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Lost Worlds -

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(generated from captions) One stormy day, some time in the
second half of the ninth century,

a Viking ship was blown off course.

It finally beached up
on an uninhabited,

unexplored shore,
here on Iceland.

It must have presented a truly
terrifying, alien landscape.

But its discovery meant that
the Vikings were no longer
just raiders and traders.

From that moment onwards,
they were explorers and adventurers.

I'm retracing the steps
of the Vikings... discover the truth
about their lives...

..and their mysterious world.

Even now, this place feels like
it's on the edge of everything.

And, as an archaeologist,

I'll be seeking out some of the most
telling evidence of all...

..their very remains.

This flamboyant hairstyle
just adds to his allure.


Last time, I travelled east

to discover the far reaches
of Viking trade.

These dark lines, etched into
the marble, are Viking runes -

ancient Viking writing.

Now, I'm heading west to find out
how the Vikings became explorers

and kings,

creators of an entire Viking empire
of the north.

By the end of the ninth century,

with their territories and
influence spreading outwards

from their Scandinavian

The Swedes travelled east,
down the great rivers of Russia.

The Danes crossed the North Sea,
raiding and colonising,

and establishing, at York, the hub
of a trading network in the west.

For the Norwegians, however,
it was a different story.

I'm starting in Bergen, Norway,
to see how the people of the north,

the Norsemen, carved out their own
slice of the Viking world... the wild, uncharted
Atlantic Ocean.

From up here, you can clearly see
that between the mountains
and the fjords,

there's precious little in the way
of available farming land.

So, for an expanding population,
many of them ambitious young men,

that absence of available land
could have only one outcome.

The most adventurous of them would
seek to change their circumstances

and their opportunities, and to do
that, they would up and leave.

The Vikings were notorious for their
fast and manoeuvrable warships.

But to conquer the ocean,
they also needed sturdier vessels.

Shorter, wider and powered by sail.

They were perfect to carry goods,

animals, tools

and people.

Crewed by as few as six men,

ships like these carried the Norse
to the end of the known world...

..and far beyond.

Lena Borjesson has spent months
at sea, navigating without
modern technology

to understand just how
the Vikings did it.

They were dependent on the sun.

If they didn't find the sun,
they were "hav vill",

they were lost at sea.

Harv ville. Hav vill.

That's a word you don't want
to hear on a Viking ship.Right!

From experiments at sea,

Lena has discovered that being so
dependent on an unreliable sun,

the Vikings often had to be flexible
about exactly where they ended up.

If you don't end up in Shetland,
you would end up in Orkney.

And that's not bad, is it? Right.

So you just have to be a bit
more open-minded

about where you're going.
You've got it.

Their epic voyages are a defining
part of the Viking legend.

From coast-hopping raids,
it wasn't long before

the Norwegian adventurers started
to strike out into the open ocean,

in search of new lands to settle.

Now, I'm following
in their footsteps...

..travelling from Bergen
to Shetland... of their first stops.

We know that large numbers
of them arrived on Orkney

and here in Shetland from around
800 AD onwards,

because virtually all of the place
names are Norse in origin.

No Pictish names survive.

We don't know if the local
population was enslaved

or exterminated or just driven off.

But knowing how badly the Vikings
behaved elsewhere,
it was probably all three.

On Shetland, there had already
been raiding and pillaging.

But some Vikings who arrived here
came to stay.

And relics of their farms
still survive.

This ancient site of human
habitation is cheek by jowl
with the airport.

So if you hear a roaring
sound in the background,

that'll be the 3.45 to Bergen.

Over here, there are the foundations
for seven long,
rectangular buildings,

and these were built
and used by the Vikings.

This would have been part
of the main family quarters.

Along here, there would have been

wooden-topped benches
for sitting on and sleeping on,

on either side, a central hearth.


That's one of those planes
I was talking about.

It would have been quite dark
in here, quite smoky.

Then, at the far end,
there's a corn-drying room,

where there would have been heat

that would have dried
the crop for storage.

And then at the far end, the
archaeologists found burnt stone,

so it suggests there might
even have been a primitive
sauna in use here.

