Article

Women in the Viking Age

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Abstract

This book addresses a somewhat neglected area in research - the role of women in the Viking Age (800-1100). Archaeological evidence is brought together in the first chapter, on life and death, whilst the second chapter looks at runic inscriptions. Chapter 3, on female colonists, uses evidence of names, of both people and places, and includes a section on the settlement of Iceland. Texts are then presented of a non-Scandinavian view of Vikings, looking at international contact, visitors to Scandinavia, and Viking women outside Scandinavia. The last two chapters tackle the most copious body of material: the visual and verbal artworks of early Scandinavia. -C.Lloyd

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... Early studies focused on recognizing women in the archaeological record and some recent studies have called long-standing assumptions into question. Gender studies concerning the Viking Age have looked at many avenues of 5 investigation including history, folklore, anthropology, archaeology, and the sagas (Borovsky, 1999;Friðriksdóttir, 2013;Jesch, 1991Jesch, , 2001Jesch, , 2014Jochens, 1996;Maher, 2013;Moen, 2011Moen, , 2014. The multiple avenues of investigation helped to provide a more well-rounded image of women during the Viking Age, recognizing that women could have power in certain spheres. ...
... With the adoption of Christianity, this avenue for social displays of status would have waned; however, a runestone is a visible mark on the landscape which would ensure people knew of the status of the deceased and their family. Approximately 250 commemorative runestones have been found in Denmark and they are among the earliest examples of this practice in Viking Age Scandinavia (Jesch, 1991;T. Douglas Price, 2015;Birgit Sawyer, 2003;Wicker, 2012b). ...
... Over twenty years ago, Carol Clover stated that "when commentaries of Viking and medieval Scandinavian culture get around to the subject of women or roles…they tend to tell a standard story of separate spheres" (Clover 1997: 2). That mindset still exists, and it is still widely taken for granted that women's roles were restricted to more domestic activities (A. Baker, 2004;Hedenstierna-Jonson & Kjellström, 2014;Jesch, 1991;Jochens, 1996;Levy, 2007;Moen, 2011Moen, , 2014Slotten, 2018;Wolf, 2004). 52 These attitudes have been traced to the beginning of academic interest in the Viking Age during the Victorian period (Arwill-Nordbladh, 1991;Svanberg, 2003b). ...
Thesis
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Utilizing skeletal remains from the Viking Age in Denmark, this dissertation seeks to uncover how gender influenced lived experiences and identity formation during this period. Historically, biases regarding the inherent abilities of individuals of either gender have heavily influenced analysis in this area. Bioarchaeology offers a unique perspective on this query as skeletons reflect an individual’s life experiences and are a relatively unbiased source of information about the past. As identity is performed through the manipulation of the human body, analyzing the evidence of those experiences can provide a window into the past. Through an analysis of Viking Age burials from across Denmark, I explore how gender impacted identity formation and lived experience at the time. I utilize a ioarchaeological approach to discuss how individuals were impacted by gendered expectations at the time. Through assessing activity patterns, trauma prevalence rates, and the general health of individuals in the sample, patterns of behavior that may shed light on lived experiences that impacted identity formation during the Viking Age may be established. By combining that analysis with a discussion of the funerary treatment of the deceased the interplay between the deceased’s lived experiences and the social status ascribed to them by the community who buried them can be assessed. The results show that the relationship between ascribed social status and lived experiences is complex and cannot be solely attributed to the influence of gender on individual or social identity. The combination of skeletal and archaeological data help to provide a more nuanced understanding of how gender historically impacted lived experience and identity formation than either analysis could provide on its own.
... Furthermore, a full set of gaming pieces indicates knowledge of tactics and strategy (van Hamel, 1934;Whittaker, 2006), stressing the buried (Stolpe, 1889) individual's role as a high-ranking officer. As suggested from the material and historical records (Jesch, 1991;Jochens, 1996), the male sex has been associated with the gender of a warrior identity. Hence, the individual in Bj 581 was considered a male based on the assemblage of grave goods (Arbman, 1941;Gräslund, 1980), and the sex was only questioned after a full osteological and contextual analysis (Kjellstr€ om, 2016) that showed that the individual was a woman (S2 and S3). ...
