or


[09/06/12 - 08:06 AM]
"Nova" Forges the New Fall Season with the Mystery Behind the Ultimate Weapon Used by the World's Fiercest Warriors
"Secrets of the Viking Sword" will kick off the show's 39th season on Wednesday, October 10 at 9:00/8:00c.

[via press release from PBS]

"NOVA" FORGES THE NEW FALL SEASON WITH THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE ULTIMATE WEAPON USED BY THE WORLD'S FIERCEST WARRIORS

"SECRETS OF THE VIKING SWORD"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 9 PM/8c on PBS

www.pbs.org/nova/vikingsword

Twitter: @novapbs

Facebook.com/NOVAonline

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [Boston, MA] -- The Vikings were among the fiercest warriors of all time, and a select few carried the ultimate weapon: a sword nearly 1,000 years ahead of its time. But the secrets behind this super sword's design, creation and use have remained hidden for centuries. Now, through a mix of science, archeology, metallurgy and history, a new NOVA/National Geographic co-production unravels the mystery and recreates this Viking uber-weapon -- the Ulfberht sword -- to kick off the new fall season of NOVA. Secrets of the Viking Sword premieres Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 9PM/8c on PBS (check local listings).

Fashioned using a process unknown to the Vikings' rivals, the Ulfberht sword was a revolutionary high-tech blade as well as a work of art. Considered by some to be one of the greatest swords ever made, it remains a fearsome weapon more than a millennium after it last saw battle. But how did master swordsmiths of the Middle Ages come up with the Ulfberht's complex recipe, and what was its role in history? So far, no one has been able to forge a metallurgically accurate Ulfberht.

Produced between 800 to 1000 AD, the Ulfberht offered unique advantages as a weapon. Its combination of strength, lightness, and flexibility represented the perfect marriage of form and function in the chaos that was a Viking battle. Thousands of Viking swords have since been found, most discovered in rivers or excavated from burials across Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Of those, only 171 are marked Ulfberht-- most only corroded skeletons of once magnificent blades--further cloaking the mysteries of what some experts deem the ultimate weapon of the fiercest warriors.

In Secrets of the Viking Sword, NOVA and National Geographic follow modern day swordsmith Ric Furrer as he endeavors to become the first person in a thousand years to bring this mysterious sword back to life. Furrer reverse engineers this legendary sword with the help of new findings about the chemistry of the Ulfberht's steel. Viewers will watch every step of the way as he uses period tools and methods to build a special oven, heat and cool the raw iron, and skillfully wield the mallet to shape and forge the metal by hand, hammer blow by powerful hammer blow.

One of the deepest mysteries scientists have grappled with surrounding the sword has been the metallic composition of the Ulfberht, which was forged from high quality steel that would not be seen again in Europe until the advent of industrial blast furnaces nearly 1,000 years later. Most weapons from Viking times were comprised of "bloomery iron," a low-carbon material that was relatively soft and brittle. The Ulfberht blade, however, was made from high-carbon steel that was smelted in a sealed crucible or small furnace, and slowly allowed to cool. This gave this sword flexibility and strength far ahead of its time. But the novel material used was not found anywhere else in Europe in the Middle Ages. So where did the crucible steel come from?

To unravel the mystery and build the case, NOVA/National Geographic take viewers on a journey to find the source of the imported raw material and figure out how it got to Scandinavia. Tantalizing, recently found clues from Viking graves tie the import of the steel to the exploits of Viking traders, who voyaged all the way to Constantinople down the Volga river. These adventurous Viking merchants and warriors made connections with suppliers of the high quality steel, which had probably been forged somewhere in Persia or Afghanistan.

The mystique and notoriety of the Ulfbehrt sword stemmed not just from its unusual material but also from the intangible value of its name. The inlay of twisted bloomery steel spelling out the name Ulfberht on the crucible steel blade was an extremely risky process; the wrong timing or temperature could crack or ultimately break the blade. [As Furrer discovers, the inlaying of the name requires a highly skilled craftsman.] To this day, the "Ulfbehrt" trademark and the symbol of a cross remain an enigma to experts. Both indicate however that the sword was a coveted weapon forged by a master craftsman. Recent finds by archaeologists show that the Ulfberht signature was so highly regarded that contemporary fakes and knock-offs were made by imitators, some with misspelled inlays, using an inferior, lower-carbon steel. These probably had value simply as status symbols or for their psychological impact, instilling fear and dread in enemies from the sight of the name alone.

Secrets of the Viking Sword delves into the intriguing process of how science is helping to bring the Ulfbehrt back to life. The film demonstrates the dramatic and extremely challenging forging process as it unfolds, step- by-step, and illustrates how technology and innovation enabled craftsmen to create one of the greatest weapons of all time.