Often across the Viking world,
we discovered burials, treasure,

or the remains of warriors.

But on Shetland, there are relics
of more ordinary lives,

of Viking farmers and craftsmen.

It's a fantastic piece, as you
can see, it's lovely.

It was found in a peat bog.

You'll see there's a hook shape
on the handle there.

The reason for that is that
the thing was used in a boat,

and you are bailing water

Oh, it's a bailer, right.

Yeah, that's right.

It would be all too easy just to
let the thing shoot out of your hand

and it might plop into the sea.

So you want to have a bit
of a backstop on it to stop it
shooting out.

And you can see here that the wear
pattern is on that side. Mm-hm.

It's a right-handed person.
A right-handed person.


This object was found
in the 1970s in Shetland.

It's so fine. Look at the tines,
the little rivets,

because its composite, isn't it?

It's been made from multiple parts.

That's gorgeous. Look at that.

Look at the shine on it
from being handled,

you know, that patina there
of being held and used.

Exactly, that's what brings
the past to life.

Handling these simple objects

took me right into
the practicalities
of Viking daily life.

It's got this little
depression there.

That's for your thumb,
so you can carry it.

Lamps, whetstones,

loom weights and fishing tackle.

But best of all was
one very personal possession.

And it's a piece of a glove,
or a mitten.

That's for a thumb?
That's a thumb.

For a Viking thumb
Yes, yes, a Viking thumb.

It's one thing to talk about Vikings

but that was worn by a Viking hand.

Well, it's been carbon dated
to 975 AD.

Oh, wow! How can that be 1,000
years old? Is that knitted?

That's woven, believe it or not.


I think it's just absolutely
electrifying to see an item
like this

where something as powerful
as the human hand

is there to be seen.


Hey, babe, we gotta go over that
bush fire survival plan today. Um, I'm kind of busy. Uh, why don't we just
do it tomorrow some time? Yeah, alright, I'll pencil it in. Thank you, sweetheart.
(GLASS SMASHES) Do you want a cup of tea?


Shetland supported a huge community
of around 10,000 Vikings.

But these islands settlements were
just the first stepping stones

for even greater and far more
daring journeys.

While the Swedes were getting
rich from trade in the east

and the Danes were establishing
a kingdom in England,

the Vikings here plotted
a route into the west,

and the lands they revealed
were much more than just
a day's sail away.

From Shetland, and continuing
north and west to Iceland.

Having braved the wild seas,

the Vikings reached here
in the late ninth century.

I've been digging in this bank
for a very good reason,

because I was told
that if I went deep enough,

I would find a very important,
significant layer.

Now, if you look down in here,

first of all, ignore that very
obvious, thick, grey band.

Down into that deep section,

do you see the quite narrow band
of sandy coloured material

in amongst much darker stuff?

Now that, believe it or not,
is debris from a volcanic eruption
dated to 872 AD.

has been found below that layer,

meaning there was no-one here
before 872.

Above that layer, after that date,

we start to get evidence
of Viking settlement.

And that's how we know
when they arrived.

Iceland was some way north
of the Viking homelands.

And although the Norwegians
here were well used to surviving

long, dark, cold winters, this place
was in a league of its own.

The very first settlements
here were on the coast,

where there was easy prey
in the water.

Fish, walrus, seals,

even whales.

Today, just outside Reykjavik

there's a Viking-themed restaurant
that recreates the delights
of a unique diet.

I remember when I was five
or six years old,

my father told me you will get
strong if you eat it.

And he kept telling me that.

The local Viking speciality?
Rotten shark.

And you say rotten,
do you mean rotten?

Yes, it is actually rotten.

They cut the best pieces of
the shark and put it in a box.

They put the box into the sand
and let it be lying there
for a couple of weeks.

You just eat it slowly, just let it
be in your mouth for a long time.

Enjoy the taste.


It's a formidable scent.

That is amazing!


It's like...

it's like blue cheese,

but 100 times more.


Give him schnapps.

Fortunately, there was something
on hand to take the taste away.

That is Black Death.

Black Death and rotten shark.

I can't remember the last time
I had those two together.

