Viking historians coming to West Liberty University

WEST LIBERTY – The sound of hammers striking white-hot metal will resound across the West Liberty University campus as medieval glass beads shimmer in the autumn sun when living historians Darrell Markewitz and Neil Peterson visit the school Thursday.

“Darrell Markewitz and Neil Peterson are scholars of experimental archeology from Canada,” WLU Associate History Professor Darrin Cox said. “They will practice their ancient professions all day long, just outside the rear entrance to the Media Arts Center.”

Students at West Liberty University and all over the area may recognize Cox as an educator whose favorite school supplies include a battle-hardened shield, sword, axe and chainmail shirt. For five years he has worked on the Viking Living History Project, a traveling, hands-on history lesson of the Viking era of history set between 793-1066 A.D. Cox’s lessons go to schools, colleges, libraries and even public groups like the Girl Scouts of America.

“Clothes, tools, weapons, jewelry, and social history from this period offers colorful stories and encourages students to treat history as a dynamic subject rather than just a dry book,” Cox said.

Thursday’s demonstrations will go a step further, Cox said, by giving students the opportunity not only to observe the historical practices but also to take part.

“Students will be able to observe the actual work involved in these professions that date back to the time of the Vikings and a number of observers will also get to make their own glass beads and work with wrought iron,” Cox said.

The West Liberty University College of Liberal Arts sponsors Thursday’s demonstrations, helped by contributions from the Arts and Ideas Fund, sponsored by the Nutting Foundation. The demonstrations are also part of the ongoing Wheeling Regional Pre-Modern Symposium.