WILD WAY OF THE VIKINGS

February 14, 2019 at 5:00 am

PBS’ Nature takes us back to a time when Vikings ruled the northern seas, exploring the unique relationship between the warriors, animals and pristine environment they encountered.

Aired February 13, 2019.

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>> TONIGHT WE'RE TAKING YOU BACK
TO THE TIME WHEN THE VIKINGS
RULED THE NORTHERN SEAS.
LONG BEFORE THE WORLD HAD EVER
HEARD OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
THESE WAR WARRIORS TRAVELED FROM
NORWAY TO NEWFOUNDLAND, BIRDS AS
THEIR COMPASS.
THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH THESE
BIRDS ALONG WITH A HOST OF OTHER
ANIMALS, ARCTIC FORKS HUMPBACK
WHALES AND REINDEERS IS THE
FEATURE OF A NEW DOCUMENTARY
TITLED "WILD WAYS OF VIKINGS."
>> 1,200 YEARS AGO THE NORTH
ATLANTIC WAS PRISTINE AND PURE.
A LAND RULED BY FALCON, BY WALL
RAD
-- WALRUS, BY REINDEER.
BUT ANCIENT PEOPLE CAME TO CLAIM
THESE LANDS.
PEOPLE LIKE THE VIKINGS.
THIS WAS A WORLD THEY EXPLOITED.
BUT IT WAS A WORLD THEY ALSO
NURTURED AND REVERED.
NOW, TRAVEL BACK IN TIME TO SEE
THE NATURAL WORLD THROUGH
ANCIENT EYES.
TRAVEL BACK IN TIME TO
EXPERIENCE THE WILD WAY OF THE
VIKINGS.
§
>> JOINING US NOW WITH MORE ON
THE "WILD WAY OF THE VIKINGS" IS
NATURE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER.
>> THANK YOU.
>> YOU KNOW, FRED, AT FIRST
BRUSH ONE MIGHT THINK "WILD WAY
OF THE VIKINGS" IS A DEPARTURE
FROM
FROM THE USUAL NATURE OF THE
DOCUMENTARY.
>> THERE'S SOME DRAMAIZED
MOMENTS BUT CONSIDERING THE FACT
WE HAVE A AS IFCY NATION WITH
VIKINGS AND WE HAD INTEREST ON
DOING SOMETHING ON SCANDINAVIAN
WILDLIFE.
CAN WE GO TO THESE LOCATIONS AND
ENVISION WHAT THEY SEE.
CERTAINLY DEPENDENT ON NATURE
FOR EXISTENCE BEFORE SCIENCE AND
CRAFT A SHOW AROUND WHAT THEY
SAW, WHAT NATURE MEANT TO THEM
AND GET NEW INSIGHTS INTO THE
WILDLIFE THERE.
>> HOW DO WE REALLY KNOW?
YOU SAY THERE ARE DRAMATIC
RECREATIONS ABOUT THE WAY THEY
LIVED.
HOW DO WE KNOW HOW THE VIKINGS
LIVED 1,200 YEARS AGO?
>> THESE REMNANTS, YOU KNOW, WE
CAN SPECULATE THAT, YOU KNOW,
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT WILDLIFE
BEHAVIOR, FOR EXAMPLE, WE KNOW,
FOR EXAMPLE, A HUMPBACK WHALE
WILL FEED NEAR SHORE.
WE CAN SPECULATE WHEN THEY SAW A
HUMPBACK WHALE THEY KNEW THEY
WERE NEAR LAND OR SOMETHING LIKE
THAT.
THERE ARE REMAINS OF CUPS AND
BOWLS AND TOOLS AND OTHER THINGS
CLEARLY FROM THE WILDLIFE THAT
THEY ENCOUNTERED, SO WE CAN PICK
UP SIGNS OF WHAT THEY
ENCOUNTERED, HOW SOME OF THESE
MATERIALS WERE USED, THEIR
CLOTHING.
WE HAVE A WONDERFUL SEQUENCE
JUST A FEW YEARS AGO SCIENTISTS
DISCOVERED A VIKING ERA SET OF
SKIS IN A GLACIER IN NORWAY AND
WE THOUGHT DID VIKINGS SKI?
WELL CERTAINLY ON THE SLOPES OF
NORWAY IN THE WINTER THEY WOULD
NEED TO KNOW HOW TO GET AROUND.
SO WE CREATED A SCENARIO ON SKIS
GOING OUT TO HUNT REINDEER.
IT'S ONE OF THE MOST FANTASTIC
THINGS I'VE EVER SEEN.
TODAY, YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY WE
JUST SHOT IT, THERE ARE STILL
TENS OF THOUSANDS OF REINDEER IN
THESE INCREDIBLE HERDS, AND WHAT
WE SAW WAS BEHAVIOR I'VE NEVER
SEEN BEFORE.
>> YOU WERE REFERRING TO A
SCENE, I GOT TO SAY THERE'S A
HUNTER SCARES THEM AND THEY DO
SOMETHING -- THEY START,
THOUSANDS OF THEM START TWIRLING
AROUND TO CONFUSE THE HUNTER AND
IT DOES.
THEN YOU HAVE AN AERIAL SHOT OF
IT THAT'S AMAZING.
>> IT'S SPECTACULAR.
I HOPE WE'RE SHOWING THAT AS WE
TALK.
ALMOST LIKE A FISH MEAT BALL TO
CONFUSE A PREDATOR OR HUNTER
