updated 4/5/2005 11:46:16 AM ET 2005-04-05T15:46:16

Help wanted: Vikings. Must be friendly, tourist-oriented and interested in ancient Norse traditions. Crazed, bloodthirsty pillagers need not apply.

In a rare employment opportunity for Vikings, whose job market peaked about 1,000 years ago when they terrorized Europe in their longboats, southern Norway's Vestfold country is seeking to fill slots at its local historical park.

The ad, to appear in local media on Saturday, will be simple: "Jobs available. Vikings in Vestfold," with the link to the center's Internet home page, Lars Kobro, self-described chieftain of the Midgard Historical Center, said by telephone Tuesday.

"More and more we see that tourists are interested in Vikings," said Kobro. "They don't want just exhibits, but face-to-face encounters."

"The problem is that the last Vikings died about 1,000 years ago," he said. "So we have to make it like theater, and find people wanting to play Vikings, and learn their cooking, clothes customs and crafts."

The center is seeking to play down the Scandinavian Vikings' reputation as wild, murderous looters and rapists who pillaged and burned through much of Europe, a claim Kobro said was largely exaggerated in texts left by ancient English monks.

"They were really more traders and merchants," said Kobro. He said they are seeking a corps of about 50 part-time Vikings, ready to turn out at the center when needed.

One thing tourists may expect, but will not see, at the center some 45 miles south of Oslo are Vikings with horns on their helmets.

The helmets never had horns, a myth that developed centuries after the Viking era passed.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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