THE SKÁLHOLT SYMPOSIUM ON THE ORIGINS OF THE LEWIS CHESSMEN
19 AUGUST 2011 - PRESS RELEASE, MAY 2011
kálholt is one of Iceland´s most important historic sites. It has been a bishopric since 1056 and today the School of Skálholt - is the centre for education, culture and dialogue of church and society.
This summer, Skálholt will host several events to commemorate the 800 Year Anniversary of Bishop Páll Jónsson (1155-1211) a contemporary of the great Saga writer--Snorri Sturluson. Both men were among the most prominent Icelandic figures of their time.
Bishop Páll was a descendant of Norwegian king and is believed to have written "Orkneyingasaga" around the year 1200. His elegant sarcophagus was discovered in 1954 and is now preserved in the cellar of the new Cathedral -- along with many other remarkable relics.
On Friday, August 19th, 2011, Skálholt will host a SYMPOSIUM on the possible origins of the mystical and most precious artefacts, the Lewis Chessmen, which date from the late 12th century. The Lewis Chessmen are the world's oldest chess pieces that bear the features of modern chessmen.
Until recently, the best guess among scholars and historians was that the chessmen probably originated in Trondheim, Norway. But in 2011, Gudmundur G. Thórarinsson put forward a compelling new theory about the enigma of the origin of these unique chess pieces.
His tantalizing hypothesis -- based on circumstantial evidence -- is that the Lewis Chessmen might have been handcrafted in Iceland at the old workshop at Skálholt under the guidance of Bishop Páll Jónsson and his team of Margrét the Adroit, Thorstein the Schrinesmith and other craftsmen. (The ruins of the old workshop and it´s scrap heap is still lying there untouched, awaiting excavation)
The proposed Agenda for the Lewis Chessmen Symposium at Skálholt includes 6-7 short lectures (15-20 min. each) delivered by 2-3 esteemed scholars from overseas, e.g. David H. Caldwell from the National Museum of Scotland and James Robinson of the British Museum. Both of them have recently authored books on the enigma of the Lewis Chessmen. Next on the agenda will
be Gudm. G. Thórarinsson who will summerize and expound upon his new theory. Following
Mr. Thórarinsson, several Icelandic scholars and professors will speak about Bishop Páll and the theme of the conference. The agenda will be further augmented by an open session. The Symposium will be held in English and is open to all.
Organizing Committee of the Lewis Chessmen Skálholt Symposium 2011 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Kristinn Ólason; Einar S. Einarsson; Guđni Ágústsson; Guđmundur G. Thórarinsson; Rev. Gunnţór Ingason. Further information at: www.skalholt.is/en/ and www.leit.is/lewis