Video by Graduate Division Communications and Events staff, Andy Sohn and Chris Pinto.

Ready for medieval battle
Ready for medieval battle

Each year, our family looks forward to attending Cal Day — the annual campuswide open house for the public. Our son, now 11, has been enjoying this event since he was five. This year, on April 21, we attended a workshop offered by Rosie Taylor called “Look Like a Viking: Make Your Own Chainmail.”

Rosie is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Scandinavian Studies. She notes that she got hooked on the medieval period in her childhood. She talked about the history of the Vikings and provided a brief introduction to the medieval Western European art of making protective chainmail. She brought samples of many types of protective gear and explained the progression from one to another, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each style and how it related to the armor of each period.

Rosie passed around chainmail samples and set everyone to work. Each group (kids and their parents) received a pile of small metal rings and two pair of pliers. We had to count the rings that looped together, twist them with the pliers, join them, move on to the next rings, over and over again. Making chainmail required a lot of concentration and patience! All of the kids were up to the challenge and, after about 20 minutes of work, each left with their very own chainmail samples.

There is no end to what you can learn at Cal Day!