Living history provides a vivid education that remains alive in the mind of the student for many years. It is one of West Liberty University’s Associate Professor of History Darrin Cox’s favorite teaching tools, along with a sword, axe, and other medieval weapons.
Because of his passion for Viking Living History, both a blacksmith and a glass bead maker, who have created materials for Canadian museums and government exhibits, will be visiting campus on Thursday, Oct. 17. The visit will include live demonstrations of their work and hands-on participation for students and the public.
“Darrell Markewitz and Neil Peterson are scholars of experimental archeology from Canada. They will practice their ancient professions all day long, just outside the rear entrance to the Media Arts Center. Students will be able to observe the actual work involved in these professions that date back to the time of the Vikings and a number of observers will also get to make their own glass beads and work with wrought iron,” Cox said.
Sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, the living history demonstrations also received generous support from the Arts and Ideas Fund, sponsored by the Nutting Foundation.
Experimental archaeology employs a number of different methods, techniques, analyses, and approaches in order to generate and test hypotheses, based upon archaeological source material, like ancient structures or artifacts.
Cox finds that hands-on history is fascinating to just about everyone. That’s why he’s spent five years working on a project that brings the age of the Vikings to life, known as the Viking Living History Project, which he has taken to area K-12 schools, colleges, libraries, and public groups like the Girls Scouts of America, offering a traveling history lesson that dates to the 793 – 1066 Viking era.
“Clothes, tools, weapons, jewelry, and social history from this period offers colorful stories and encourages students to treat history as a dynamic subject rather than just a dry book,” he said.
Originally from Kingwood, W.Va., he’s been with West Liberty University for more than five years now and he teaches classes in medieval and ancient European history.
Cox earned his undergraduate and master degrees at West Virginia University and his doctoral degree at Purdue University.
He has about 12 college students involved in presenting the Viking experience to groups. Most of the West Liberty students who assist Cox major in the liberal arts, social studies education, history, and criminal justice.
Cox also is the author of the book “Aristocratic Masculinity in France, 1450-1550” and the article “Living History: A New Kind of Social Science Field Experience.”
As a member of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at WLU, he is part of the College of Liberal Arts, which includes 16 faculty members from seven academic disciplines that also includes: history, criminal justice, geography, political science, psychology, social work, and sociology.
The living history demonstrations also are part of continuing programming for the Wheeling Regional Pre-Modern Symposium (WRPS).
For more information on Darrell Markewitz, visit the website: warehamforge.ca.