vikings, shields, battle, fight, moesgaard museum, afghanistan, collections, anthropology, ethnography

The Sound of Battle: A Viking Moot Special

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Europe, Middle East

How many of us really know how it sounds when two armies, fighting with shields, spears, and swords, collide? We have seen it in the movies, when Roman soldiers in shiny helmets slaughter their Pictish enemies, when the warriors of Rohan collide with ranks of filthy orcs, or when invading Vikings attack Anglo Saxon defenders. But are these sounds, made in Hollywood Foley-studios, the real deal?

This weekend two armies of Vikings will meet at Moesgaard beach, to fight a bitter battle to the death. Six hundred men and women will don their fighting gear, whisper a prayer to Odin or to Tyr, before they follow their chieftain into battle. And there you can sit, watching in trepidation as the two armies collide in front of you. You will feel the tremor of the ground as the warhorses thunder by, hear the overwhelming cacophony of sound as hundreds of spears, axes, and swords meet wooden shields, and rejoice when the dead are brought back to life by the gods, at the end of the battle. This year, the Viking Moot will be held at Moesgaard Beach for the 40th time, and I, for one, will be sure to sit in the crowd. At work, I handle beautiful spears, swords, and shields like the ones in the picture above, and carefully describe them, wrap them in acid free tissue paper, and place them in a box in a dark storage room. This scenario is perhaps as far as you can get from the use they were designed for. So, this week I will be seeing such weapons used in real life.

vikings, moesgaard, weapons, shields, swords, battle    vikings, moesgaard, weapons, shields, swords, battle

vikings, moesgaard, weapons, shields, swords, battle

Battle scenes from previous Viking moots at Moesgaard Beach. There is no denying the thrill of being near, as the warriors clash together.

BUT, I will be very happy too, that I can get to experience the thrill of such a battle, without actual bloodshed, as the swords and spears are all blunt. But believe me, they are solid iron, and the experience is overwhelming. And while there will hopefully not be any chopped off limbs and warriors carried to Valhalla by the Valkyries, there will probably be lots of bumps and bruises. But nothing that can’t be cured by a healthy cup of mead by the fire afterwards.

//Sophie Seebach

The Viking Moot will take place at Moesgaard Beach and will be open to the public from the 28th to the 30th of July 2017. There will be booths selling handmade Viking crafts, battles several times a day, and a host of other activities. Read more about it on

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