... Hence, the individual in Bj 581 was considered a male based on the assemblage of grave goods (Arbman, 1941;Gräslund, 1980), and the sex was only questioned after a full osteological and contextual analysis (Kjellstr€ om, 2016) that showed that the individual was a woman (S2 and S3). The existence of female warriors in Viking Age Scandinavia has been debated among scholars (Gardeła, 2013;Jesch, 1991;Jochens, 1996). ...
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Objectives: The objective of this study has been to confirm the sex and the affinity of an individual buried in a well-furnished warrior grave (Bj 581) in the Viking Age town of Birka, Sweden. Previously, based on the material and historical records, the male sex has been associated with the gender of the warrior and such was the case with Bj 581. An earlier osteological classification of the individual as female was considered controversial in a historical and archaeological context. A genomic confirmation of the biological sex of the individual was considered necessary to solve the issue. Materials and methods: Genome-wide sequence data was generated in order to confirm the biological sex, to support skeletal integrity, and to investigate the genetic relationship of the individual to ancient individuals as well as modern-day groups. Additionally, a strontium isotope analysis was conducted to highlight the mobility of the individual. Results: The genomic results revealed the lack of a Y-chromosome and thus a female biological sex, and the mtDNA analyses support a single-individual origin of sampled elements. The genetic affinity is close to present-day North Europeans, and within Sweden to the southern and south-central region. Nevertheless, the Sr values are not conclusive as to whether she was of local or nonlocal origin. Discussion: The identification of a female Viking warrior provides a unique insight into the Viking society, social constructions, and exceptions to the norm in the Viking time-period. The results call for caution against generalizations regarding social orders in past societies.
... It has been argued that gender roles were more balanced in the pre-Christian world of the Viking Age, when more personal power was bestowed on women, through the rights to marry, own property and to divorce, than during the Middle Ages (Jesch 1991;Gräslund 1995Gräslund , 1999Gräslund , 2001aGräslund , 2001b. Women balanced a mixture of legal rights and limitations throughout their lives (Jesch 1991), with weaving providing a means of expression that was uniquely female and perhaps associated with strong female deities linked to concepts of birth, life and death (Bek Pedersen 2007Hayeur Smith 2012b;Heide 2006). ...
... It has been argued that gender roles were more balanced in the pre-Christian world of the Viking Age, when more personal power was bestowed on women, through the rights to marry, own property and to divorce, than during the Middle Ages (Jesch 1991;Gräslund 1995Gräslund , 1999Gräslund , 2001aGräslund , 2001b. Women balanced a mixture of legal rights and limitations throughout their lives (Jesch 1991), with weaving providing a means of expression that was uniquely female and perhaps associated with strong female deities linked to concepts of birth, life and death (Bek Pedersen 2007Hayeur Smith 2012b;Heide 2006). ...
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Archaeological textiles from Iceland have not been objects of significant analyzes until recently, yet they provide important new data on the use of cloth in legal transactions. Medieval Icelandic law codes and narrative sources include regulations governing the production of ‘legal cloth’ – vaðmál – and its uses for paying tithes and taxes, for economic transactions and in legal judgments. Archaeological data provide new insights on its production, the extent to which these laws were followed, and how ubiquitously Iceland’s ‘legal’ cloth was produced. This paper compares documentary sources and archaeological data to document intensive standardization in cloth production across Iceland from the eleventh to the late sixteenth centuries. The role of women as weavers is critical, as it is they who oversaw production and ensured that regulations were respected and as a result they may have been bestowed with more power than previously anticipated.