That's amazing. I like that.

I'm always saying to my kids
that you've got to try things.

And that don't tell me you don't
like it till you've tried it,

so I felt, on that basis, I had to
really give these things a go.

I could easily understand
why someone like Johannes,

who's actually got a connection
to this stuff,

why you'd become addicted to it.

And every now and again,

you would want to remind yourself
about the past,

and you get it from something
as strong,

you know, the past is strong here.

You can smell it and you can
taste it, and I get that.

winters weren't bad enough,

the Viking settlers had to contend
with another even deadlier threat.

Not from the skies...

but from deep beneath the earth.

Iceland is a volcanic island,
and that carries its own risks.

Scattered all across here
is this material,

which is pumice, volcanic rock.

Now, that has come originally
from Mount Hekla.

You can see the white summit just
nosing above the horizon.

Hekla erupted famously in 1104.

It was a catastrophic event.

It scattered ash and debris
over half the island.

This farm and many others
like it had to be abandoned.

Viking farmers were tough folk,

And undaunted by the occasional
volcanic eruption,

the early Icelandic
communities thrived.

And amazingly, they decided that
even this very challenging land

wasn't an end to their endeavours.

Not when there was still a whole
lot more ocean to be explored.

And in 1000 AD,

the unforgettably named Erik the Red
led a fleet of 25 ships

out into the North Atlantic
in hopes of founding a new colony.

They had reliable ships,
they were renowned sailors,

but even so, there are references to
countless people washed overboard,

ships driven onto rocks,
plain old "lost at sea".

Erik the Red's expedition colonised
what we now know as Greenland.

But the Viking explorers
still weren't done.

Evidence of Viking camps
has been found as far west
as Newfoundland.

And it's thought they even sailed
down the eastern seaboard
of America.

The distance from Norway
to Newfoundland is 4,500 miles,

and were talking about a time
when that land mass was beyond
the knowledge,

far less than reach,
of any other Europeans.

What those Vikings did, then,
was simply staggering.

No permanent colonies were ever
established in North America.

And eventually, the harsh extremes
of Greenland also proved too much.

But on Iceland,
despite all the hazards,

the Vikings went on to build
a whole new society.

And, without a king in charge,
they had to find a whole new way
to govern.

The first settlement of the island
was essentially lawless.

But after two generations,
36 of the leading farmers
came together

and formed an assembly
to govern Iceland.

It was called the Althingi.

It was founded in 930 AD,

and it met once a year
for two weeks,

to make laws, to judge disputes,
and to appoint a law speaker,

whose responsibility it was
to remember and recite the law.

But this being Iceland,
a special location was chosen
for the Assembly.

And it's here where two of planet
Earth's tectonic plates divide.

So the Althingi straddled
the old world of Europe in the east

and the new world of the west.

And it seems strangely apt

that those first Icelanders
chose this place

to form a new kind of government.

That government met on this site
for the next 800 years,

well into the modern era.

But what's incredible to me is
that the 36 men who met here,
over 1,000 years ago,

unknowingly gave birth to the oldest
extant democracy

in the whole world.

Leaving Iceland and its
proto-Republicans behind,

I'm returning south to Scandinavia,

and a Viking site
close to Denmark's capital.

Because while the Norwegians were
busy creating colonies

in the North Atlantic,

back in the old world,
things were also changing.

In the middle of the 10th century,
the Danes were being ruled
by a new dynasty,

that was forging the beginnings
of a nation-state.

The new royal house was
the Jelling dynasty.

And there's is the most visible
legacy of the Viking age,

because towards the end
of the 10th century,

they built an enormous
amount of infrastructure -

towns were fortified, a huge
earthen rampart was built

across the neck of the Jutland

to protect against invaders
from Germany.

They also built numerous
bridges and roads,

as well as these huge fortresses.

This fortress is at Trelleborg,
around 60 miles west of Copenhagen.

It's an impressive symbol
of royal power.

These fortresses were much more
than just defensive positions -

they were very visible statements
of wealth and power
and centralised control.

The power was Harald Bluetooth,
King of Denmark,

and he exercised total control
over the people, the land
and its resources.

