The Viking Age as a Foreign Place

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Welcome to the ViS Conference 2021 

Download our detailed program here

Rather than seeking similarities and trends, this conference will focus on what seems unfamiliar, exotic and even strange in what we perceive as the Viking Age. With this in mind, we will look into the way people interacted with the landscapes in which they lived, how they related to changing environmental preconditions, the way they related to human made objects, and the way narratives of their world were made, used and understood. An additional reception history approach to narratives about the Viking World will enable us better to see how, or if, these narratives influence our perception of the period today.

Session 1: Viking Age Narratives

Session organizer: Jan Bill

How were and are narratives used to shape the perception of the Viking world? And concurrently, what are the different Viking worlds we can envisage, when recognising that the Viking Age was not a uniform period, but rather a class-based society where different perceptions of reality must be imagined. Building on this, and following lines of perceived social classifications, such as age, gender, social class and conceivably ethnicity, we can imagine multiple, concurrent Viking Ages. As such, the conference encompasses two chronological spheres: That of the Narratives in the Viking Age and that of posterity’s Narratives about the Viking Age. The goal is to achieve a better understanding of the function of narratives in Viking Age society, the way these were upheld or abandoned in later periods and how/if modern narratives about the Viking Age still influence our perception of the period today.

Another story: Returning to Oseberg, Unn Pedersen

CREMATED TOGETHER – BURIED APART. The intricate composition of a grave – and the past and present narratives it has given rise to, Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson

Digging the Orkney Story, Judith Jesch

Not like home: ‘Decolonising’ the Viking presence in Britain and the North Atlantic, David Griffiths

Narrating and Negotiating Difference in the Insular Viking Age and its Long Aftermath, c.AD 750–1300, Russell Ó Ríagáin

Memories of Malevolence: Viking Endeavor in the Later Medieval Saints’ Lives of the Low Countries, Christian Cooijmans

How foreign were the Vikings? A brief review of how what-caused-the-Viking-age-narratives mirror contemporary society, Lars Erik Gjerpe

Narratives of Sacrifice, Marianne Moen

Exotic TV Vikings: Casting an orientalising gaze on the past, Pragya Vohra

Session 2: Speaking Objects

Session organizer: Kristel Zilmer

This theme sets out to investigate a variety of Viking Age objects as material, visual and textual signs of communication. The objects were shaped and marked in various ways, and they became meaningful participants in interactions on different levels. The marks on them could range from lexically meaningful inscriptions to diverse visual forms of mark-making and physical shaping. The session explores the textual, visual, tactile, and material qualities of the speaking objects, their interrelationships with their makers and environments as well as present-day possibilities of study. What do these layers of meaning do to the objects, and how can they be approached and interpreted? Could the composite properties of the objects in themselves generate or invite particular actions and perceptions on the part of their makers and users? How do we as modern researchers engage with their manifold qualities? The session proceeds from a broad understanding of the concepts of writing, visuality, materiality – as related to items of material culture.

Coinage and Identity in Viking England, Gareth Williams

Interactions of Change: Pursuing ‘Abbasid Coinage from the Caliphate to Northern Europe, Sara Ann Knutson

Measuring trust in late Viking Age society, Svein Gullbekk

Global trading during the Viking Age - from walrus ivory to Kufic coins, Nadia Haupt, Claire Houmard and Ulla Odgaard

Secret Messages or Random Vandalism – Secondary Treatment of Viking Silver, Gitte Ingvardson

From Monuments of the Dead to living communities, Mari Arentz Østmo

The Viking Age from Below: Narratives of Captivity, Enslavement, and Coercion, Ben Raffield

Inscribed by Narrative: Heirlooms and Other Objects in the Viking Age, Lesley Abrams

Human-environmental interactions

Session organizer: Karoline Kjesrud

This theme sets out to investigate a multispecies Viking society, in which human beings constitutes a minor part of a broader reality. Changing environmental conditions represented risks and opportunities, which challenged the multispecies Viking society in numerous ways. In a changing world, humans, animals and plants responded and acted, and by doing so interacted with, and altered, their environment. Human interaction with the natural world was complex; Forests were sanctuaries, oceans a route, plants were food, wood served as building material, and minerals were the source to weapons and tools. The close interaction between humans and animals was essential in farm life, and the energy and strength of wild animals were upheld as ideals. How did the changing environmental conditions affect the multispecies Viking society?

The Fimbulwinter hypotheses – could they all be right? Ingar Mørkestøl Gundersen

Volcanic Eruptions and their Impacts on Climate, Environment, and Viking Society in 500-1250 CE, Kirstin Krüger, Manon Bajard, Eirik Ballo, Anna deBode, Evelien van Dijk, Helge Høeg, Kjetil Loftsgarden, Ingar Mørkestøl Gundersen, Michael Sigl, Anna Theresia Maria ter Schure, Sanne Boessenkool, Frode Iversen and the VIKINGS Team

Change, Continuity, Sustainable Development: The Viking Age Environment in the Sagas of Icelanders, Reinhard Hennig 

New Paths in Old Mountains. Viking Age Landscape knowledge in medieval manuscripts, Nora Kauffeldt

Combining historical, archaeological, linguistic, and ethnobotanical evidence to infer Viking-Age plant use, Irene Teixidor-Toneu and Jade Jørgen Sandstedt

Cattle, cooperation, and the co-settlement of Iceland, Harriet J. Evans-Tang and Karen Milek

Reindeer, people, and landscapes – on hunting and trapping in an age of transition, Brit Solli

What’s in a name? The Nordic personal names containing animal names, Klaus Johan Myrvoll 

Poster Session

Völva rediscovered? Expressions of magic, power and identity in a Viking Age grave, Julie Westlye, Leszek Gardeła, Klaudia Karpińska

From the Outside In? Countering Narratives of Viking ‘Expansion’, Caitlin Ellis

King Anlaf Guthfrithsson’s ‘Raven’ ‘Bird’ Coinage, Johanne Porter

“Linnaniemi” –necklaces type from a new Perspective Eeva Jonsson,

‘Here terrible portents’: Climate Shocks in the Generation before the Viking Age, Tenaya Jorgensen

The Viking silver – A story of recycling? Astrid Tvedte Kristoffersen

"Hey, I got one of those DNA tests on my birthday. I am 10% Viking!" -"Cool, what kind of Viking are you then?" Karolina Pallin

Round or Square? Signaling ethnicity in the Viking Age and Early Middle Age, Lisbeth Skogstrand

Entanglements in the landscape:  Analysing Icelandic turf houses and earthworks using ideas of Human Ecodynamics and Multispecies Archaeology, Pablo Barruezo-Vaquero

Practical information

In line with current guidelines for public arrangements, the conference will only be able to receive 80 participants.

The conference is now open for registration on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to uncertainties linked to the Covid situation, payment links for conference fee and social events will be made available closer to the date when we are certain to go ahead as planned. 

The conference fee is 250 NOK and includes coffe/tea at the conference and lunch Thursday. A conference dinner will be held on November 24th for additional 550 NOK. A pizza-night will be arranged on November 25th at additional 100 NOK, as part of a poster session and exhibition tour.

Emneord: Viking Age, Conference
Publisert 13. jan. 2021 10:47 - Sist endra 12. nov. 2021 11:15