Discovering the world of Vikings


instead rely on auction houses, such as the famed Sotherby’s. “Whenwe buy something, we want the certificate of authenticity,” explained the man. “We therefore sometime have to pay quite a bit for the artifacts.” Most of them came from Great Britain, Ireland, Germany and Russia. Yet some pieces come from as far as modern-day Iraq. Such is the case of a small coin, written in Arabic. “What most people don’t realize is that Vikings weremuch more than pillagers,” said Santini. “They were traders, explorers and so on. This is what we’re trying to show people with this exhibit.” The exhibit therefore doesn’t solely focus on weapons. Instead, they showcase the Viking culture, religious practices as well as customs.

Proudly displayed in the Cornwall Community Museum’s basement are artifacts of a civilisation that terrified much of Europe and Asia for hundreds of years; the Vikings. One of the first exciting piece to welcome visitors is a thousand-year-old Viking sword. “We truly believe that this sword was taken during a battle or right after one,” explained Steven Santini, co-owner of the collection. “We know this because some pieces on it were changed.” Upon closer inspection, one can notice that the sign of the cross is located on the handle of the sword. Yet, as Santini further explains, the Vikings, or Norse as they called themselves, were actually Pagans. The sword is but a small part of the massive collection that will be showcased in the museum for several months, ending onDecember 15. Santini, along with his wife Vera Hermanns, possess several different historical collections, notably, one consisting of relics from the Titanic. “My love of history started with the Titanic,” the man said. “But about 10 years ago, my curiosity was picked by Vikings. That’s when my wife and I decided to start such a collection.” But finding the items that all date from 800 to 1000 AD isn’t such an easy task, especially for a couple ailing from Owen Sound. “The items we have all come from Europe,” Santini explained. “They weren’t found in archaeological digs, but rather with the use of metal detectors.” But the duo isn’t fond of purchasing pieces from sites such as EBay. They

Steve Santini holds a thousand- year-old sword, as well as a replica shield, made so that school children can admire how strong Viking warriors were. The shield weighs around 30 pounds. — photo Francis Racine

On the big table in the middle of the basement are several dark tools. “Those

are probably some of the most interesting pieces we have,” expressed the man. “They were found in Russia and were used to work wood. In other words, they were used to make boats.” With the items him

What most people don’t realise is that Vikings were much more than pillagers,” said Santini. “They were traders, explorers and so on...”

and his wife have collected, Santini hopes to educate the public and make them realize that the oh-so-terrible Vikings, were in fact a prosperous and educated people.

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A thousand year old Viking sword.

Le Journal, Cornwall


Le mercredi 7 septembre 2016

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