###

Now in its 39th season, NOVA is the most-watched prime time science series on American television, reaching an average of five million viewers weekly. The series remains committed to producing in-depth science programming in the form of hour-long (and occasionally longer) documentaries, from the latest breakthroughs in technology to the deepest mysteries of the natural world. NOVA airs Wednesdays at 9pm ET/PT on WGBH Boston and most PBS stations. The Director of the WGBH Science Unit and Senior Executive Producer of NOVA is Paula S. Apsell.

Funding for NOVA is provided by David H. Koch Fund For Science, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Lockheed Martin Corporation and public television viewers.





  [september 2012]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S
      


· NOVA (PBS)





[06/29/16 - 09:29 AM]
The Second Season of Pop's "Sing It On" Premieres on Wednesday, July 27 at 9:00 PM, ET/PT
The eight-episode docu-series showcases the real-life stories of four wickedly talented and highly charismatic collegiate a cappella teams.

[06/29/16 - 09:02 AM]
Ovation TV Sets Revolutionary Programming Stunt for Bastille Day, July 14
"Pardon Our French!," Ovation's day-long programming event, will feature French-themed films, documentaries and exclusive previews and behind-the-scenes footage from "Versailles."

[06/29/16 - 09:02 AM]
"Squidbillies" Season 10 Premieres Sunday, July 10 at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on Adult Swim
This season features all-new covers of the theme song each week from a variety of musical artists including Father John Misty, Kurt Vile, The B-52s, Sharon Van Etten, Jimmy Cliff and Rebecca Schiffman.

[06/29/16 - 08:51 AM]
Stewart Copeland of The Police Rocks Out in Travel Channel's "Island Fever"
In the hour-long special, Copeland dives headfirst into the Java Sea to surf Bali's famous waves, drinks local moonshine in the rice fields and jams with a Balinese gamelan drumming group.

[06/29/16 - 08:35 AM]
Tuesday's Broadcast Ratings: "Got Talent" Once Again Keeps NBC on Top
The Peacock wins the night in adults 18-49 as well as total viewers.

[06/29/16 - 08:03 AM]
Dave Navarro to Be First Male Honoree at Investigation Discovery's Annual "Inspire a Difference" Event in October
Navarro will join such former honorees as Marcia Gay Harden, Rosario Dawson, Angie Harmon and Kristin Chenoweth.

[06/29/16 - 08:00 AM]
E!'s Hit Series "Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry" Returns Wednesday, August 17 at 8PM ET/PT for a Powerful New Season
Kris Jenner, Moby, Tori Spelling, Roselyn Sanchez, Kevin McHale, Carole Radziwill, Austin Mahone, Jewel and Lil John are among those featured this season.

[06/28/16 - 03:42 PM]
OWN Delivers 2Q 2016 Primetime Growth and Most-Watched Week in Network History
OWN spins the numbers for the quarter to date.

[06/28/16 - 02:37 PM]
Sarah Gadon to Star in Netflix and CBC Miniseries "Alias Grace"
The six-hour miniseries, inspired by the historical true story of convicted murderer Grace Marks, is written and produced by Sarah Polley and directed by Mary Harron.

[06/28/16 - 02:29 PM]
Smithsonian Channel Goes Wild on Wednesdays This Summer with Some of the World's Deadliest Predators
Through five consecutive weeks of one-hour specials, the stunt will span the globe in search of elusive sharks, mighty lizard kings, viper queens, killer hornets and desert lions.

[06/28/16 - 12:31 PM]
Double the Episodes, Double the Surprises on the Second Season of "Cooks vs. Cons"
New episodes begin Sunday, July 10 at 10:00/9:00c on Food Network.

[06/28/16 - 12:16 PM]
Hallmark Channel's Most Recent Original Premiere Marks 4th Consecutive Week with Top HH-Rated Movie of the Week
The Hallmark Channel spins the numbers for the week of June 20-26.

[06/28/16 - 11:18 AM]
All Eyes Were on the 2016 "BET Awards" as 7.2mm Total Viewers Tuned in Across 12 Viacom Networks for the Premiere Telecast on Sunday, June 26
BET spins the numbers for Sunday, June 26.

[06/28/16 - 11:09 AM]
Bravo Media's Lavish Ladies from Down Under Return for a New Season of "The Real Housewives of Melbourne" on Friday, July 22 at 9 PM ET/PT
Newcomer Susie McLean will join returning cast members Chyka Keebaugh, Gamble Breaux, Gina Liano, Jackie Gillies, Janet Roach, Lydia Schiavello and Pettifleur Berenger.

[06/28/16 - 10:54 AM]
"ER Week" Is Back on Discovery Life with Unpredicatble Moments Leading Up to the Premiere of "Trauma Doctors"
These elite doctors take the emergency room to the streets providing on-site medical treatments that are normally only done in hospitals, transforming a patient's chance of survival.