Constructing their Own Viking Ships – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Constructing their Own Viking Ships

On a recent Wednesday morning, the students enrolled in “Art and Literature in the Middle Ages substituted their pens and notebooks for scissors and tape. Instead of listening to a lecture or watching a video, the students geared up to construct their own Viking ships out of paper.

Students in the bidisciplinary course, which is led by Assistant Professor of Art Michael Tinkler and Assistant Professor of the English Laurence Erussard, have been studying the social life and civilization of these seafaring traders. Due to the central role that ships played in the lives of the Vikings, it was natural to engage in such a project.

The class soon began to comprehend the diligence necessary to produce such a boat. “We wanted students to gain an appreciation for the complexity of the process and the economy and elegance of such a project, said Tinkler. “And I think they have. This undertaking truly conveys that.

Throughout the duration of the semester, the venture was anticipated by all of the students. “A theme that has continuously been examined is the importance of ships in Viking culture, said sophomore Lila Feldman. “It was obvious that we would partake in an activity like this, and something that we were all looking forward to.

By the end of class, each student had constructed a Viking boat of his/her own. From the appearance of their nimble fingers, they certainly left the classroom with a greater understanding of how difficult this process must have been using wood instead of paper.

“This is very difficult. I think the students are more artistic than I am, said Erussard.