Unravelling the Vikings
Unravelling the Vikings (20min, NHK, Nov ’09)
Who could possibly learn anything about 1000-year-old Viking culture by talking to people? Answer: Amy Lightfoot, the world’s only independent textile Viking oral historian. Amy has the practical skills to turn a cowhide into a pair of shoes using nothing but what she can see from her home-made log cabin on a tiny Norwegian island, and the intellectual skills to help solve the longstanding riddle of how the Vikings sailed the Atlantic with woollen sails. Amy seeks out the oldest people in the most remote parts of Norway, The Faroe Islands, Shetland and Iceland, and asks them what their grandparents told them about spinning and weaving. This oral history window to North Atlantic coast culture a millennia ago is now closing, as her sources die, but Amy’s meticulous research ensures their secrets don’t die with them.