Jan Bill

Image of Jan Bill
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22859556
Mobile phone +47 99887225
Visiting address St. Olavs gate 29 0166 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 6762 St. Olavs plass 0130 Oslo

Jan Bill (Ph.D., born 1961) is Professor of Viking Age Archaeology and since 2007 curator of the Viking Ship Collection at the Museum of Cultural History.


I worked 2003–7 at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde as head of research, exhibition and antiquarian work and senior researcher. Before that I was 10 years at the Centre for Maritime Archaeology at the National Museum of Denmark as a PhD student, researcher, senior researcher, research group director (1997–2003) and deputy director (1999–2000). In 2001–7 I also teached part-time in maritime archaeology at the University of Aarhus. I have experience with teaching and supervising students on bachelor, master and Ph.D.-level and am currently supervising two PhD-projects.

Research interests

My area of research encompasses a varied range of themes within Viking Age and medieval archaeology, notably seafaring, burial archaeology and the application of scientific methods. The interpretation of the Norwegian ship burials - among those Oseberg and Gokstad - is one important focal point which has directed my interests towards the representation and maintenance of power through burials. Another is the history of seafaring and its interaction with the development of more complex societies.

I have published my research in around 15 papers in scientific journals, 4 books and booklets, 20 chapters in books and 10 papers in conference proceedings.


I have directed a number of archaeological excavations and is leading the Gokstad revitalised research project (Gokstad).  I am collaborator in a number of other research projects, including "Tracking Viking-assisted dispersal of biodiversity using ancient DNA" (http://www.mn.uio.no/cees/english/research/projects/143972/index.html) and "Population Genomics of the Vikings". In 2009–10 I attended The Educational Programme for Research Leaders, University of Oslo.

Institutional responsibilities, Commissions of trust, Rewards

I am involved in the establishing of a new Viking Age Museum at the Museum of Cultural History in various roles concerning the academic content and the safety and exhibition of the ships (New Viking Age Museum). I am member of the Steering Group for the Saving Oseberg Project (Saving Oseberg/), head of the Steering Group for the Gjellestad excavation project (Gjellestad Ship) and project leader for the ADED project (ADED). I am a member of the Wissenschaftlicher Beirat des Niedersächsischen Institut für historische Küstenforschung. Untill 2019 I was board member and, since 2016, head of board of Collegium Medievale. I am being used as referee in PhD exams, articles, grant and tenure applications and book reviews. I have presented papers at many conferences, including the Viking Congress in 2001, 2005, 2013 and 2017. In 2017 I was awarded the Aage Rothenborgs Endowment for my work with early medieval, Scandinavian maritime culture.

Tags: Archeology, Viking Age
Published Nov. 7, 2012 3:33 PM - Last modified Oct. 8, 2021 12:28 PM