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While we were visiting Stockholm there was a special exhibit on Vikings at the Historiska Museet, "The Historical Museum."  A special part of the exhibit is the "Gold Room" in the basement, filled with hundreds of gold and silver objects found in Viking era archaeological sites - no photographs allowed! It was spectacular. Nothing on this scale had ever been done in a Swedish museum. 

There was a replica of a small Viking era boat in he courtyard of the museum. The checkered sails, as mentioned in the sagas, are not made by printing the pattern, but rather by weaving wide strips of white and red cloth.

We arrived at the museum on opening day of the special exhibit, and the place was filled with artisans and re-creationists who were weaving, carving wood (such as this animal head here), carving rune stones (which were for sale), and generally "living the life of a Viking".

This picture stone is from the island of Gotland, off of he east coast of Sweden. They are fairly common on this island, and they all tell a story in pictures. On this one you can see "Sleipnir", Odin's horse near the top, a Viking ship in the middle, and several scenes with people and animals towards the bottom, all outlined in a knot-work pattern.

The courtyard of The Historical Museum contained several rune stones. Most rune stones were originally raised to honor a dead relative, most often one slain in battle in a far away land. They were often placed near cross roads and bridges.

This rune stone shows two interlocking animals in a knot-work pattern; the bodies contain the runes.

Detail of the rune stone shown above. You can see in several places the "zig-zag" letter "S" which was adopted by the infamous German "SS" unit during the Second World War.

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