UROP Funding Supports Project with Viking Connections

Leo Dannersmith

Swedish lecturer Lena Norrman brings us news of an intriguing project done by one of her students. Leo Dannersmith, a history major, received UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities) funding to reenact the 200-mile hike from London to York. Could the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson and his army have marched from London north to York in four days to fight the invading Norwegian Vikings under Harald Hardråde and defeat them at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on September 25, 1066. Or would they have needed horses? This same army then had to turn around and head all the way to the south coast to fight (and lose) the Battle of Hastings against William the Conqueror on October 14, 1066.

Leo attempted to hike the same distance in Wisconsin wearing a helmet and chain mail and carrying a shield and provisions, all in damp weather. In the end, he managed to cover 114 miles over four and a half days. Leo wasn’t able to carry his sword with him, but he and six Historical European Martial Arts practitioners reenacted fights in a park here. He based the length and conditions of the hike on information from Doomsday Book, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, King Harald's saga, the Bayeux tapestry (to get illustrations), and secondary sources on King Harold.

Norrman says, “It is a true joy with engaged and enthusiastic students, and I am very grateful that Leo was awarded a UROP for this project.”


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