied early medieval ironwork in Ireland through experimental bloomery smelting, blacksmithing and metallography of reproduced objects. Along with my degree, I was also awarded the Ruadhri de Valera Memorial Prize for ‘best postgraduate student in the School of Archaeology’.

The award winning thesis, ‘The Ironworker’s Craft’ is available on Academia.

Harald the Viking

Photo: M. Perko

My last defining passion is living history, which deals with reconstructing past life. I believe that living history is one of the most potent tools for presenting the past to the public, while also offering a great deal of fun for the participant and visitor.  I am a member of the Norwegian Viking Age living history group Trondheim Vikinglag, and can occasionally be found near a camp forge at one of the many historical markets held across Northern Europe.

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