Female mobility in the Viking Worlds

Author(s): Catrine Jarman

Year: 2015


Recent reassessments of the gender balance among Viking Age Scandinavian populations in the British Isles have suggested a greater presence of immigrant women than previously thought. At the same time, increasing support for a view of the Viking world as a diaspora, with a sustained network between the original and the acquired homelands, has necessitated a better understanding of the mechanics of the migration process. This paper evaluates interdisciplinary evidence for the level of mobility among women in the Viking world, through an evaluation of archaeological, historical, and scientific data from Northern Europe. 87Sr and 18O isotope data from burials from central Norway suggest that the level of mobility among women may have been higher than suggested historically. 13C and 15N dietary analysis demonstrates diverse, non-gender specific diets from the same region. This questions the traditional interpretation of strict gender roles during the Viking Age, in which women were largely excluded from the outward expansion from Scandinavia. The paper argues that women were active participants in the migration process, both through the creation of alliances forged to strengthen ties between homelands old and new, and as communicators of culture and social identities within the Viking diaspora.

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Cite this Record

Female mobility in the Viking Worlds. Catrine Jarman. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395891)


Mobility Vikings women

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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