This is an ever-improving and constantly expanding list of useful tutorials, links, articles and books dealing with craft and living history. Make sure to visit this page every now and then to check for updates.
Various books which I find interesting and useful in creating content for my posts.
Rasmussen, M. (2007) Iron Age houses in flames: testing house reconstructions at Lejre. Historical-Archaeological Experimental Center. – A collection of articles on the experiemental construction and destruction of prehistoric houses, published by the museum and research centre at Lejre, DK.
Coles, J. (1973) Archaeology by Experiment & Experimental Archaeology (1979) – These two books in many ways defined experimental archaeology as a discipline. A variety of topics which can be investigated are presented, as well as a telling of the development of the discipline from its early beginnings in the 19th century until the 1970’s.
Arwidsson, G. & Berg, G. (1983) The Mästermyr Find: A Viking Age Tool Chest From Gotland. Larson Publishing. – A comprehensive study and catalogue of an old find of a wooden chest which contained one of the most complete sets of Viking Age/early medieval woodworking and metalworking tools. Contains archaeological and ethnographic comparisons for the finds, notes on their use and manufacture, as well as some metallographic analysis of the tools.
Hošek, J., Cleere, H. & Mihok, L. (eds.) (2011) The Archaeometallurgy of Iron. Recent Developments in Archaeological and Scientific Research. AV ČR. – A collection of academic articles on ancient iron. Covers a variety of time periods and geographical areas from the UK to Russia. Available on Academia.
Pleiner, R. (2000) Iron in Archaeology. The European Bloomery Smelters. AV ČR. – A collection of Pleiner’s life work on early iron production, translated into English. An excellent starting point if you are looking to compare metalworking practices in different regions. Available on Academia.
Pleiner, R. (2006) Iron in Archaeology. Early European Blacksmiths. AV ČR. – The compendium of Radomir Pleiner’s opus magnum on ironworking in Europe. Contains information on finds of blacksmithing workshops, tools, furnaces, techniques of manufacture of iron objects and so on.
Scott, B. G. (1991) Early Irish Ironworking. Ulster Museum. – Describes the development of iron smelting and blacksmithing in Ireland from the Early Iron Age until the end of the Early Middle Ages. Contains collections of metallographial analyses of iron objects from each time period.
Arms & Armour
Dickinson, T. & H. Härke (1992) Early Anglo-Saxon Shields. Archaeologia 110. The Society of Antiquaries of London. – An overview of the archaeological finds of shields – primarily their metal bosses – from Britain. Includes chapters on form, reconstruction, use and role in combat, as well as archaeological context. Available on Academia.
Geibig, A. (1991) Beiträge zur morphologischen Entwicklung des Schwertes im Mittelalter. Eine Analyse des Fundmaterials vom ausgehenden 8. bis zum 12. Jahrhundert aus Sammlungen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Karl Wachholtz Verlag. – A comprehensive catalogue, study and typology of Central European early medieval swords.
Oakeshott, E. (1964) The Sword in the Age of Chivalry. Boydell Press. – This is the classic study on European swords 1050-1550 CE. When you hear about a sword being described as an Oakeshott type XVa, this is the book where this typology comes from.
Peirce I. (2002) Swords of the Viking Age. Boydell Press. – A catalogue of Viking Age swords from Northern Europe, UK and Ireland. Gives an updated version of Petersen’s (1919) typology of Viking swords.
Jewellery & Decorative Arts
Salin, B. (1904) Die Altgermanische Tierornamentik. – The original reference work which defined the ‘animal styles’ in Barbaric/Germanic art. Covers finds from the 4th until the 9th century from across all Europe, as well as a comparative study of Irish material. Presents a study of typology and chronology which has stood the test of time surprisingly well. Even if you do not read German, the drawings are a great resource. Available Online
Textiles & Clothing
Ewing, T. (2006) Viking Clothing. Tempus. – This readable book covers most of the things which we can reconstruct about Viking clothing and fashion, based on achaeology, iconography and literary sources.
