Where were the Viking brew houses?
January 19, 2013 12:40 AM   Subscribe

The possibility that a lot of the alleged "saunas" found in Viking settlements may actually have been brew houses, is just one of the topic discussed at the 7th expermental archaeology conference just held in Cardiff.

Experimental archaeology is a branch of archaeology that tries to find out how things really worked by recreating them using historically accurate methods. The breath of this discipline can be inferred from the wide variety of posters and abstracts. There's everything from comparing Viking drinking rituals with British Uni sports teams drinking habits, to learning to build a Bronze Age boat, to a reconstruction of the cook's galley on the Mary Rose.
posted by MartinWisse (11 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
My Finnish experiences lead me to wonder whether they might not have been both?
posted by infini at 1:16 AM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

My Finnish experiences

The sauna is a Finnish thing - it's one of the very few Finnish words imported into English.

It's not really a Scandinavian thing. Many Swedish homes have a "bastu", but these are mainly used for storage (or brewing beer?) There is no "sauna" culture in Scandinavia - nothing like in FInland where it is a way of lfe.

So I would not be surprised if Scandinavian Vikings - in England coming mostly from Denmark - would have put a sauna in their homes (with a mind to resale value) and used it for something else - like brewing beer.
posted by three blind mice at 1:33 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Now there's an idea for the next BeNeLux MeFi meetup: sauna & "sauna"...
posted by knile at 1:58 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Super cool. I love the nicely presented online poster session.

Archaeology...super cool. Thanks.
posted by Miko at 5:58 AM on January 19, 2013

Beware of archaeologists jumping to conclusions in Cardiff.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:39 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yes, it's a different Cardiff
posted by ShutterBun at 6:41 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh awsome, i know the son of one of the founders of experimental archceology and he has like, the best conversation pieces ( oh that? Thats a spoon used for fermenting vast armounts of grain for wort)
posted by The Whelk at 6:53 AM on January 19, 2013

three blind mice, drinking and sauna are like meat and potatoes to the Finns, hence my thought.
posted by infini at 8:33 AM on January 19, 2013

The stone built installation at Cubbie Roo’s Castle, Wyre, a Viking stronghold of the 12th Century AD...

I'm not sure how I feel about this as a Viking stronghold name. It would make an excellent theme park attraction, though.
posted by and so but then, we at 8:46 AM on January 19, 2013

No saunas? Then what about my daydream of naked Vikings in saunas?
posted by happyroach at 2:52 AM on January 20, 2013

I have experience with your daydream. On a rooftop. In Shanghai. (Its a loooong story)
posted by infini at 2:58 AM on January 20, 2013

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