... chen Birka (Hedenstierna- Jonson u. a. 2017). Nun mag das im speziellen Fall dieser Bestattung überraschen, da sie bisher als männliche Bestattung angesprochen worden war. Ein Einzelfall wikingerzeitlicher Frauengräber mit Waffenbeigabe im skan- dinavischen Raum ist Bj 581 jedoch nicht, ebenso wie es auch textliche und bildliche Hinweise gibt (vgl.Jesch 1991;Jochens 1996;1998;Gardeła 2013).Seit ihrer Ausgrabung (Stolpe 1889) stand die Bestattung des sog. ‚Kriegers von Birka' (Grab Bj 581) immer wie- der im Fokus archäologischer Forschungen (Abb. 1). Die Geschlechtsbestimmung erfolgte damals nicht anhand anthropologischer Merkmale, sondern aufgrund der Beigaben und materiellen Ausprägungen im ...
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The fear of alternative facts makes itself felt in the sciences as well as in archaeology. It requires an examination of the status quo and future strategies to deal with both the fear and the alternative facts. We suggest that the retreat to a supposedly safe, empiricist position and the belief in the objectivity of scientific methods and the factuality of archaeological material is the wrong approach. Our reasoning is that scientific facts as well as theses of the humanities and social sciences are being denounced as “fake news”. A separation into “factual” science and “post-factual” or pseudo-scientific discourses does not appear to be crucial for the success of constructions of the past. Rather, there is always a mixed situation of different interests and associations. With recourse to Claude Lévi-Strauss’s concept of the “savage mind”, we discuss the “warrior grave” Bj 581 from Birka as well as the Cheddar Man to illustrate how complex the construction of past is. We can only assess the tasks and challenges of archaeology in the “post-truth era”, when we understand how “the past” emerges in the tensions between “savage knowledge” and “rational knowledge”, between facts and alternative facts, as well as between digital and analogue discussions. And only then can we realize that we have always lived in such an era. Die Angst vor der Postfaktizität macht sich in den Wissenschaften, so auch in der Archäologie bemerkbar und erfordert eine Auseinandersetzung mit dem Status-Quo und zukünftige Strategien, um zum einen mit der Angst und zum anderen mit ‚Postfaktizität‘ umzugehen. Der Rückzug auf vermeintlich sichere, empiristische Positionen, wie sie bisweilen im Glauben an objektive, naturwissenschaftliche Methoden oder die Faktizität archäologischer Materialität praktiziert wird, greift häufig zu kurz. Denn nicht nur naturwissenschaftliche ‚Fakten‘, sondern auch Thesen der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften werden durch die Diffamierung als ‚fake news‘ angeprangert. Eine Trennung in ‚faktische‘ Wissenschaft und ‚postfaktische‘ un-/nicht-/pseudowissenschaftliche Diskurse erscheint wenig ausschlaggebend für den Erfolg vergangenheitsbezogener Konstruktionen. Vielmehr existiert schon immer eine Gemengelage aus unterschiedlichsten Interessen und Assoziationen. Durch einen Rekurs auf das Konzept des ‚wilden‘ Wissens in Anlehnung an Claude Lévi-Strauss, diskutieren wir u. a. anhand des ‚Kriegergrabs‘ Bj 581 aus Birka und des Cheddar Man, wie vielschichtig der Konstruktionsprozess der Vergangenheit ist. Erst wenn wir verstehen, wie die Vergangenheiten entlang der Achsen wildes Wissen/rationales Wissen, Faktizität/Postfaktizität und digitaler/analoger Diskussion entstehen, lassen sich die Aufgaben und Herausforderungen einer Archäologie im ‚postfaktischen Zeitalter‘ einschätzen und zugleich erkennen, dass wir schon immer in einem solchen lebten.