Fransen, L., Nørgård, A. & E. Østergård (2011) Medieval Garments Reconstructed: Norse Clothing Patterns. Aarhus Universitetsforlag. – A study of 12th-13th century clothing finds from Greenland. Covers textile production, reconstruction of techniques as well as patterns, which are provided for anybody who wants to sew their own reconstructions.
Scully, T. (1995) The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages. Boydell Press. – Presents the food and cooking in late medieval Europe (14th-15th cent.). Describes the ingredients, cooking methods and dishes. Also covers the attitudes towards food, medicinal approaches and etiquette. Primarily focuses on food of the upper classes.
Serra, D. & H. Tunberg (2013) An Early Meal: a Viking Age Cookbook and Culinart Odyssey. ChronoCopia Publishing. – A study of food across the Norse world, which is realized in the form of a very attractive cookbook. The recipes are well written as well as equipped with the information on the archaeological and literary data on which they are based.
Hagen, A. (2006) Anglo-Saxon Food & Drink. Anglo-Saxon Books. – An exhaustive study of food in Britain during the 5th-11th centuries. It reconstructs the food, drink and related customs based on archaeological data and period literary sources. Covers the production and processing of all manner of basic ingredients, cooking methods, distribution and finally the social norms connected with food and drink in the Anglo-Saxon world.
Guides & Other Resources for Living History Participants
A collection of links to guides and ‘how to’s written far more experienced than me. If you are looking into making some of your own re-enactment gear, this is a good place to start.
Susanna Broome from Viking Age Clothing offers a treasure trove of information on reconstructing clothes and sells pattern booklets.
Hilde Thunem’s exhaustive guide to the Viking Age apron dress or ‘smokkr’.
Hilde Thunem’s guide to Viking Age pants.
Shelagh Lewins’ article on how to make a pair of trousers based on the 3rd century find from Thorsbjerg in Schleswig-Holstein.
Shelagh Lewins’ overview of differnet methods of constructing early medieval needlebound socks.
A post on Viking Age women’s head coverings.
A guide to the stitches & seams used in early medieval, viking age & iron age clothing.
Marc Carlson’s ‘Footwear of the Middle Ages’ provides a wealth of information on shoe-making techniques and patterns up to the 16th century.
A list of craftsmen whom I respect and whose work has inspired me to keeping trying harder and bettering myself. Marvel at their work and support them if you can.
Patrick Barta (CZ) – Swordsmith and museum conservator who specialises in reconstructing early medieval swords.
Götz Breitenbucher (SWE) – German blacksmith, based in Sweden. Has been making quality knives, swords, spears, axes and other tools for re-enactors since time immemorial.
Aaron Cergol (USA) – blacksmith behind Cergol Tool & Forgeworks, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Maker of some of the most beautiful hammers out there.
Alban Depper (DE) – British jeweller based in northern Germany. Has been making fine cast silver and bronze jewellery and fittings for re-enactors since 1993.
Ernest’s Workshop (CZ) – another Czech maker of fine historic blades.
Petr Florianek (CZ) – bladesmith from the Czech Republic who specialises in Viking and Vendel period sharp and pointy objects. Renowned far and wide for his carving skills.
Wojciech Kochman (PL) – silversmith from Warsaw, Poland. Works under the name of Völundr and is a master of filigree.
Jake Powning (CAN) – master swordsmith who bases his work on European, mosly Norse and Celtic, mythology. Well known for his mastery of pattern-welding, bronze casting and wood carving.
Scott A. Roush (USA) – bladesmith behind Big Rock Forge in Northern Wisconsin (USA). Makes a a variety of swords and knives based on historical and modern designs.
Elias Sideris (USA) – young smith, based in Greenfield, Massachusetts. A lot of his work is inspired by historic designs and utilizes authentic materials.
Lukasz Szczepanski (PL) – a young Polish blacksmith. Maker of Viking blades, tools and weapons.
Marit Vaidla (SWE) – Estonian tanner and leatherworker based in Sweden.Works under the artist’ name of Lost Frog. An authority on everything leather-related, and makes some really nice soap as well.