Ask A Wench—Our favorite research sources

LonghouseAndrea here, putting together this month's Ask A Wench feature, which poses a particularly fun question from Wench reader Claire Phillips. (Thank you, Claire!): What are the best resources you've found for your research? What are the most fun ones?

Christina:  For me, both the best and most fun resources have been seeing historical reconstructions and trying things out for myself – in my case, Viking longships and houses, and some of their implements. Being able to take a short trip in a longship and help with the rowing was invaluable as I would never have known exactly how it felt otherwise. I couldn’t possibly have imagined how smoothly the keel cut through the waves or how easy it was to use Quern stonethe oars – I would have thought it was much heavier. It was good to know that as a female, I could have played my part and taken turns at rowing. To sit and lie down on a fur-covered bench in a reconstructed Viking hall also added so much to my picture of life a thousand years ago. And having a go at turning a quern stone gave me huge respect for the poor thrall women who had to use those all the time – it was incredibly heavy! When you experience things first-hand your senses are assailed in every way and you gain a more complete understanding of what it was like. I’m always thrilled when I get to do anything like that!

Read more