The Scandinavians from the Vendel Period to the Tenth Century: An Ethnographic Perspective

Overview

Using the evidence of archaeology, poetry, legal texts and annals, this volume investigates the social, economic and symbolic structures of early Scandinavia at the time of the Viking expansion. The contributors provide an outline ethnography, covering dwellings and settlements, kinship and social relations, law, political structures and external relations, rural and urban economies, and the ideology of warfare. The topics are discussed through case-studies, illustrating the changing scholarly interpretations of ...

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Overview

Using the evidence of archaeology, poetry, legal texts and annals, this volume investigates the social, economic and symbolic structures of early Scandinavia at the time of the Viking expansion. The contributors provide an outline ethnography, covering dwellings and settlements, kinship and social relations, law, political structures and external relations, rural and urban economies, and the ideology of warfare. The topics are discussed through case-studies, illustrating the changing scholarly interpretations of this formative period in Scandinavian history. By addressing these key research questions, the contributions trace the background to and the impact of urbanisation and Christianisation, and the development of royal power, which stimulated the transition from the Viking age to the medieval period in Scandinavia. JUDITH JESCH is Professor in Viking Studies at the University of Nottingham. Contributors: LENA HOLMQUIST OLAUSSON, BENTE MAGNUS, E. VESTERGAARD, BIRGIT ARRHENIUS, STEFAN BRINK, LISE BENDER JORGENSEN, SVEND NIELSEN, FRANDS HERSCHEND, NIELS LUND, DAVID N. DUMVILLE, JUDITH JESCH, DENNIS H. GREEN.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781843837282
  • Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
  • Publication date: 6/21/2012
  • Series: Studies in Historical Archaeoethnology , #5
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction. J. Jesch 1

Dwellings and Settlements: Structure and Characteristics. B. Magnus 5

On archaeology and landscape. Natural preconditions for subsistence and surplus. Literary illustrations. Not only farmers. The prelude. Farms and villages. Vorbasse: a wandering village and a reference. Village problems in the middle Iron Age. The military aspect. The change. Long-lived farms and central places. A different landscape. Trading places. Urban centres. Farms and villages of the Viking period. Exploitation of resources. Military structures. Wealth built on slavery? Discussion 33

Kinship and Social Relations in the Early Medieval Period in Svealand Elucidated Dna. B. Arrhenius 45

Discussion 51

Kinship and Marriage: The Family, its Relationships and Renewal. E. Vestergaard 59

Introduction. Norwegian and Icelandic medieval laws. Kinship in the Poetic Edda and in German heroic epic. The Faeroese tradition. Kinship in modern Europe. Conclusion. Discussion 74

Law and Legal Customs in Viking Age Scandinavia S. Brink 87

Introduction. Contemporary evidence for Viking Age law in Scandinavia. Place-names in -log, -lag. Thing mounds - place-names in -haug, -hög - and -thing sites. Inheritance and the right to óol - the enumeration of pedigrees. Cultic and legal practices in early Scandinavia. Conclusion. Discussion 117

Rural Economy: Ecology, Hunting, Pastoralism, Agricultural and Nutritional Aspects. L. Bender Jørgensen 129

Introduction. Ecology. Rural economy of the Vendel and Viking periods. Pastoralism. Agriculture. Fishing. Hunting. Forestry. Iron production and quarrying. Economics. Discussion 145

Patterns of Settlement and Defence at the Proto-Town of Birka Lake Mälar Eastern Sweden. L. Holmquist Olausson 153

Introduction. Landscape and settlement population in the Mälar Valley. Birka's Archaeological Remains. Birka Before Birka. Birka's fortification. Concluding remarks. Discussion 168

Urban Economy in Southern Scandinavia in the Second Half of the First Millennium AD. S. Nielsen 177

Introduction. The domestic mode of production and beyond. Specialized craft. Economy: theoretical issues. Trade. Coins and precious metals. Transport. Urbanism. Conclusion. Discussion 198

Vikings in the British Isles: A Question of Sources. D. N. Dumville 209

Discussion 240

Eagles, Ravens and Wolves: Beasts of Battle, Symbols of Victory and Death. J. Jesch 251

Introduction. The beasts of battle in Old English and Old Norse poetry. The beasts of battle in skaldic poetry. Comparative angles. Eagles, ravens and wolves in other Norse poetry. Summary and further discussion. Discussion. 271

The "Ludwigslied" and the Battle of Saucourt. D. H. Green 281

Discussion 297

Harald Bluetooth - A Saint Very Nearly Made by Adam of Bremen. N. Lund 303

Discussion 315

Current Issues and Future Directions in the Study of the Scandinavians. Summary of discussions with comments by G. Ausenda 321

Index 353

List of Maps

Map of late Roman north-eastern continental Europe 3

Map of medieval Scandinavia 4

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