The Viking Age as a Foreign Place
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
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
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
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.