... A difference between men and women in the VA can be observed in the extreme points at both ends of the dietary range which, to a certain extent, implies sex differentiation connected to consumption. Historical sources describing the VA indicate significant gender-based differences (Jesch, 1991). A distinction between men and women is clearly linked to material culture as observed in different types of grave goods (Solberg, 1985(Solberg, , 2010, and might imply different areas of labor and responsibility that would also affect dietary patterns, though this article does not permit an extensive discussion on the topic. ...
Article
Human remains representing 33 individuals buried along the coast in northern Norway were analyzed for diet composition using collagen stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis. Where possible, both teeth and bone were included to investigate whether there were dietary changes from childhood to adulthood. A general shift was documented from the Merovingian Age 550-800 AD to the Viking Age AD 800-1050 (VA), with a heavier reliance on marine diet in the VA. Dietary life history data show that 15 individuals changed their diets through life with 11 of these having consumed more marine foods in the later years of life. In combination with (87) Sr/(86) Sr data, it is argued that at least six individuals possibly originated from inland areas and then moved to the coastal region where they were eventually interred. The trend is considered in relation to the increasing expansion of the marine fishing industry at this time, and it is suggested that results from isotope analyses reflect the expanding production and export of stockfish in this region. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
... Women formed a remarkably high share of donors to the church. It is also evident that the proportion of runic inscriptions mentioning women rose in the end of the Viking Age, a phenomenon that many historians connect to the spread of Christianity (Jesch 1991). This is, however, only one part of the story. ...
... It has been argued that gender roles were more balanced in the pre-Christian world of the Viking Age, when more personal power was bestowed on women through rights to marry, own property, and to divorce, than they were during the Middle Ages (Jesch 1991;Gräslund 1995;1999;2001a;2001b). Weaving provided a means of expression that was uniquely female and perhaps associated with strong female deities linked to concepts of birth, life, and death (Heide 2006;Bek-Pedersen 2007;Hayeur Smith 2012). ...
Chapter
In medieval Iceland, apparently alone among the North Atlantic Norse colonies, cloth evolved into a highly standardized form of currency within a broader-based commodity-money system imported from Norway. Within the Icelandic economy, the production of currency cloth (vaðmál or vöruvaðmál) was legally regulated and was used within Iceland to pay debts, taxes, and tithes. This chapter presents the first detailed analyses of over 1,000 archaeological textiles stored in Icelandic museum collections. The way in which this ‘legal cloth’ was woven and constructed provides insights into the emergence of standardized cloth currency and its use across Iceland. Analyses challenge the assumption that organic forms of commodity-currency are unavailable to archaeologists studying early economic systems. Cloth currency, produced chiefly by women, emerged around the end of the Viking Age. It was central to the Icelandic economy until the mid 1500s, after which its role progressively declined as Iceland entered into the increasingly globalized trade networks of the early modern industrialized world.
... The long-standing connection between Vikings and hypermasculinity has been challenged by research focusing on the life of women during the Viking Age (e.g. Coleman and Løkka 2014;Jesch 1991). The grave goods unearthed alongside the remains of female bodies have prompted research into female clothing and jewellery. ...
... Neste mesmo local, havia quase duzentos pagãos que esperavam a visita de um berserker 31 chamado Otrygg. Todos receavam este 30 A respeito da mulher na Escandinávia Medieval, consultar: STRAUBHAAR, 2002, p. 261-272;SAWYER & SAWYER 2006: 188-213;QUIN, 2007, p. 518-536;JOCHENS, 2005, p. 217-232;JESCH 2003;EGGER DE IOLSTER, 2004: 17-35;BOROVSKY, 1999, p. 6-39. 31 Trata-se dos guerreiros de elite conhecidos pela designação de berserkir. ...
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O artigo analisa o episódio de conversão da Islândia ao cristianismo, presente na Brennu-Njáls saga, c. 1275-1290. Por meio de análise literária, procuramos entender o período de transição de religiosidade e as ideologias sociais presentes na fonte no momento em que ela foi composta. Como principal referencial, adotamos a metodologia da Nova Escandinavística convergindo com os trabalhos de Carlo Ginzburg.
