Conflict and Society in Viking Age Scandinavia

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

Though significant advances have been made in the study of Viking Age Scandinavian societies, much of our knowledge continues to be governed by long-established theoretical and methodological approaches. Despite this, several aspects of Viking Age society have recently been subject to extensive re-evaluation. New and continuing developments in the isotopic, genetic and palaeopathological analysis of skeletal assemblages have, for example, shed considerable light on the origins, demography and lifestyles of both Viking and insular populations. The reconsideration of material culture, historical and anthropological data has similarly provided new insights into the mechanisms underpinning the raiding, conquest, colonization and state formation that characterize the Viking Age both within and outside of Scandinavia.This session provides a multi-disciplinary forum for the appraisal of new and innovative studies into the origins and evolution of the Viking Age in addition to the accompanying violence that so often defines the period. The long-term implications of these developments will also be considered, providing further insight into the development of societies both in Scandinavia and across the Viking world.

Other Keywords
RaidingMigrationOsteologyPiratesVikingconflictViking AgeVikings

Geographic Keywords

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-4 of 4)

  • Documents (4)

  • The 'Bare Branches' of Scandinavian Society and the Origins of Viking Raiding (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ben Raffield. Neil Price. Mark Collard.

    The surge of violent raiding that traditionally marks the beginning of the Viking Age at the end of the 8th century ushered in a period of turmoil and change across much of Europe. Though the factors that might have triggered this have been repeatedly debated, no hypothesis has thus far provided a convincing explanation for this important historical phenomenon. One of the oldest arguments, discussed in this paper, was that proposed during the 11th century by Dudo of St. Quentin in Gesta...

  • In Search of Something Better (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Frands Herschend.

    In the 7th and 8th century CE, Scandinavian societies developed a stratified social structure based on ownership of land dominated by relatively few people. When the population grew during the 8th century this created a society with few opportunities not least among the landless who were partly engaged in handicraft at rural production sites linked to the urbanized European economy. This created a situation in which raiding, conquest, colonization and state formation became attractive...

  • Pirates of the North Sea? The Viking ship as political space (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Neil Price.

    The contextualised meaning of specifically ‘Viking’ identities, in relation to the general population of early medieval Scandinavia, is a topic of perennial debate. Who were the Viking raiders, how did they see themselves, and how did others see them? How did our artificial construct of ‘the Viking Age’ actually begin? A key concept in unravelling these problems may be what the Vikings’ much later successors, the pirates of the so-called Golden Age, called "the new government of the ship". Over...

  • Viking skeletal remains in northern Europe: a survey (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Claire Greenlow. Ben Raffield. Neil Price. Amelia Barker. Mark Collard.

    This paper presents the preliminary findings of a systematic survey of Viking skeletal remains in northern Europe. The survey covers Viking Age skeletons from the homeland countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, as well as putative Viking skeletons from several countries subject to Scandinavian colonization, including England, Scotland, Ireland, and Iceland. Among the attributes we are recording are the degree of skeletal completeness, chronological age of the specimens, and the evidence that...