And his legacy was much more
than constructions like this.

He changed his country for ever

and he did that by converting
his people

to the modern religion
called Christianity.

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Since the end of the Roman Empire,
Christianity had dominated
religious life

right across mainland Europe.

Scandinavia was the last outpost
of the old pagan ways.

But not for long.

At one of Denmark's oldest
towns, Ribe,

archaeologists are making
some startling discoveries.

Graves of some of Scandinavia's
very first Christians.

I spent most of my years digging
on prehistoric sites,

so it's genuinely remarkable
for me to see...

such obvious remains in the ground.

You can see the clear outlines
of the graves,

you can even see the remains
of the coffins.

What is it about the skeletons that
says these are Christians?

They are all, er...

east-west burials,
with the skull in the west end

facing east, as the Christian
doctrine says.

You should face the upgoing sun
on the Judgement Day.

So when the trumpet sounds,
Jesus comes back...

And they rise from the grave,
facing east.

They're facing the direction
he's coming from.

The oldest ones are carbon dated
to around 850.

That is actually some of the oldest
Christian graves in Scandinavia.

So right early on in the Viking age,
you've got Christian Viking
burials here.

The Vikings here were some
of the very first to adopt
the new religion.

But it appears that these first
Viking Christians
still hung on

to their traditional
maritime burial rites.

And then we have all these rivets,
set alongside the coffin.

Yes, they are big as well,
they're big pieces of metal.

Yes, we hope to find out
if this is a part of a boat.

So you might have within
a Christian burial, the suggestion
of a boat burial,

or being buried with part of a boat.

Yes, of course, being Christian
in these early stages didn't mean

that you should abandon
all your old practices.

So they may still be paying
homage to Thor and Odin.

But when it suited,
they would just pray to Jesus.

It's amazing to think that these
people weren't just Vikings,

and the product of the Viking
tradition, but they were Christian
at the same time.

Excavating these graves
is like turning a bright light

onto a few pages of history.

They illuminate the moment

when the Vikings are no longer
just part of their own
private Scandinavian world.

They're becoming part
of a much bigger picture,

they're joining something more
modern, more European,

and the catalyst for that
is Christianity.

All over Scandinavia, Vikings
began to turn to the new god.

And their conversion would signal
the beginning of the end
of the Viking age.

This religious revolution
was endorsed around 970,

when Denmark's King,
Harald Bluetooth,

made Christianity
his country's official religion. all Danes were expected
to worship Christ.

And to celebrate the moment,
Harald Bluetooth installed
a huge stone monument.

Today, it's one of Denmark's
most precious national treasures.

Because all the tourists have gone,

I've been allowed inside
for some privileged access.

The stone once upon a time
was brightly painted -

red, white and blue, as it happens.

But 1,000 years of weathering
and winter have faded it,

so that it's very indistinct now.

Now, I'll grant you, it's almost
impossible to make it out,

but what you are in fact looking at
is this image here.

It's Jesus Christ emerging
from within a thorn bush.

And it's interpreted
as a representation
of Christianity itself,

disentangling itself from amongst
the thorns of the old pagan beliefs.

This is actually the first page
of a modern Danish passport,

so that this image is alive
and relevant for Danes even today.

The story goes that before
his conversion, King Harald
witnessed a divine miracle.

A moment commemorated
in some early Christian art.

Here, on these gilded plates,
set into the altar.

In this one, you can see
a priest performing a miracle.

He can extend his hand into the fire

and then withdraw it,
apparently unhurt,

although he does seem to be wearing
a giant oven glove.

Then, in this one, we have Harald
himself, a fine figure of a man,

being baptised while standing
up to his waist in a barrel.

This is all very nice,
but you can see it as PR spin,

stories to please the masses,

because Harald's conversion
to Christianity,
more than anything else,

was a calculated political move.

Christianity gave kings a divine
right to rule under a single god.

The days when a brave warrior
might rise to fight alongside
the old gods

through epic earthly adventures
was over.

For those being ruled,
Christianity would change
their lives for ever,

because conversion to the one true
God struck at the very heart

of all that it had meant
to be a Viking.

