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The use and the abuse of history, national heritage and nationalism

‘Icelanders or Norwegians? Leifur, Snorri and national identity then and now’ followed by a panel discussion

The Double Impact of Christianization for Women in Old Norse Culture

The question of whether Christianity resulted in an improvement, or a worsening of conditions for women in still open to debate.

Watchful Warriors on Viking-Age Sculpture

Watchful Warriors on Viking-Age Sculpture Lecture by Howard Williams Given at the University College Isle of Man on December 14, 2016 Almost every book about the Vikings includes photographs of warriors found on early medieval carved stones from Britain, Ireland and the Isle of Man. How do we interpret these images? Why were figures with […]

The Vikings in Orkney

In recent years, it has been suggested that the first permanent Scandinavian presence in Orkney was not the result of forcible land-taking by Vikings, but came about instead through gradual penetration

Major Viking Age manor discovered in Sweden

Birka, Sweden’s oldest town, has long been a major source of our knowledge about the Viking Age. New geophysical research has now uncovered the ninth-century manor of a royal bailiff at this site.

Trees as a Central Theme in Norse Mythology and Culture

The continual theme of trees in Norse Mythology is important to our understanding of the cosmology of Norse Mythology.

Viking Faroes: Settlement, Paleoeconomy, and Chronology

The paper presents a synopsis of the current evidence for the settlement chronology and Viking Age to Early Medieval paleoeconomy of the Faroe Islands.

Smiths, Myths, and Viking Age Stones

In this lecture, Professor Williams will be examining depictions of smiths from Norse mythology on Viking Age stones in the British Isles, as well as on rune-stones and picture-stones from Scandinavia.

Worshipping the Dead: Viking Age Cemeteries as Cult Sites?

The examined saga accounts demonstrate that when the dead are venerated by the living and when sacrifices are made to them, these acts of worship usually occur at the graveside and not elsewhere in the landscape or within buildings.

Number Symbolism in Old Norse Literature

It is generally agreed that some numbers such as three and nine which appear frequently in the two Eddas hold special significances in Norse mythology. Furthermore, numbers appearing in sagas not only denote factual quantity, but also stand for specific symbolic meanings.

Berserkir: a re-examination of the phenomenon in literature and life

This thesis discusses whether berserkir really went berserk.

Women in Viking-Age Scandinavia, or, who were the ‘shieldmaidens’?

I will address two questions: a) how are we to interpret the descriptions of these war-like women in the past, and b) does the contrast between active pagan and passive Christian women reflect real changes?

7 Things One Should Know When Dealing with Kings: The Icelander’s Version

Here is MaryAnn R. Adams’ winning advice on how to deal with Norse kings.

Doors to the dead: The power of doorways and thresholds in Viking Age Scandinavia

It is argued that Viking Age people built ‘doors to the dead’ of various types, such as freestanding portals, causewayed ring-ditches or thresholds to grave mounds; or on occasion even buried their dead in the doorway.

The Vikings and clothing accessories they brought home

New study on the use of imported objects in Viking Age Scandinavia

Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the Most Famous Chessmen in the World and the Woman Who Made Them

Read an excerpt from the latest book by Nancy Marie Brown

‘God helped thee; The eagle got food afresh’: Norse Crusaders and the Pleasure of Killing

The men of the north are often depicted in the Norse sagas as taking great pleasure in killing, even doing it for no good reason

Reflections on Our Fascination with Vikings and What It Tells Us about How We Engage with the Past

What drives our fascination with these people who lived so long ago, about whom we know relatively little and yet who my students see very clearly and definitively?

An Eye for Odin? Divine Role-Playing in the Age of Sutton Hoo

This paper presents some new observations concerning the construction of the Sutton Hoo helmet, as a point of entry to a wider discussion of pre-Christian religious and ideological links across Scandinavia.

Rich and Powerful: The Image of the Female Deity in Migration Age Scandinavia

I believe serious blunders have been made concerning the identification of males and females. It
is simply inadmissable to interpret any figure with open, shoulder-length hair as female when all the evidence for the centuries in question shows females have only been depicted with long hair tied in the Irish ribbon knot.

Tolkien and the Viking Heritage

Much has already been written about the influence of Norse mythology on The Lord of the Rings. Less research has so far been done about how other aspects of the culture and history of the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons influenced Tolkien’s writing.

Continuity: Folklore’s Problem Child?

Few topics play a more central role in the way scholars have thought – and, in some cases, continue to think – about medieval folk cultures than has the issue of continuity.

Poems by a Viking

What was a poem by a Viking like? In his new book, Crimsoning the Eagle’s Claw, Ian Crockatt has translated dozens of poems of one of the most famous poets from the Norse world.

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