Nordic Spirit Symposium

Nordic Spirit Symposium will be held February 7–8, 2020. Stay tuned for more information.

A unique lecture/performance program presented by the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation and California Lutheran University, made possible through a generous grant from the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation with additional support from the Norway House Foundation

Vikings, Sagas and Runestones:
New Findings Change History
February 8-9, 2019

Many exciting Viking era discoveries have been made by archaeologists in recent years, giving a new understanding of the Viking Age. Discovery of Viking boat burials in Estonia that pre-date the long-held “beginning” of the Viking Age in 793 A.D., for example, has been described as “huge” by one of our former speakers. And proof from genomics that a skeleton in a Swedish chamber grave filled with Viking weaponry is that of a female has shaken the community.

Discovery of a 5th ring fortress in Denmark, a Viking age city beneath Oxford, England, a Harald Bluetooth treasure trove in northern Germany, a long-sought Irish Viking settlement and the Viking Galloway hoard in Scotland are only a few of the exciting discoveries. This symposium will treat many of these discoveries and their interpretations. In addition, Icelandic sagas will be treated in two ways new to the symposium series, namely a live drama presentation of The Saga of Gudridur and discussion of putting the sagas to film, illustrated with film clips representing the Saga of Gisli the Outlaw.

Early registration deadline: January 20, 2019.
Meal registration deadline: January 31, 2019.
For information contact Howard Rockstad at (805) 497-3717 or

Download the Nordic Spirit 2019 Brochure and Nordic Spirit Newsletter 2018-19


FRIDAY, FEB. 8, 2019

Scandinavian Center
26 Faculty Street, Thousand Oaks
5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Gala Reception.
Reservations requested.
Admission is $15.

Preus-Brandt Forum
California Lutheran University
6:15 – 7:00 p.m. Registration
7:00 – 9:30 p.m. Program
Parking near the chapel or in the large lot at the corner off Olsen
Road and Mountclef Boulevard.

Viking Warrior Women? Reassessing Birka Chamber
Grave BJ.581 and its Implications –
Neil Price, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Archaeology
University of Uppsala, Sweden

Prof. Price will discuss a famous Viking burial and recent analysis
that showed the skeleton was that of a woman. He will address the
controversies and our attitudes toward gender in the Viking Age

From Saga to Cinema – Making Viking Movies –
Ágúst Gudmundsson, B.A., Feature Film Director
Reykjavik, Iceland
Mr. Gudmundsson will discuss difficulties in historical accuracy in
Viking films and TV series, and his own work in making a film based
on the Saga of Gisli, a story of crime and revenge set in the 10th
century, written 300 years later. Film clips of Outlaw, the Saga of
, will be shown.

Friday evening admission is $25 (reception not included);
FREE for students, Cal Lutheran faculty and staff.

SATURDAY, FEB. 9, 2019

Samuelson Chapel
California Lutheran University
8:15 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. – 5:15 p.m. Program, Breaks and Lunch

Assessing Recent Discoveries of the Viking Age –
Samuel Claussen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of
History, California Lutheran University

Prof. Claussen will discuss exciting recent discoveries of the
Viking Age

The Salme Ships: Two Newly-Discovered Boat
Burials from the Early Viking Age on Saaremaa,
Estonia – Neil Price, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of
Archaeology, University of Uppsala, Sweden

Two remarkable boat burials, serving as graves for 40 men,
were found on an Estonian island during roadwork at Salme. The
boats and crews seem to have originated in central Sweden and
apparently predate the standard 793 A.D. beginning of the Viking
Age by a half century or more.

12:00 noon Lunch, Lundring Events Center
1:15 p.m. Samuelson Chapel

The Saga of Gudridur: A Dramatic Performance –
Thorunn Clausen, Icelandic actress trained at the Webber
Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, London and Complete
Vocal Institute, Copenhagen

An epic saga of courage and war, told through traditional
storytelling, comedy and music. The audience is taken on a unique,
touching and often hilarious journey through Viking times alongside
Gudridur, the first white woman to settle in America

From Viking Age Sweden to Southern California:
Unexpected Runic Evidence in Expected Places
and Astounding Runestones in Astonishing Places –
Henrik Williams, Ph.D., Professor of Scandinavian Languages,
University of Uppsala, Sweden

Recent discoveries in Swedish runic material reveal new insights
into the Viking world, not least in the realm of religion and magic.
Runes may also be found in North America; the most interesting
and mysterious of these will be discussed

Panel Discussion
Saturday admission is $50 (meals not included); free for students
and Cal Lutheran faculty and staff


Lundring Events Center, California Lutheran University
5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Social Hour
7:00 p.m. Dinner
Thorunn Clausen will entertain with song.
Reservations required. Dinner admission is $40.

The organizers reserve the right to make any changes that may be necessary.