... While recognizing gender as a culturally significant and at times socially regulating principle in Viking Age society (see, for example, Arwill-Nordbladh 1998; Dommasnes [1991Dommasnes [ ] 1998Jesch 1991;Moen 2011;2019a;Stalsberg 2001), we simultaneously highlight the dangers inherent in transferring underlying modern gendered ideologies on to the past. There is growing awareness that gender norms and roles were prone to contradiction, open to plasticity, and potentially of a fundamentally more fluid nature than what we today consider natural (Clover 1993;Hedeager 2011). ...
Article
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This article seeks to approach the famous tenth-century account of the burial of a chieftain of the Rus, narrated by the Arab traveller Ibn Fadlan, in a new light. Placing focus on how gendered expectations have coloured the interpretation and subsequent archaeological use of this source, we argue that a new focus on the social agency of some of the central actors can open up alternative interpretations. Viewing the source in light of theories of human sacrifice in the Viking Age, we examine the promotion of culturally appropriate gendered roles, where women are often depicted as victims of male violence. In light of recent trends in theoretical approaches where gender is foregrounded, we perceive that a new focus on agency in such narratives can renew and rejuvenate important debates.
... A respeito da mulherna Escandinávia Medieval, consultar: Straubhaar 2002: 261-272; Sawyer & Sawyer 2006: 188-213; Quin 2007: 518-536; Jochens 2005: 217-232;Jesch 2003; Egger de Iolster 2004: 17-35; Borovsky 1999: 6-39. ...
Book
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INTRODUÇÃO...........................................................07 O GALDR: uma análise da feitiçaria nórdica no poema Buslubæn .............................11 O SEIÐR: interpretando a magia na Eiríks saga rauða....................................................41 PAGÃOS E CRISTÃOS NO FINAL DA ERA VIKING: uma análise do epísodio de conversão da Njáls saga ......................................63 AS ESTELAS DE GOTLAND E AS FONTES ICONOGRÁFICAS DOS MITOS NÓRDICOS..................................................83 MYTHICA SCANDIA: repensando as fontes literárias da mitologia escandinava ............111 O MITO DO DRAGÃO NAS EDDAS.................149 O MITO DO DRAGÃO NAS SAGAS ISLANDESAS...........................................191 REFERÊNCIAS ...................................................... 230
Thesis
Generalmente si pensa che in epoca vichinga, il ruolo principale delle donne fosse quello di badare alla casa e ai figli; pare difficile anche solo immaginare che quegli esseri umani, così fragili e deboli all’apparenza, potessero essere delle combattenti esattamente come gli uomini. Questo pregiudizio non ha più motivo di esistere, dal momento che, nel 2017, alcuni studi archeologici sui resti di una tomba del X secolo a Birka, in Svezia, hanno dimostrato, tramite il test del DNA, che il "guerriero Bj 581", da sempre creduto un uomo, era in realtà una donna. I risultati attestano la presenza di donne guerriere all’interno della comunità dei Vichinghi, antichi dominatori del Nord Europa. Tuttavia, è ancora da stabilire se la donna guerriera fosse una figura fissa o se invece rappresentasse un’eccezione. Queste donne vengono tradizionalmente chiamate in inglese shield-maiden e ricorrono spesso nella mitologia del mondo norreno. Importantissima fu Lathgertha, guerriera descritta da Saxo Grammaticus nei Gesta Danorum (l’opera più importante della letteratura danese medievale) e personaggio chiave per la vittoria di Ragnar Lothbrok nella guerra contro il re di Svezia Frö, poi divenuta protagonista oggi della famosa serie tv canadese Vikings. Ancora all’interno della stessa opera, vengono presentate da Saxo altre shield-maiden come Rusla, una guerriera norvegese che lottò contro suo fratello per il trono; Hetha, Visna, e Veghbiorg, donne, o meglio, amazzoni, che presero parte alla battaglia di Brávellir, dimostrando già all’epoca che il sesso femminile possedeva le stesse capacità e lo stesso temperamento degli uomini nel combattimento. Le shield-maiden vengono spesso paragonate alle Valchirie, le divinità al servizio di Odino, fra cui si ricorda Brunilde, eroina di diversi poemi eddici e della Saga dei Volsunghi, oltre che del Nibelungenlied. Obiettivo di questo elaborato è quindi quello di dimostrare che le shield-maiden siano realmente esistite, partendo dalla descrizione di alcune di esse, all’interno di varie fonti norrene, fino ad arrivare alla prova della loro esistenza, tramite gli scavi archeologici di Birka e di altre tombe in Norvegia, Svezia e Danimarca, considerate “anomale” e non ancora analizzate; in tal modo si ritiene che l’esistenza delle shield-maiden potrebbe ricevere ulteriore conferma.
