Imagine travelling back to the 10th century and experiencing a day in the life of a Viking household, feeling the materials they worked with and understanding the skills they used day-to-day. At Eiríksstaðir in West Iceland, you can get up close and personal with the Vikings.

Eiríksstaðir is the birthplace of Leif Eiriksson and the farm of Eirik the Red and nowadays functions as a living history museum. “You can touch the museum pieces and handle items that would usually be behind glass,” says Bjarnheidur Jóhannsdóttir, húsfreyja (‘the lady of the house’). The authentic replicas are based on archaeological evidence and made to be handled, making Eiríksstaðir a living and breathing museum where each item comes to life and helps bring back the beating heart of this Viking home.

Eiríksstaðir: A 10th century Viking home with heart and soul

Bjarnheidur is one of several Viking enthusiasts who lives and works here. “We have gathered a bunch of true Viking geeks,” she explains. “From an archaeologist to a specialist in Medieval religion, to wool-dyeing enthusiasts and people interested in historic battles.” The museum’s focus goes beyond events and people glorified in the old sagas, and Eiríksstaðir is treated more like someone’s home rather than a museum.

“Here we talk about daily life, chores and responsibilities, to get a real sense of the soul of the house, the inhabitants and their lives,” she adds. “Of course, we don’t know exactly what life was like in the past, but we have created a convincing place as close to an Icelandic farm in the 10th century as possible, where you get to go back in time and breathe in a little bit of history.”

Eiríksstaðir: A 10th century Viking home with heart and soul

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Instagram: @eiriksstadir

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