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Crossing the Maelstrom: New Departures in Viking Archaeology

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This paper reviews the achievements and challenges of archaeological research on Viking Age northern Europe and explores potential avenues for future research. We identify the reemergence of comparative and cross-cultural perspectives along with a turn toward studying mobility and maritime expansion, fueled by the introduction of biomolecular and isotopic data. The study of identity has seen a shift from a focus on collective beliefs and ritual to issues of personal identity and presentation, with a corresponding shift in attention to individual burials and the “animated objects.” Network ontologies have brought new perspectives on the emergence of sea trade and urban nodes and to the significance of outfield production and resources. Field archaeology has seen an emphasis on elite manors, feasting halls, and monuments, as well as military sites and thing assembly places, using new data from remote sensing, geophysical surveys, geoarchaeology, and metal detectors. Concerns over current climate change have placed the study of environment as a key priority, in particular in the ecologically vulnerable North Atlantic settlements. Discussing future directions, we call for alignment between societal/economic and individual/cultural perspectives, and for more ethically grounded research. We point to diaspora theory and intersectionality as frameworks with the potential to integrate genomics, identity, and society, and to ecology as a framework for integrating landscape, mobility, and political power.

TidsskriftJournal of Archaeological Research
Sider (fra-til)169-229
Antal sider61
StatusE-pub ahead of print - maj 2021

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