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Headlines & Grapevines: Jul-Sep 2018

28 September 2018, 21:08

Stave church, Norway (Source: Flickr / Ethan Gruber).

Few medieval churches in Europe had wooden floors. Many can be found in Scandinavia. And yes, it’s possible to make a study about them. Or rather, what’s underneath. Researchers have made an inventory of what they found under the wooden boards and reached a few surprising conclusions. Read the article on ScienceNordic.

20 September 2018, 21:29

The diggin’ in Lindisfarne has stopped, too. Another year with plenty of discoveries, and an engaging thread about posting photos of human remains found in archaeological excavations on social media.


13 September 2018, 16:06

The diggin’ in Ribe seems to have stopped. The archaeological excavation for a large project called Northern Emporium: The archaeology of network urbanism in Viking-age Ribe is now complete.

Ribe from the West by Knud Larsen, 1907 (Source: Wikipedia).

What the researchers have found is a window to early Viking Age urbanism. Last February, the project team already shared the discovery of the Viking Age comb. But apparently, this is just one thousands of objects that have been found on site. And these will all be analysed in the years to come.

Read the article on ScienceNordic.

06 September 2018, 15:10

Just stunning. Plain and simple.

06 September 2018, 15:07

In search of King Oswald’s Lindisfarne monastery. This is a crowdfunding project and archaeologists are picking up where they left off last year.

04 September 2018, 16:06

Vikingeskibs museet, Denmark (Source: Flickr / Jeaneeem).

An interesting concept: to preserve a building it is being taken off the protected buildings list… But there’s sense to this when the weather forecast is rather gloomy for the years to come. This step makes it now possible to fortify The Viking Ship Hall in Denmark against severe storms and rising sea levels. To read the press release, see the website of the Vikingeskibs Museet.

31 August 2018, 20:39

A new genomics study is available about Sigtuna, the Viking Age Swedish trading town. Read more here: Sigtuna’s International Demographics.

25 August 2018, 15:13

Øksnes, Norway (Source: Wikipedia / Blue Elf).

There are many boat burials around. The one found in Øksnes, Vesterålen isles in Norway in 1934 is surprising, though. For there is no body. A research team from Edinburgh has revisited the site and sifted through the entomological evidence to determine if there ever was a body. For the full study, see PLOS|One (doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0200545). This is fascinating stuff. 

10 August 2018, 20:11

The news has already spread across several blogs and Twitter: there’s a new study on the spread and origin of medieval walrus tusks. Find it in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, it’s available in Open Access (doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.0978).

(Source: Flickr/Joel Garlich-Miller USFWS).

Certainly something I was waiting for (and not just me, I gather!). the new information fits perfectly in the second part of the Lost Settlements Series. It’s almost ready – bear with me a few more days!

31 July 2018, 21:15

On 7 July 2018, the famous historian Peter Sawyer passed away. His impact on Viking studies since the 1960s has been impressive. He is also notable among others for bibliographies such as the International Medieval Bibliography, and the Anglo-Saxon charters.

The obituary in The Guardian can be found here.

28 July 2018, 14:18

This online headline hit earlier this week: “How on Earth Did These Burials of Viking Descendants Wind Up in Sicily?” (LiveScience, 23 July 2018)

The article reads about Polish archaeologists finding remains possibly dating back to the twelfth century near a church in Sicily. The only grave goods are a few coins from Champagne and Lucca. An anthropologist concluded from the size of the remains that these people were likely from Western Europe. Hence the idea that these might have been Normans.

Yesterday, the article was reproduced by another online news source. Its headline topped and overshadowed the one above: “800-year-old ‘massive’ Viking skeletons found in Sicily.” (TheNewHistorian, 27 July 2018).

Who knows what headline we’ll read tomorrow. Better wait for the full excavation reports from the Polish Academy of Sciences, before concluding these were ‘massive Vikings’.

24 July 2018, 14:25

Examining existing archaeological evidence is becoming a science in itself. This time it has helped to re-establish the settlement date of Odense, Denmark. ScienceNordic’s article includes a cool graph of the rise of Viking Age towns in Denmark.

17 July 2018, 21:26

The recent excavation at Stöðvarfjörður has revealed building structures that date back to the early ninth century. This is remarkable as Iceland’s ‘official’ settlement only started from 874 CE onwards. Archaeologists believe these buildings could have been seasonal camps used by hunters who came to the island.

Stöðvarfjörður (Source: Flickr/Alexandre Breveglieri).

Only IcelandMag can confirm this story so far!

14 July 2018, 12:32

What can you learn from ancient poop? Our ancestors diets and illnesses. One particular daily nuisance for the Vikings was tape worm. See the article on ScienceNordic.

11 July 2018, 18:31

The trading town of Hedeby and the Danevirke are now on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Hedeby (Source: Flickr/Storebukkebruse).

11 July 2018, 09:50

A dragonhead from Birka’s Black Earth harbour (dated c. 800)


11 July 2018, 09:44 

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