longhouse interior view

Moorforge Viking Settlement Improves Economy and Historical Understanding

Moorforge Viking Settlement in the United Kingdom has brought the Vikings back to Cumbria in grand fashion. The village is open for groups of 30 or more to reserve. It also hosts festivals, gatherings, and events throughout the year. Founder and owner David Watson has funded most of the site as it grew over the last 12 years into a community asset that educates school students about Viking life in the 10th century.  

Moorforge held their second annual Moorforge Craft Festival May 4 through 6, 2024. The celebration of ancient crafts featured over 20 stalls of booths that included textiles, metal work, glass, and jewelry. Most items were made using traditional techniques.

“Events like this craft festival help keep ancient technologies alive and are great chance for the community to step back in time and find out about local history,” organizer and craftsperson Ash Harrison told Cumbria Crack.

More than 400 people attended the festival creating a boon for the artisans and community. The folk music jam session in the newly built longhouse attracted about 60 people. There are more events on the calendar.

“In June we will have the Folk Music Festival and in July we will have the Althing, which is a Viking reenactment festival that focuses on combat,” Harrison told News and Star.

Moorforge Viking Settlement Beginnings

Watson started the site development after meeting an archaeologist from Iceland, who was reconstructing an iron smelt and needed a partner. Collaborating with her and with the help of Erasmus students from all over Europe, Watson ended up with a Viking period forge on his land.

After it was built, Watson didn’t know what to do with it. He researched the Vikings in the area and decided that a forge by itself wasn’t worth anything. So, he built a longhouse and the site continues to grow. One expansion may include Viking-inspired “glamping” pods.

“It’s a break from the modern world, life is full of stresses and I think a lot of people find it to be a release and a chance to chill and live like they did 1,000 years ago,” Watson told Cumbria Crack.

Moorforge and Asgard Alaska

Looking at Moorforge Viking Settlement’s development, Asgard Alaska can see one way to make a successful educational, experiential museum site. Moorforge also provides an economic boost for its locality and is a great site for reenactment groups of all kinds.

Sources: https://cumbriacrack.com/2024/05/01/stepping-back-in-time-a-look-inside-cumbrias-growing-viking-settlement/



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