Exploring the World of the Vikings


The intention of this course is to provide a detailed study of the archaeology of the world of the Vikings. The course is not ordered in strict chronological order, but as a series of themes, each of which relates to a set of conceptual issues. Throughout, emphasis is placed upon the ways in which a given set of evidence has been interpreted in different ways by different generations of archaeologists. In this way, the link between interpretation and analysis is clarified.

The course deals with the archaeology of the world of the Vikings and is particularly concerned with processes of social and cultural change. On completion of this course, the student should have an overview of current issues of the Viking period found in the archaeological record. They should be also able to recognise the major types of artefacts, settlements, burials, and landscape organisation, of the periods studied and have an understanding of the socio-economic, ritual, religious, and conceptual frameworks within which the societies concerned operate.

Skills to be promoted:

  • Integration of theory and evidence
  • Evaluation of competing hypotheses

Learning Outcomes:

  • A general awareness of the pattern of social and cultural change regarding the Viking period and their effect on different cultures and subsequent time periods.
  • A grasp of competing interpretive frameworks.

This course will include the following topics:

  • Who were the Vikings?
  • Viking Life and Culture
  • Raiders and Invaders
  • Invaders and Settlers
  • Newfound Lands
  • Expressions of Identity, Religion and Art
  • The Later Viking Age
  • The End and After