I don’t live in the past—I only visit—and so can you!

Archive for February, 2022



Most modern objects should be avoided, but there are a few that should be included for safety reasons. However, if there is more than one member of the expedition, with a few exceptions these items should be entrusted to only one member of the expedition and not borne by all members.

• Keys and ID kept in a pouch
• Telephone (fully charged and not turned on)
• Compass and map or GPS (if not provided by the phone)
• First Aid Kit (see below)
• Small Camera (if not provided by the phone)
• Any necessary personal medication • Keys and ID kept in a pouch
• Telephone (fully charged and not turned on)
• Compass and map or GPS (if not provided by the phone)
• First Aid Kit (see below)
• Small Camera (if not provided by the phone)
• Any necessary personal medication
• Toilet Paper (you can use moss or vegetation…if you are certain it will be available and will not irritate your bottom if it is)
• Female necessities (each member of the expedition should have their own supply)
• Toilet Paper (you can use moss or vegetation…if you are certain it will be available and will not irritate your bottom if it is)
• Female necessities (each female member of the expedition should have their own supply)

Let a friend who is not going on the trek know your schedule, and agree to let that friend know when you get safely back into civilization.

A sounding horn (made from real horn) is not at all modern but can be essential in emergencies. Each person should have a horn that can be blown to let people know where they are if they get lost or to call for help.


Do I really have to waste any time explaining why you should have a first-aid kit when running around in the wilds with sharp tools and unpaved earth?

Rudimentary first aid kits may be purchased or built up personally. The following contents are suggested:

• Booklet explaining emergency procedures
• Gauze strips, gauge pads and tape (avoid plastic strips)
• Scissors to cut gauze or tape
• Antiseptic Wash
• Antibiotic Ointment
• Instant Cold Compress
• Thermometer
• Tweezers (modern tweezers might be more useful that period ones)
• Non-latex Health Care Gloves (I prefer Nitrile; for me, they must be large, but they come in a variety of sizes)
• Pain reliever such as aspirin, Ibuprofen or acetaminophen (gear selection toward allergies of members of the expedition)
• Sunblock
• Insect Repellent or unguent if especially needed)

Contents of the kit should be kept in a period container, for example a small bentwood box or a bag of leather, linen or wool (a green bag is suggested and even required by some societies).


This is an ironic mixture of period and necessary. The whole idea is that th reenactor must be able to find items needed for everyday hygienic tasks that are period and accurate. The tools were sometimes joined together on a ring for future use.

Period and common alternatives for the tools are:

• Comb (usually bone or horn, sometimes wood; a comb was carried by virtually all people of the time)
• Earspoon (what I call a medieval Q-Tip, a metal spoon to help scoop wax out of the ear; we will not get into the use of the wax)
• Nail Pick (for cleaning under the finger nails)
• Tweezers (used for pulling out hairs but also splinters)
• Towel (can be just a piece of cloth)

There were no nail trimmers, so knives were probably used most often.

Tooth brushes and tooth paste were not introduced into Europe from China until the fifteenth or sixteenth century, but there have been suggested that people had small sticks with frayed ends that were used for brushing while the other ends were sharpened to be a sort of toothpick. This was often known as a chewstick and was sometimes made from aromatic sticks to freshen the breath. small kindling was used to polish the teeth. These sticks seem to have been temporary. Modern toothbrushes, with hog bristles as the brushes, were invented by William Addis in England around 1780.

A sort of toothpaste seems to have dated back to 5000 bce and was made of such ingredients as crushed bones and oyster shells, powdered charcoal and powdered bark.



Call it Viking hiking, trekking, bushcraft, foot camping or some other term, it is an activity by living historians acting as experimental archaeologists and involved in recreating the Viking era (roughly 750 to 1100 ce for purposes of this essay)). Their research for historical trekking is accompanied by experimentation in historical situations, using the foods, tools, clothing, weapons and methods accurately recreating those used by the people of the era. The best way to preserve history is to research it, to experiment with recreating the culture and then to share the results of that research and experimentation with others.

