Woruldhord unchained!

Of late I have made too much of a practice of waffling for half an introductory paragraph about what the post won’t be about. Stopping that directly, this post is about a new and rather exciting collaborative web resource for Anglo-Saxon studies that you may well want to know about! However, it must still be made clear that it is not about that other exciting and at least partly collaborative resource for Anglo-Saxon studies, the Unlocked Wordhoard. This is about the Woruldhord project, and yes, that does sound like Wordhoard but Woruldhord is different. Still confused? Richard Scott Nokes, of the Unlocked Wordhoard, hearing of the Woruldhord project, wrote a post about Woruldhord at his Wordhoard, so that should remove any possibility of confusion about what I’m writing about, write? I mean, right? (Wright?) I’m glad we’ve got that clear.

Logo image for the Oxford Woruldhord project

Logo image for the Oxford Woruldhord project

So, okay, enough with the wordplay. What this is about is an Oxford project called Woruldhord that an acquaintance of mine is involved in. I went to the launch event partly because of that, partly because hey! free food (and indeed mead) but also because it sounded useful and indeed it is. So, what this thing is and does is, well, let me use their words:

The Woruldhord project is based at the University of Oxford and presents to you a collection of freely reusable educational resources to help you study or teach the period of English history centred on the Anglo-Saxons, or Old English (literature and language). This equates to a period of history roughly covering the mid-fifth century until the eleventh century. All the material held here was donated by members of the public, museums and libraries, academics, teachers, and societies. This then is a community collection created by a community of people for others to use.

Well, all very well, you may say, but what is there in it that I can use? Here I can speak with a certain amount of pain, as shortly before this event I’d had to do a lecture about early Anglo-Saxon monastic sites, and had been struggling for images of some especially expressive places like, for example, St Pancras’s Canterbury…

Ruins of the east end of St Pancras, Canterbury

Ruins of the east end of St Pancras, Canterbury. This item is from Project Woruldhord, University of Oxford (http://projects.oucs.ox.ac.uk/woruldhord); © Jonathan Dore

… or the Roman-style columns from the old minster at Reculver that are now in Canterbury Cathedral…

The columns from the Reculver minster, now in Canterbury Cathedral

The columns from the Reculver minster, now in Canterbury Cathedral. This item is from Project Woruldhord, University of Oxford (http://projects.oucs.ox.ac.uk/woruldhord); © Jonathan Dore

… and actually the lecture before, about burial in the same period, one of the objects I was supposed to refer to was the Sittingbourne Brooch but there were only images of its close partner the Sarre Brooch on the web (and do follow that link, it’s gorgeous) but – oh wait…

Sittingbourne Brooch on display in Sittingbourne Museum

Sittingbourne Brooch on display in Sittingbourne Museum. This item is from Project Woruldhord, University of Oxford (http://projects.oucs.ox.ac.uk/woruldhord); © Emma Payne

… and so it goes on. Most of the images I had used had been, shall we say, of dubious legal reproducibility, but these are all Creative Commons and fair use and so forth. If it’s here it’s been checked out and disclaimed, so you can use it, with due acknowledgement as here. The holdings are not actually that huge, and nor are they confined to images—I choose these just because they would actually have been, and will actually be, immediately useful to me as teacher. There isn’t really very much from the North, noticeably, which is a shame (though remediable). But there are much more para-academic things in there, snippets of old documentary film, bibliographies, teaching notes, poems, musical reenactment videos, you name it, someone’s contributed it, and contributions are still being accepted so if you liked, so could you. In any case it is well worth a browse. I will close with what may be my favourite bit, a small video animation called `Sparrow Flight’. Those who know will probably already have guessed what this is, but you may still be surprised, for those who don’t, watch it then read this, or if you prefer the other way round, and all will become clear…

Frame from video Sparrow Flight at the Pastperfect.org site on Yeavering


3 responses to “Woruldhord unchained!

  1. Jonathan, stop confusing people even more… :-)
    You say ‘yes, that does mean Wordhoard but Woruldhord is different’…
    but ‘word’ means ‘word’ and ‘woruld’ means ‘world’
    OE is easy-peasy, really…
    Thanks again for your wide-ranging and stimulating blog.

  2. I enjoyed watching ‘Sparrow Flight’ and found it almost therapeutic. Woruldhord looks like an excellent multimedia resource, with easy navigation to boot. Thanks for telling us about this one, Jon.

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