I think I may have mentioned a few times that I have a longstanding ambition to learn more about Vikings. I'd like to say something lofty inspired it, but World of Warcraft inspired it. And it wasn't the fact that an entire 12-boss raid was lifted from Norse mythology, featuring bosses named Freya, Thorim, and Hodir, or that the Wrath of the Lich King expansion had a Norse subplot, with Skaldic warlords to defeat, and valkyries waiting to attack you everywhere. No, my honest thought was that if I read up on it, I could annoy the rest of my guild with random factoids.
Well, that subplot is over and done with (they moved on to mining Egyptian beliefs), but the desire never really went away. This summer, I checked out a book simply titled "The Vikings" by Robert Ferguson.
I didn't read it.
Then I checked it out again.
And I didn't read it.
But this time, I'm pretty determined. I'm about 20 pages into it, and it's really good. It opened with the description of an excavation of a burial ship in the 1920s. When the ship was buried, with the bodies of the two women, they chose an area with very clay-like soil, and the soil preserved the spring flowers that were growing when they dug out the pit, and the fall flowers that were there by the time they were ready to bury the boat. It was interesting reading earlier theories on conservation, as well. I'm also surprised at the paucity of primary sources, even archaeological sites, for Viking culture.
But I'm not sure I'm going to get to keep going, sadly. I checked my library account as a means of checking the author's name, and also to renew my books. It won't let me. I owe too much in fines, so it may be going back to the library tomorrow, sadly.