Historical trekking is a way for Viking reenactors to learn and to experience first hand what life during the time was like. It is learning what, in the words of Nathan Jefferey, a person of the time “would have worn, used and experienced on their journeys into the woodlands….sometimes it is very hard to experience what they went through but by using what they used and wearing what they wore it is a way we can experience it and basically understand what our ancestors went through on their journeys and their hunts. It involves a lot of research. I suggest that you do research on your own.”

Keep a few things in mind when planning your trek:

• You are doing this for yourself, not to put on a show but to learn and to experience new things.
• Know your terrain! It might well be more exciting to explore and take things as they come, but…
• Realize that you may not know the time…not that you need to know an exact time. Hopefully, you can get an approximate idea of the time from the sun and perhaps from a mini-sundial
• Always consider weight and space when packing. Learn to do more with less!
• Leave no trace, pick up your trash and pick up the trash that others have left behind. Perhaps this is not period, but it shows a respect to the wilds that everyone should have!
• And remember that the lack of spectators is no excuse for shoddy standards and lack of accuracy!


By accuracy, I am referring to accurate historically impressions in this chapbook. I prefer reenactors to be accurate—within th restrictions of safety. You are trying to re-create ordinary life. You need to have at least two (or possibly three for some societies) precedents for an activity or a piece of equipment. Any exceptions must be approved by your society’s Authenticity Officer and strictly limited.

This may not be your goal. If you have no qualms about wearing spectacles, tennis shoes and a nylon parka while doing your impression, this may not be the chapbook you are looking for!




No tobacco since it was unknown.

They did know about marijuana and apparently used it (see the Oseberg burial, where one woman had a bag of marijuana, perhaps for religious reasons). Do not include it if you are trekking in an area where it is illegal.



No framed eyeglasses of any kind that did not have to be held up to the eye in some manner existed even after the invention of spectacles. There are many conflicting stories about when frames were first invented, but even the earliest was long after the Viking Age.

Spectacles themselves were invented around 1258 (for near-sightedness; various crystals and glass lenses date back to at least the fifth century, but various methods of magnification appear to have existed for a long time). Telescopes were invented in 1608 and although experiments with binoculars started soon after, modern binoculars date only from the middle of the nineteenth century.

No sunglasses (make certain you have a hood).

If you need a corrective lens from time to time, pack a magnifying lens, preferably of a period type. Draw it out only when it is needed.


They probably did not even have candle lanterns.

Matches or Lighters

If you want fire, learn how to produce it using flint and steel.

Paperback Books

See the section below on Writing and Reading to see what is acceptable. Hint: Even Game of Thrones is not!


No no no!


The blank wall by the Mooby’s Burger is aching for some period graffiti! Variations that inspired those noted below were carved in runes, but you don’t have to do that. Illustrations were often included or used instead of the words.

Variations of the graffiti text includes:

NN fucked. NN carved.
These rules were carved by the man most skilled in runes on the Western Ocean with the axe that killed the son of NN in the South of Iceland.
In the northwest, great treasure is hidden.
Jerusalem men broke into this hill.
NN is the most beautiful of all women.
NN is a horny bitch.
NN was here.
NN made this cross.
Is to me said that treasure is here hidden very well.
NN the Dane was weary when he came here.
NN the fair widow – many a woman has walked stooping in here a very showy person.
This mound was raised by NN SS when his sons were brave smooth-hide men.
NN the son of NN carved these runes
NN SS carved these runes
These runes were carved by the man most skilled in runes in the western ocean
NN SS carved these runes high up
NN SS carved these runes with this axe owned by NN SS in the South land
The son of NN says in the runes he carves his father ventured bravely.
NN the cook of the jarl carved these runes.
To the north-west is a great treasure hidden.
It was long ago that a great treasure was hidden here. Happy is he that might find that great treasure.
NN alone bore treasure from this mound. Carved by NN SS.
It is surely true what I say than treasure was taken away.
Treasure was carried off in three nights.
NN to me said that treasure is here hidden very well.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. You have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth.


NN stands for the personal name, and SS stands for the soubriquet or patronymic. The originals were founds in “11 Samples of Authentic Viking Graffiti.” and “Maeshowe’s runes – Viking graffiti.”