Research
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Tablet woven bands were widely used to embellish various garments and even in some cases worn alone as a headband throughout the Viking Age. Numerous surviving examples have been found at Viking Age Norse archeological sites all throughout Europe including (but not limited to) Scandinavia, the European Mainland, and the British Isles. Considering this, I thought that I should try my hand at learning how to do some basic tablet weaving and have created a thin band of weaving with a basic chevron design. I will use this band (and more in the future as my skills build) to further embellish the period costumes I create and create a more authentic look and feel.
Article
The Viking age as a time of adventures and violence never ceases to fascinate the public. Both aspects remain central to the definitions of the period which can be found in recent introductions to the topic. Those definitions, developed in Western Europe and applied to the events taking place in this region, are currently being challenged by scholars arguing for the greater significance of economic, political and social developments on a broader scale, beyond the strict agency of individuals of Scandinavian origin. This discussion raises the question of the participation of different regions in the Viking phenomenon and their visibility in the research history. While Viking studies can benefit from this debate thanks to new perspectives on the cross-cultural dynamics of the Viking world, generalizations and excessive broadening may potentially lead the concept to lose its meaning. Therefore, we need to retain the focus on the specificities of the Viking age as a particular set of phenomena under the broader scope of contemporary pan-European historical processes and to pursue our research objectives independently from the desires and pre-conceptions of the public.
Article
Scandinavian bead-types of various materials are relatively common artefacts across the Viking world. They have sometimes been overlooked or received limited attention and consigned as ‘jewellery’, based on modern concepts of female dress and adornment. This paper outlines and discusses the evidence for bead use in the burial of male-gendered individuals during the Viking Age. I then consider beads from settlement contexts, reconsidering the common assumptions made on the gender affiliations of these artefacts, and propose a broader view of their function and meaning in Viking-Age society.
Research
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During the Viking Age, a number of women’s head adornment accessories were in fashion including scarfs, woven headbands, caps and hoods. In the Norse settlement located at what is now Dublin, Ireland a distinctive hood-styled cap made from a small rectangle folded in half lengthwise and sewn up the back edge was popular. A point at the rear crown of the cap (rather than rounding the rear off to fit to the skull) seems to be unique to Dublin, while similar (rounded) versions have also be found throughout other parts of the British Isles .
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Most social scientists agree that institutional analyses seem to be a promising tool to analyse long-term development. International comparisons are also necessary to understand what constitutes ‘good’ institutions and to which extent they can be created by conscious decisions. The most important aspect of studies of other countries and their institutional development is not what we learn about them but that we by comparison can develop a better understanding of the history of our own country. This article describes the peculiarities of the Swedish institutional framework in a historical perspective. Special attention has been given to aspects that are often discussed in analyses of the Chinese development. In many aspects, China and Sweden can be seen as representatives of two opposite paths of development for instance in the sequence of institutional building, in the development of checks and balances and in whether the orientation of the culture is family or society oriented. In spite of these differences, it is not difficult to find islands of cultural concordance which can facilitate mutual learning and understanding.
