Fakes and Frauds

Vikings have been a popular topic for faux news stories, many of which have been spread on the internet as true. They have also been the subject of a number of hoaxes and faked artefacts. This exhibit highlights some of these and considers why people have done this.

While the faux news stories are about entertainment, fake artefacts may be produced for a variety of reasons. Even in the medieval period some monasteries are known to have forged charters that gave their establishment a longer continuous history than it had. This ensured that the monastery could claim established rights or lands that might have been contested otherwise. In the same way, artefacts like the Kensington runestone may have been intended to establish roots for newly arrived Scandinavian settlers in the Midwest. Other artefacts may have been created for similar reasons, for entertainment, or with deliberate intent to deceive or defraud.

The Vinland Map Tracing

Tracing of the Vinland Map. For an image of the original, see here

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