Seeing the benefits
of Harald's conversion,

other Viking rulers started
to follow suit.

Within just 100 years,

most of Scandinavia
was officially Christian.

And as their ancient pagan roots
were left behind...

..the modern nation-states
of Denmark, Norway and Sweden
were being born.

Christianity was central
to that modern world.

The King was Christian.
The trading partners all across
Europe were Christian.

Christianity also dictated that
the old pagan beliefs were
to be stamped out,

not just in Denmark,
but all across the Viking world.

In Norway, edicts were issued,

banning the performance
of spells to awaken trolls -

strict no-no.

I'll get that, please.

There was also a raft of new laws.


Meat could only be eaten
on certain days.

Rules for married life even dictated
when you could and couldn't
have sex.

had been like friends.

Provided you made your

then you felt entitled to help
from Odin and Thor.

But the new Christian God
wasn't like that.

He was more of a judge.
If you misbehaved,

he was the injured party
and you would be made to suffer
in the next life.

So instead of the promise
of Valhalla,

now, Vikings learned to live
in fear of eternal damnation.

The whole focus of Viking life
was shifting,

away from the here and now,

the adventure, the heroic deed,
the reputation.

Instead, it became about
hoping for life after death.

And there was something about that
that feels a little bit sad.

The wild north that had been
the backdrop for the entire
Viking world

was leaving its mysterious
and ancient past behind...

and emerging into a much more
European age.

It was all very well becoming
Christian and exercising
royal power,

but to effectively run a state,
you also needed an efficient

and effective taxes as well.

And the masters of that operated
just across the North Sea -

the Anglo-Saxons.

Now, I'm heading for England...

..because for the
ninth-century Danes,

this country was more important
than ever... an easy source of cash.

For nearly 100 years,
between 866 AD and 954 AD,

Denmark had had a piece
of the action,

controlling the kingdom of the York
from the Danish city of Jorvik.

Now though, York was back
under Anglo-Saxon control.

So Harald Bluetooth's descendants
had to resort

to some very old-fashioned
Viking tactics.

Not that that just meant
more raiding for slaves
or monastic treasure.

By the late 10th century,
the Vikings had a new scheme -

to issue threats
and demand tribute payments

in cold, hard cash.

England had the most

and efficient currency anywhere
in Western Europe at this time.

They had up to 70 mints
active at any one time,

from York down to Exeter
and Canterbury.

silver pennies, much like this one.

So they're all solid silver, that's
this unifying feature of them,

they've all got the same worth?
Precisely, yes.

England had a sophisticated
coinage system and well-organised
tax collection.

Denmark had neither.

But King Harald's son and successor,
Sweyn Forkbeard,

didn't see the need for improvement.

Not when you had neighbours
who did it so well for you.

Sweyn might have been baptised,
but his veins ran with Viking blood.

And when he came to the throne,

he crewed up the Danish longships
once more and set sail for England.

So it's from around the 980s that
the Vikings begin to go and attack

and extract money from England again.

And we see the English coins
begin to flow into Scandinavia
in massive quantity.

How much money are the Vikings
taking out of the country?

A very great deal.

We know from the Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle that more than £200,000

was paid to them overall
between 991 and 1018.

Are the English producing coins
precisely because they know
the Vikings are coming

and will want paying?

Well, the most vivid example
we have of this is this coin here.

With all of these other types,
you have the bust of the King
and a cross.

But in this case, you don't,
you have the Lamb of God

and you have the Holy Dove.

This coinage is all about
an invitation to God,

trying to get him to send
the Vikings away and bring
the English to safety.

But, invoking God on their coins
didn't help.

The more they paid the Vikings off,
like any blackmailer,

the more they came back
with new demands.

Realising that England
was being bled dry,

the English king decided

Now, the English king, Ethelred,

we generally know him
as Ethelred the Unready.

He was given that nickname,
"Unready", for very a good reason.

In old English,
unready means ill-advised,

and the policy of continually buying
off the Vikings was a pretty
poor plan.

In 1002, he made a ruthless decision

and ordered that all Danish men
in England were to be killed.

