Arctic encounters between Norse and Natives

Norse Native contact in Arctic

Contact between the Norse and Native peoples in Canada’s Arctic was more extensive and earlier than first believed, according to recent archaeological evidence.

In quest for the lost gamers: An investigation of board gaming in Scania, during the Iron and Middle Ages

Illustration from the Ockelbo Runestone, Sweden

The games we play today are of course not entirely the same as those played a thousand years ago,

Christian Prayers and Invocations in Scandinavian Runic Inscriptions from the Viking Age and Middle Ages

runestone U 356 "Ragnfríðr had this stone raised in memory of Bjôrn, her son and Ketilmundr's. May God and God's mother help his spirit. He fell in Virland. And Ásmundr marked." - Photo by Berig/Wikipedia

Many runic inscriptions from the Viking Age and Middle Ages are directly related to Christian culture — they originate from a period during which Christianity was introduced and gradually institutionalized.

Norse Rune code cracked

Norse rune code-  Sigurd and Lavran written their names in both the code and the common runes. It helped runologist Jonas Nordby to crack jötunvillur code. (Photo: Aslak Liestøl / Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo)

A scholar of the University of Oslo has cracked one of the rune codes used by the Vikings, revealing they were sending each other messages such as ‘Kiss me’.

Warriors and warfare: ideal and reality in early insular texts

Viking Warfare

This thesis investigates several key aspects of warfare and its participants in the Viking Age insular world via a comparison of the image which warriors occupy in heroic literature to their concomitant depiction in sources which are primarily nonliterary in character, such as histories, annalistic records, and law codes.

The Extreme Emotional Life of Völundr the Elf

An illustration of Völundr.

In this article, my aim is to determine the function of elves in Old Norse narratives from the thirteenth century by concentrating on the figure of Völundr, the protagonist of Völundarkviða, who to my mind is the most important Old Norse elf.

The Ship in the Field

Freja by John Bauer (1882–1918).

An article exploring the possibility of a connection between the Vanir gods, specifically the goddess Freyja, with the Scandinavian stone ships and boat burials, and hypothesizing a field of the dead in early Germanic mythology.

Ragnhild Simunsdatter and women’s social and economic position in Norse society

Papa Stour and 1299

In this paper I will focus on Norse women’s social and economic position in the high and late Middle Ages, with Ragnhild Simonsdatter and the Papa Stour document of 1299 as a point of departure.

The Hole: Problems in Medieval Dwarfology

Dwarves before their stone doors during the onset of Ragnarök as attested in Völuspá - 19th century image

When trying to understand Old Norse dwarfs, one problem is knowing too much.

Tooth-tool Use and Yarn Production in Norse Greenland

Skeleton Greenland

During a dental study of medieval Norse skeletons from Greenland, Iceland, and Norway, a distinct pattern of wear was observed on twenty-two anterior teeth of twelve Greenlanders.

North America’s First Contact: Norse-Inuit Relations

Inukshuk in Nunavut - photo by Xander/Wikicommons

The interaction between the Norse and Inuit was sparse, at times hostile, and could have possibly doomed the Greenland colonies to extinction.

Vínland and Wishful Thinking: Medieval and Modern Fantasies


Reevaluating the wishful reality of the Vinland islands requires that the stories of the Vinland journeys be squarely situated in the context of the world geographic system adopted by those who told those stories.

Women in the Viking age : death, life after death and burial customs

Dressed Viking woman at weaving - photo by Peter van der Sluijs

My main interest is to find out if it is possible to get a unitary picture of beliefs concerned with the fate of the Viking women after death.

Movie Preview: Vikingdom


Being released today in 21 cities across the United States, this Malaysian-made film is loosely based on Viking mythology.

From Flax to Linen: Experiments with flax at Ribe Viking Centre

From Flax to Linen Experiments with flax at Ribe Viking Centre

The archaeological record shows that linen was an important part of Viking Age clothing. Linen cloth developed gradually from being virtually nonexistent in Scandinavia at the start of the first millennium AD…

What did Dragons look like for the Vikings?

What did Dragons look like for the Vikings?

While the modern image of the dragons often depicts a beast that has four legs, leathery wings and breathes fire, the medieval image of the creature could be very different. In the article, ‘Dragons in the Eddas and in Early Nordic Art,’ Paul Ackey shows that the Vikings and Norse society had their own ideas of what dragons looked like.

How Christian Were Viking Christians?

Olaf II of Norway. Based on drawing by Peter Nicolai Arbo (Norway 1831-1892).

What did the Vikings know of Christianity, how did they appreciate Christian teaching per se and in comparison with their native beliefs, in what way was Christianity enrooted in the minds of pagan Scandinavians?

Folklore and the Fin Folk of Orkney

Folklore and the Fin Folk of Orkney

The Orkney Islands possess a folkloric tradition that is both unique and fascinating.

Reincarnation among the Norse: Sifting through the Evidence

This image is usually interpreted as a Valkyrie who welcomes a dead man, or Odin himself, on the Tjängvide image stone from Gotland, in the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm.

This short article looks at the possibilty of reincarnation as a common alternative concept of life after death among Germanic heathens and then as a possible non-standard alternative belief.

Viking poetry of love and war – new book by Judith Jesch

Viking poetry of love and war

They are most famous for being violent invaders of foreign shores but a new book by a University of Nottingham Viking expert shows they were also poetry lovers with a wicked sense of humour!

The Position of the Individual Gods and Goddesses in Various Types of Sources – With Special Reference to the Female Divinities

The goddess Freyja, riding in her cat-pulled wagon

Old Norse religion is in itself an interdisciplinary subject. If we are to survey the whole subject, it will presuppose special knowledge of a great many fields.

Awkward Adolescents: Male Maturation in Norse Literature

old norse

Although medieval masculinities have become a subject of scholarly interest, there has been relatively little discussion of the transition in Old Norse until very recently.

Anaphrodisiac Charms in the Nordic Middle Ages: Impotence, Infertility, and Magic

viking woman

This essay, however, looks to explore, not this seductive form of charm magic, but rather its opposite, ie charm magic that prevents the consumption of a relationship, or that makes a fruitful union impossible.

The Children of Ash: Cosmology and the Viking Universe

The Children of Ash: Cosmology and the Viking Universe

What I am really going to be talking about throughout these lectures is stories, the power of stories, and the role that narrative played in the life of the Vikings, its influence on their perception of the world in which they understood themselves to move.

Tolkien’s Cauldron: Northern Literature and The Lord of the Rings


Tolkien was a scholar of Old Norse literature and much of his work in the Lord of the Rings is informed by his knowledge of old Norse mythology, Eddic poetry, and saga. Tolkien’s use of these sources enriched this complex story of Middle-earth.

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