Learning Exercise

The Vikings

This Smithsonian web site was originally an exhibit displayed at the Museum of Natural History sponsored by the Scandinavian governments. This web site provides a unique opportunity to learn more about the culture of the Vikings in 9th and 10th century Europe.
Course: U.S. History

This website has been produced by the Smithsonian Institution to highlight a major new exhibit on Viking exploration of... see more


When the web site comes on screen, Click Intro. Answer Questions 1-3.
1. From where and when did the Viking mariners sail to North America?
2. What did the Vikings call the area in North America where they settled?
3. Name the settlement the Vikings founded.

Click Viking Voyage. Answer Questions 4-17.
4. Name the seven stops on the trip from Europe to North America.
5. List the five sources of information used to gather information about the
6. What is studied at an archeology site to learn more about Viking culture.
7. What is contained in Saga Studies and is this a reliable source?
8. What can we learn from environmental studies about the Vikings?
9. What historical documents are used to gain this information?
10. How does human genetics enlighten us about the Vikings?
11. Compare and contrast the words Norse and Viking.
12. Who were the Vikings and what occupations did they perform?
13. Who first settled Iceland?
14. What happened to the Norse in Gre enland?
15. Who were the Skraelings?
16. Where is Vinland?
17. Why are the Vikings still popular figures in history?

Click The Exhibit. Answer Questions 18-24.
18. Where and when did each of the following sail?
a. Erik the Red
b. Bjarni Herjolfsson
c. Thorfinn Karsefni
d. Leif Erikson
19. Did the Vikings wear horned helmets?
20. Explain the importance of the Lindisfarne Monastery.
21. Who settled Vinland, how long did it survive and why did it collapse?
22. What was landnam?
23. How long did contact exist between the Norse and North America?
24. Describe each of the following artifacts:
a. Walrus Ivory Chessmen
b. Oseberg Animal Posts
c. Silver Drinking Horn
d. Ranvaig's Casket
e. Box Brooch
f. Glass Smoother and Whalebone Ironing
g. Jonsbok Manuscript
h. Ringed Pin and Bishop of Baffin
i. Herjolfsnes Hood

Additional Information: None

Technical Notes

Basic computer skills. Computer needs to be equipped with the following software: Macromedia Flash 4, Apple Quicktime 4, Cult 3D, and/or Real Audio.


Knowledge of Pre-Columbian history in the Americas.


Americas: United States Pre-Columbian, Europe: Scandinavia, Archaeology, Arts, Popular Culture, Race/Ethnicity, Social.

Learning Objectives

To acquaint students with primary sources to learn more about the culture of the Vikings who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean five hundred years before Columbus.