What happened next is known
as the Saint Brice's Day Massacre.

By the 11th century, England
was home to thousands
of born-and-bred ethnic Danes,

whose families had lived
in England for generations.

But they dressed differently
and they stood out in society.

These are the skeletons
of three men.

They were excavated in Oxford
during work in advance
of a building project.

There's three here on display but

It was far too many to display
here and now,

so the rest are in their carefully
numbered and catalogued
cardboard boxes.

All men, all, as far as we can
tell, aged between 16 and 25,

certainly none of them older
than 40.

But what is particularly
amazing about them

is that they're all the victims
of violent death.

I almost don't know where
to start.

This individual here, you can tell
that he's a big robust character.

But for all that,
he's been felled initially

by a blow to the back of the legs.

Like a sword swung at him
from behind and it's cut
through the muscles

the flesh, the tendons and finally
through the bones themselves.

So he's been felled like a big tree.

But that's not the end of it
for this guy.

On this side of the pelvis,
do you see that hole?

That puncture wound?

That's where the point of whatever
it was, spear or sword, went in

and out the other side.

Huge damage to the skull.

Something like a sword or something
sharp and heavy has caused

this massive slicing blow,
it's opened his head up like an egg.

There are cut marks on the ribs.

Too much has been done here.
Any one of these wounds

would kill the person -
this is crazy violence.

These are not the kinds of injuries
that are inflicted on people

who are standing up and fighting.

All of these men - the three here
and the rest in the boxes -

were killed, butchered,
while they were running away.

A particularly grim piece
of evidence suggests

that all these men were victims
of Ethelred's massacre in 1002.

If you look at this one, you see
this burning on the forehead

on the front of the skull?

And then there's more burning here,
on the right hand.

He's been in a fire somewhere
after death.

And some of the other bodies show
evidence of burning as well.

An account of the killings
from Oxford, where these

records that a group of Danes
sought sanctuary in a church.

To no avail.

The local Anglo-Saxons simply
burnt it to the ground

with everyone inside.

So it's possible, just possible,
that this, and they, were some
of those

who sought refuge in a church
1,000 years ago,

for all the good it did them.

King Ethelred's desperate action,
though, was a failure.

The Viking raids continued unabated.

And soon, England was on its knees.

For the Danish king,
it was the chance of a lifetime.

In 1013, Sweyn Forkbeard launched
a full-scale invasion of England,

and it worked.

The English king, Ethelred
the Unready, simply ran away,

abandoning the English crown
to the Dane.

But it turned out to be
a very short reign.

Five weeks later,
Forkbeard was dead,

but, by his side, was his
young son called Canute.

Now there's a name
we're all familiar with.

Canute was grandson
of Harald Bluetooth
and son of Forkbeard -

a continuation
of the Jelling royal dynasty.

Canute returned to Denmark,

but he kept his eye firmly
on the English crown.

Just two years later, he was back,

with 200 ships and 10,000 men.

And after some bloody fighting,

he became King of all England.

Everyone knows the story
about King Canute and the sea -

how he ordered that his throne
be taken down onto the beach

and then he sat there, and as
the tide came in, he told
the waves to turn back.

And of course they didn't.

And his feet got a wet
and he ended up looking
a bit foolish, a bit arrogant.

But that wasn't what he intended
at all.

What happened that day
was a pure PR stunt.

His subjects, his followers,
were supposed to see
that he was just a man

and that only God had the power
to control the sun and the moon
and the tides.

In conquering England with an axe,
Canute had shown his Viking roots.

But he was also determined to prove
he was a devout Christian king.

Combining both powerful traditions,

he would go on to become ruler
of an empire,

a member of the European
royal elite.

And when he died, his tomb
was no Viking longship
beneath a grassy mound.

Instead, it was a cathedral.

So that, nowadays, we hardly think
of him as a Viking at all.

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Originally founded by the
Anglo-Saxons over 1,000
years ago,

Winchester Cathedral houses tombs
of the great and the good,

centuries of England's most worthy.

In medieval England,

a more celebrated, a more Christian
location for your mortal remains

could hardly be wished for.

