WVNCC offers a trip through history

WEIRTON – Area residents visiting the Weirton campus of West Virginia Northern Community College Wednesday had an opportunity to step back through time.

Held under the auspices of the Wheeling Regional Pre-Modern Symposium, the free event included a look at life in Medieval Europe, featuring a Viking encampment complete with tools, clothing, armor and weapons, lessons on early hunting techniques, as well as combat demonstrations by members of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

“It’s a living history re-enactment,” Darrin Cox, professor of history at West Liberty University, explained. “We bring the museum to the students.”

The symposium began last year on West Liberty’s campus as a cooperative effort between the two colleges and the SCA.

Visitors to the college, who included social studies students from nearby St. Joseph the Worker Grade School, were able to try on armor, learn Medieval dance techniques and even use at atlatl, a type of early spear-throwing tool.

Of the combat demonstrations, Cox said they use swords and wooden weapons to showcase fencing and heavy fighting, working together to ensure safety while providing as accurate a display as possible.

“It’s all based on the chivalrous rules of combat,” Cox said. “We trust one another’s judgment.”

Greg Winland, associate professor of English at WVNCC, explained the day also included presentations by many of the college’s educators, incorporating discussions on Medieval life into their lesson plans.

“We had them do something on the Middle Ages,” Winland explained, noting even former faculty members returned to the campus to participate. “It’s been a really good day.”

Some of topics included in Wednesday’s classes included Medieval music, health care, cookery and law, as well as marriage traditions, the Reformation and re-enacting scenes from “Twelfth Night.”

Cox provided the keynote address for the day with his presentation, “Vikings: Medieval Metrosexuals?” As part of the address, Cox discussed many of the grooming habits of Vikings, noting Vikings preferred to look well-groomed and clean.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)