About Us - why viking
Why the name Alaskan Viking Co?
Some think of a culture full of barbaric horned-helmet-wearing brutes that sailed around raiding and pillaging helpless farmers. Others think of a football team in the midwest. We think of master craftsmen and coastal explorers from the old world who used simple tools to build things of lasting beauty and functionality. Innovators from the north who built out of necessity to survive but also imbued their creations with their strong aesthetic sensibilities.
As far as we know for now, the viking culture never made it to Alaska. And no, we don't think of ourselves as vikings. The name represents for us the ideals of craftmanship and exploration that we see in viking culture. We love to work with the simple hand tools and explore the rugged Alaskan coastline. Somedays you might catch us daydreaming a little about what it would have been like to be enjoying this lifestyle a few thousand years ago.
This article from History on the Net does a nice job explaining what the vikings actually did with most of their time:
Besides occasional raids, Vikings were explorers, traders and extraordinary craftsmen. It is by virtue of their shipbuilders and weapon makers that the Vikings were so successful in raiding European countries. Most Vikings were farmers as previously mentioned in “Life on a Viking Farm”. They were also excellent all-around handymen: carpenters, blacksmiths, bone-carvers, animal doctors, fence repairers, herdsmen and so on. They could do whatever was needed around the farm—they made or repaired most of the tools and they built whatever building they needed for themselves and their animals.
...Vikings began to specialize in the arts, crafts, metalworking, pottery etc. By the middle of the Viking age, you’d find not only Viking farmers, traders and blacksmiths, but armor and weapon makers, carpenters, stone carvers, jewelry makers, bead makers, bone and antler carvers, cup makers, potters, weavers, slave traders and amber dealers.
...Vikings were exceptional craftsmen. Shipbuilders built not only the dreaded dragon ships, but also knarrs, ocean-going merchant ships, and a variety of other specialized boats. Jewelers, bronze-casters, antler carvers and bead makers made their splendid jewelry in every trading town. Viking craftsmen produced tableware, clothing, leather work, shoes and boots and every other kind of tool or household object that people used in those days.
If you are interested in some more modern research on the viking culture which goes beyond the often violent stereotypes this is a good read on National Geographic.