So, for a king who was born Viking,
whose heritage was pagan,

and who was viewed as a brutal
conqueror of England,

you might think this is
an unlikely final resting place.

But the truth is,
by Canute's death in 1035,

he was known as Canute the Great. Canute's ambition had extended
beyond ruling England.

He was soon King of the Scottish
islands, Denmark,

Norway and parts of Sweden too.

He had created a Viking empire.

From England, I've come
south to Austria,

right in the heart of Europe.

Because Canute wasn't just
a northern ruler,

but an early European statesman.

Canute was smart.

He knew that more trade
across Europe meant more taxes
to fill his coffers.

So he set about standardising
the whole European economy.

Now, you might think of the euro
as a modern concept.

But it's not really,
and in the 11th century,

it was neither France not Germany
that was the centre
for monetary union.

It was England.

First of all, Canute standardised
Scandinavian and English coins,

so that there was a common currency.

And then, it appears that right
across his empire, the ounce,

the weight that was used
for measuring gold and silver,
was altered to match up

with the ounce of Byzantium,
of the Byzantine empire.

And that was at a time when
Constantinople was not only
the largest,

but also the wealthiest city
on Earth.

Canute was carefully
integrating his empire

into a medieval single
European market.

Canute the Great was a player
on the world stage,
and here in Vienna,

there's an incredible object
that shows us how influential
he was.

And how far he had come
from his Viking roots.

A decade after becoming King,
Canute attended the coronation

of the man who ruled
most of central Europe -

the Holy Roman Emperor.

is what he was crowned with.

It's called Die Reichskrone,

the Imperial Crown,
and back in 1027,

watching this being placed
on the Emperor's head

was the hot ticket of the season.

It's decorated with 144 emeralds,

sapphires and amethysts.

Back then, the technique
of cutting facets

into precious stones was unknown.

Instead, they were polished
into these smooth shapes.

They look a bit like boiled sweets,
to be honest.

Although a lot more expensive.

And they're then mounted
to let light shine through them.

The final touch
are the four picture plates,

which depict messages
from the Old Testament.

And most important,
most tellingly for our story,

is this one on the corner.

It shows Jesus Christ enthroned
as the Lord of Hosts.

And above his head, in red enamel,
are the words in Latin,

"Per me reges regnant" -

"By me, kings rule."

And this idea, this concept
of divinely ordained kingship,

was something Canute
was very enthusiastic about.

When the Holy Roman Emperor
was crowned,

Canute the Great walked as part
of the Imperial procession.

And afterwards, the Emperor even
to marry Canute's daughter

to cement a powerful
political alliance.

Canute's attendance
at that coronation

showed that he was a major
European player, he had arrived. And he clearly believed
that he was the equal
of the Holy Roman Emperor.

Because when he got home,
he had one of these made
for himself.

Canute's reign lasted
less than two decades.

But in that time,
he had utterly changed
his Scandinavian world.

He had been born a Viking,

but he died a European.

Canute himself had left four
children and his empire was divided.

Norway, Denmark and Sweden
soon found their own new rulers.

It was the end
for the great Jelling dynasty.

And, with it, the entire Viking age.

But, by then, Scandinavia
was no longer a remote,
pagan backwater.

The violent, plundering men
from the north had become
colonisers, Christians,

nation and empire builders.

It had been an incendiary time
in European history.

But it had burnt itself out.

Nonetheless, the impact
of the Vikings on modern Europe

is inescapable.

The politics, the economics,

the national and religious
identities were forged,

at least in part, by their exploits.

The Vikings had raided
and pillaged coastlines
across northern Europe.

They'd set out on journeys
beyond the knowledge
of any other Europeans...

..colonised uninhabited lands...

..and traded goods from the distant
empires of the Far East.

In little more than two centuries,

the Vikings had expanded
the Western world,

voyaging from Newfoundland
in the west to Constantinople
in the east.

A world far, far bigger
than even they could have
imagined possible.

And they're still with us today

in our towns and cities,

in our culture,

in our language and in our blood.

And in the very existence
of the modern nation-states
of northern Europe.