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The carved figural program of the tenth-century Gosforth Cross (Cumbria) has long been considered to depict Norse mythological episodes, leaving the potential Christian iconographic import of its Crucifixion carving underexplored. The scheme is analyzed here using earlier exegetical texts and sculptural precedents to explain the function of the frame surrounding Christ, by demonstrating how icons were viewed and understood in Anglo-Saxon England. The frame, signifying the iconic nature of the Crucifixion image, was intended to elicit the viewer’s compunction, contemplation and, subsequently, prayer, by facilitating a collapse of time and space that assimilates the historical event of the Crucifixion, the viewer’s present and the Parousia. Further, the arrangement of the Gosforth Crucifixion invokes theological concerns associated with the veneration of the cross, which were expressed in contemporary liturgical ceremonies and remained relevant within the tenth-century Anglo-Scandinavian context of the monument. In turn, understanding of the concerns underpinning this image enable potential Christian symbolic significances to be suggested for the remainder of the carvings on the cross-shaft, demonstrating that the iconographic program was selected with the intention of communicating, through multivalent frames of reference, the significance of Christ’s Crucifixion as the catalyst for the Second Coming.
Article
The article discusses the development and technological changes within weaving in the Middle Ages when it developed into a major craft and one of the most important industries of the Middle Ages in Northern Europe. While prehistoric weaving appears as a predominantly female work domain, weaving became a male profession in urban contexts, organised within guilds. Hence, it has almost become a dogma that the expanding medieval textile industry, and corresponding transition from a female to a male work domain, was caused by new technology – the horizontal treadle loom. By utilising various source categories, documentary, iconographic and archaeological evidence, the article substantiates that the conception of the medieval weaver as a male craftsman should be adjusted and the long-established dichotomy between male professional craftsmen and weavers, and women as homework producers of textiles should be modified, also when related to guilds. The change from a domestic household-based production to a more commercially based industry took place at different times and scales in various areas of Europe and did not only involve men.
Chapter
From our earliest colonial beginnings as the settler-conquerors of indigenous nations through the nineteenth century’s adventurism abroad, the history of the United States has mapped an uninterrupted course of expansionism and empire building. As future president and then-governor of New York State, Theodore Roosevelt, declared in April 1899, two months after the Senate ratified the treaty with Spain that concluded the Spanish-American War and effectively established the Philippines as a colony of the United States, his countrymen were “stern men with empire in their brains” (qtd. in Moore 3). Yet despite this entrenched masculinist discourse, one extraordinary woman has also worn the face of empire: the Icelander, Gudrid Thorbjornsdöttir, an eager participant in Europe’s first documented colonizing venture in North America and the first European woman known to have borne a child here. Unfortunately, because we have no written record from Gudrid herself, we know her only through the fashionings of others. The how and the why of those many refashionings is the subject of this chapter.
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Since the mid 1990s the National Museum of Denmark and Museum Vestsjælland have conducted excavations on two royal residential complexes from late Germanic Iron Age and Viking Age. During the excavations a range of samples were collected for macrofossil analysis. In two of these samples two seeds of vine grapes dated to the late Germanic Iron Age and the Viking Age were discovered. So far they are the oldest grape seeds discovered in the present Danish area. One of the seeds was chosen for strontium isotope analysis in order to determine the provenance of the grape. The strontium isotopic composition of the grape seed yielded a 87Sr/86Sr ratio of 0.71091 (±0.00004; 2σ) which falls within Denmark’s strontium isotopic baseline range indicating that the seed could be of local origin. Archaeological and historical evidence seem to point to that people in the Iron and Viking Age knew and consumed wine and even had access to gain potential know-how related to wine production. Hence, even though it is not possible to determine whether the two seeds found at Tissø are a result of either grape consumption (fresh or dried) or used for wine production, these finds point to that grapes and probably wine were products consumed by the elite at Tissø.