THEY SPIN.
THEY RUN IN THIS CIRCLE.
SO YOU'RE CONFUSED BY THEM AND
CAN'T GET A GOOD SHOT.
THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED.
>> IT TOOK THE VIKINGS 200 YEARS
TO TRAVEL FROM SCANDINAVIA TO
NORTH AMERICA BECAUSE IN BETWEEN
THEY WERE COLONIZERS.
THEY COLONISZE SCOTLAND AND THEN
YOU SHOWCASE THE ANIMALS THAT
THE VIKINGS NEEDED TO SURVIVE
ACROSS THAT TREK.
TALK ABOUT SOME OF THOSE
ANIMALS.
YOU TALKED ABOUT THE REINDEER.
>> OTTERS.
SEALS.
WALRUS.
A HUGE COLONY OF BIRDS.
THE VIKINGS WOULD CLIMB UP AND
TAKE THE EGGS THEY NEEDED TO
SURVIVE.
DUCKS.
NOW IT'S INTERESTING, THE DUCKS
WOULD PLUG FEATHER FROM THEIR
CHESTS TO LINE THEIR NESTS ON
THE GROUND.
AND VIKINGS WOULD APPROACH THESE
NESTS AND WITHOUT DOING ANY HARM
TO THE DUCKS PULL OUT THESE DOWN
FEATHERS AND USE THAT AS WE
WOULD FOR CLOTHING.
>> AND REPLACE IT WITH STRAW.
>> EXACTLY.
SO THEY WOULD USE IT IN THAT
WAY.
ANTLERS WOULD TURN INTO CUPS FOR
THEM.
AND THEY VALUED ALL THIS STUFF
AND IT WAS PASSED DOWN
GENERATION TO GENERATION
BECAUSE, AS YOU KNOW, THEY
COULDN'T RUN OUT TO WALMART TO
REPLACE ANYTHING.
SO WHATEVER YOU CREATED TOOK
SOME TIME AND WAS QUITE
VALUABLE.
EVEN THE CLOTHING THEY MADE
WOULD LAST 100 YEARS.
IT GOT PASSED DOWN TO DIFFERENT
GENERATIONS BECAUSE OF, YOU
KNOW, HOW HARD IT WAS TO COME
ACROSS ANYTHING.
>> THEY USED THE IVORY FROM THE
WALRU
WALRUSTUSK TO MAKE THESE
BEAUTIFUL CHESS PIECES.
THE FALCONS.
THEY DOMESTICATED THEM AND SOLD
THEM TO NOBILITY IN EUROPE.
I DIDN'T KNOW THE VIKINGS WERE
SO ENTERPRISING.
>> FALCONER GOES BACK A THOUSAND
OF YEARS.
WE HAVE THE BIGGEST FALCON IN
THE WORLD AND VIRTUALLY ALL
WHITE AND JUST BEAUTIFUL AND YOU
CAN SEE WHY ANY CULTURE WOULD
PRIZE SUCH AN ANIMAL, FALCONS
ARE KILLING MACHINES.
THEY ARE INCREDIBLY FAST AND
KIND OF -- THEY JUST STOOP DOWN
ON THEIR PREY.
SO TO HAVE THAT IS COOL.
>> YOU TALK ABOUT HOW THE
VIKINGS AND THE DOCUMENTARY
MAKES THE POINT HOW THE VIKINGS
WERE, YOU KNOW, USED ONLY WHAT
THEY NEED, PRESERVED THE REST
AND THEN SAVED WHAT THEY GOT FOR
GENERATIONS AND GENERATIONS.
WHY DID THEY DO THAT?
WERE THEY PRO ECOLOGYISTS?
>> I DON'T THINK THEY HAD ANY
CLUE ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY.
I THINK THERE WAS SUCH LIFE IN
GREAT NUMBERS.
BIRD COLONIES AND FISH AND HERDS
OF ANIMALS AND IN EACH OF THESE
LOCATIONS THERE JUST MIGHT BE A
COUPLE HUNDRED VIKINGS.
SO IT WAS QUITE EASY TO GET WHAT
YOU NEEDED AND AS MUCH AS YOU
NEED BUT MADE NO IMPACT ON
NATURE THAT WAS THERE.
>> ONE OF THE REASONS WHY IT'S
SO EASY TO RECREATE AT LEAST THE
VISUAL NATURE OF WHAT THEY
EXPERIENCED.
>> THAT'S WHY I SO ENJOYED THE
SHOW BECAUSE WHEN YOU'RE
WATCHING IT YOU SORT OF -- YEAH
IT KIND OF LOOKS LIKE WHAT THEY
WOULD HAVE SEEN.
IT'S NOT AS IF WE'RE TRYING TO
RECREATE 17th CENTURY MANHATTAN
WHERE IT, OBVIOUSLY, LOOKS
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BUT CAN YOU
GO BACK TO THESE LOCATIONS IN
THE NORTH ATLANTIC AND
SCANDINAVIA AND IT REALLY DOES
LOOK LIKE AN UNTOUCHED
WILDERNESS WITH GREAT NUMBERS OF
ANIMALS AND IT'S CAPTIVATING IN
THAT WAY AND YOU CAN SEE HOW
DIFFICULT LIFE MIGHT BE FOR THEM
BUT ALSO THE GREAT POTENTIAL OF
WHAT WAS THERE.
>> YEAH.
ALL RIGHT, FRED, GREAT
DOCUMENTARY, OF COURSE.
THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING HERE
TO TALK ABOUT IT.
MY PLEASURE, THANKS.
>> JUST A REMINDER "WILD WAY OF
THE VIKINGS" PREMIERES WEDNESDAY
AT 8:00.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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