But that's not what we remember,
or why.

The truth is,
the myth and the legend of them,

the excitement and the adventure,

is all there
in the sound of one word -


Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

Australia is a vast and lucky land.

Beneath our feet is a treasure trove
of unimaginable riches.

But this story is about much more

than precious minerals
and dusty mine shafts.

For 150 years,

mining has changed the lives
of us all

in unexpected
and extraordinary ways.

It sparked waves of mass immigration

and ignited political revolt.

The stockade is taken
and 30 people are lying dead.

They were the shock troops
of Australian democracy.

Axe the tax!

But mining has also toppled
Prime Ministers.

Their only job
is to deliver a profit

and if that means that they bring
the whole world down with them,

then too bad.

It's wrenched
Aboriginal peoples' land away.

Yet mining could be the very thing

that offers
the First Australians hope.

What I've seen in my lifetime

is the transformation
of the mining industry

from the pillagers

to the major investors
in the indigenous world.

It's saved Australia
from financial ruin

and made people rich
in the most unpredictable ways.

There's always been a link between
mining and prostitution.

The promise for them was the same as the promise for the men
they got the gold as well.

But this boom and bust business

ignites raging clashes
over who gets the money.

The police came and they told us,
you know, "get out."

"They're gonna come
and they're gonna burn houses."

Mining's rich history
is a battleground that has divided,

and yet forged, the nation.

It has an effect upon every
aspect of our lives.

So the story of mining
is Australia's story.



and Land.

This is the epic history of mining.


and thousands of Chinese
and European miners

are pouring into Queensland
in search of gold.

The First Australians who settled
here around 60,000 years ago

have never seen a foreigner.

This is first contact,

and the invaders present
a confusing threat.

Here were thousands of totally
foreign, incomprehensible men

behaving in ways that made
absolutely no sense

to the indigenous people.

Because the miners wanted
to explore everywhere,

and in many cases,
the Aborigines were shot down.

But on the other hand,
many miners were speared.

The conflict was probably

as serious and bloody
as any other conflict

in other parts of Australia.

And so begins a bitter battle

between the First Australians
and big mining

that runs for decades.

It's a conflict that
will have unexpected

and extraordinary consequences
for all Australians.

A fight that will decide who owns
the land beneath our feet.

The swinging 60s,

and for many Australians
it's a time of hedonism and freedom.

But in the remote corners
of this vast continent,

an ugly and hidden war is raging.

At the Aboriginal reserve of Yirrkala
in the Northern Territory,

bauxite has been found.

Excavation begins without
any negotiation

with the traditional elders.

There had been, in many ways,
little change

from the 19th into the 20th century,

if we just take the one particular
and very, very relevant question...

Did Aborigines have any rights
to the land on which they lived?

And the answer in 1860 was no,

and the answer in 1960 was no.

Aboriginal people had no power,

there were no Land Councils,
there was so legislation.

I mean, they were barely recognised

within the apparatus of
the Australian state, as it were.

So for the mining companies,
just an irrelevancy.

I mean, we were being provided
with consent permits

to go out and explore at the behest
of state governments

and we were gonna do that.

The Yolgnu clan leaders
couldn't believe

that someone could just come in
and take their land from them,

and they believed that they must
have some rights

because, you know,

the land had been inherited
from their forefathers,

their laws said it was theirs
since time immemorial

and suddenly they were
losing their land

by an act of state.

They weren't prepared
to accept that.

Aboriginal people may not yet
be included in the census

and very few of them vote,

but mining is now the catalyst
for the First Australians

to take a stand over land rights.

The elders of Yirrkala,
including Munggurrawuy Yunupingu,

create one of the most significant

in Australian history.

What was remarkable
about this petition

was the sacred design
and the English words

written in the correct legal format

together on a piece of bark.

The painted design
proclaims indigenous law

and depicts the ancient relationship

of the First Australians to the land.

On the 14th of August, 1963,

the bark petitions are presented
to Canberra.

They are the first traditional
documents ever

to be recognised
by the Australian Parliament.

The bark petition was a brilliant
piece of political theatre.

It instantly drew the attention
of white Australia,