Identity, self-image and cultural expression in Viking Age Sweden

Author(s): Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson

Year: 2015


The people of Viking Age Scandinavia shared a common culture and could as a group be regarded as Northmen or people from the North. It is clear, however, that contemporary Northmen recognised differences between, and divisions within, their own cultural and political sphere. In order to advance in our interpretation and understanding of the Northmen and their geographical expansion during the Viking Age, we need to recognise these differences, which they themselves were well aware of.

The Viking Age was a time of transition when an older societal structure gradually formed into Medieval society. In this formation process symbols were chosen and altered to represent the desired self-image of the members of that society. The manipulation of cultural behaviour, symbols and material culture is one of many mechanisms used by societies to distinguish themselves vis-à-vis others. As archaeologist we can study these material remains. Reaching the individuals tend to be more difficult. This paper is part of the Swedish research project the Atlas, where archaeology is supplemented by osteology, isotope analyses and genetics to reach a further understanding of Viking Age identities.

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Cite this Record

Identity, self-image and cultural expression in Viking Age Sweden. Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395887)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;