Chapter
This chapter analyses the manifestations and operations of curatorial agency on the content-sharing platform Pinterest. While the manifestations of curatorial agency are explored through an analysis of the recontextualisations of museum digitisations of jewellery associated with the Viking Age in user-made collections, its operations are investigated through a long-term engagement with the platform’s employment of machine learning models to select and display images in line with its business model. On Pinterest, museum digitisations take on a transnational and dispersed life as inspiration for historical imagination and craft, as well as for contemporary fashion. Due to the complexity of machine learning models, the politics of curatorial agency becomes a delicate issue to locate as it morphs between human and machinic forms of intelligence.
Thesis
A first research work focused on the association of female individuals (exclusively osteologically sexed) with weapons in Europe. This work’s foremost aim was to give historical and geographical contexts to these atypical graves, gathered in a corpus of thirty-nine occurrences among which twenty-six are Scandinavian, eight are Anglo-Saxon, two are Anglo-Scandinavian and three are Alemannic. Combining the study of written sources, iconography, historical contexts and archaeological data, including the general furnishing of the graves and their distribution on different scales, I managed to replace them in historical, cultural and social contexts. I also proposed four possible profiles that could explain the unusual association.
Article
There has been considerable disagreement in the literature about the importance and nature of contact between English and Norse. In this paper data from the Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English is used to show that contact with Norse played some role as a factor in the simplification of English inflectional morphology, and arguments are mounted that the interface of structures involved in contact was potentially responsible for the initiation of the loss of the second class of weak verbs, and for the spread of the s-plural. The implications of the mutual comprehensibility between Norse and Old English established by Townend (2002) are considered in the light of recent discussions of koineization, and recent interpretations of the historical context. It is concluded (following Trudgill’s 2011a Sociolinguistic Typology) that the degree of simplification found implies that child bilingualism was not a major factor in the situation, and that koineization was a more important process than language shift. This attributes the loss of case in English essentially to contact with Norse, not Celtic, which is seen as having at best a minor role in this loss, following the suggestion that at least outside the north, the demography of households may have given Celtic speakers good access to Old English. It is also claimed that Old English was very unlikely to have been diglossic across the period in the sense proposed by Tristram (2004).
Thesis
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This paper contains analysis of Viking age female graves on the island Gotland in Sweden. The question asked is why some of these women carry penannular brooches, when these brooches were generally associated with males during the Viking age. The analysis shows that the majority of the women on Gotland wearing penannular brooches were found at the gravesite at Havor, Hablingbo. Depending on where the brooches were located in the grave; possible reconstructions of the individuals clothing were made. This shows that the women in Havor with penannular brooches had a different outfit than the general Viking woman of Gotland. When compared to women buried with penannular brooches in Birka, it shows that they do not use the brooches in the same way.
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Recognizing the significance of Viking/Norse culture to the Middle Ages in the British Isles, Katherine Langrish examines similarities and differences in the presentations of adolescence in four historical children’s books by Henry Treece and two by Kevin Crossley-Holland, set at various points between the late eight and mid eleventh centuries. Both authors offer nuanced and authentic-seeming accounts of the growth of their young protagonists from childhood to young adulthood in periods of violence and social change, but Treece, writing in the decades after the Second World War, focuses almost entirely on boys who must grow into fighting men, while Crossley-Holland’s books, published in 2011 and 2012, place girls and women firmly at centre stage with a more complex and holistic understanding of the societies in which they live and act. With a brief glance at Treece’s influence on her own Viking trilogy, Katherine Langrish considers the challenges of interpreting the past for young readers, looks at how such fictional constructions are inevitably affected by the writer’s own cultural standards, and recalls the strategies she herself employed as a child to accept or ignore a story’s implicit social and moral messages. Children must grow up, but how—and into what? The very different answers offered by these writers reflect a half-century of contemporary social change.
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A One-Gender Model? The Case of Skaldic PoetryThe Poetry of Women SkaldsEddic PoetryThe Sagas
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