Saturday, March 1, 2008

… but the men, they were kind of cheesy.

Joe Since reading an article in the Local a couple of weeks ago about a recent reinterpretation of medieval Viking women's clothing, we'd been wanting to go to the University Museum in the Gustavianum building to see the exhibit. Today was too cold and wet to make our planned trip to the Vaksalatorg outdoor market sound very appealing, so we decided that today was Gustavianum day.

Our first stop, though, was the main University Library, the Carolina Rediviva. Jennifer just got her library card, so we wanted to check a couple of things out. It's a huge library, but unfortunately virtually the whole collection is kept in closed stacks, so besides the reading rooms there isn't too much to see. Still, we got a copy of Culture Shock Sweden so that Jennifer can read about all the things she's been doing wrong, and I got a Napoleon bio I've been meaning to get around to for a few years. We had a light lunch in the strange little library cafe (baguette sandwich, mineral water, day old semla and a cup of tea for 70 SEK), stopped off to see the Codex Argenteus once more, and then were on our way.

The Gustavianum is one of the University's oldest buildings, built in the 1620s, with a very distinctive cupola designed to admit light to the anatomical theater added by Olof Rudbeck (for more nattering on about the building, the curious reader is directed to our Sweden 2006 site). Today's destination was, however, the basement, wherein resides the temporary exhibition "New Thoughts on Old Vikings" (OK, I admit it, I just made that last part up). Anyway, it included the new vision of Viking Age female formal wear. It's basically the same as the old vision, except that prudish (male) archeologists have been putting the dress on the poor Viking women backwards. A recent analysis of grave finds, relying mostly on the position of the buckles, coupled with a strong sense that Scandinavians can't have been as frumpy as all that, has led to this new revelation.

The men, on the other hand, do not appear to have fared so well.

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