Eriksen Stefka Gueorguieva, Writing and reading in medieval manuscript culture. The transmission of the story of Elye in Old French and Old Norse literary contexts, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. J. G. Jørgensen, Université d’Oslo)
Goodrich Russell, Scandanavians and Settlement in the Eastern Irish Sea Region during the Viking Age, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. L. Huneycutt, Université du Missouri)
The Viking Age in England has long been a source of intellectual curiosity that has often been shrouded in obscurity. Although it is a known fact that the Viking Age (ca. 800-1100) included much activity in England, there is a great deal of debate concerning the nature of the interactions of the Scandinavians with the “native” Anglo-Saxons of England. In the northwest of England and southwest of Scotland is an area that is rich in Scandinavian artifacts and place-names, suggesting a substantial presence in the region. This is termed the Eastern Irish Sea Region, and it includes the more recent territorial designations of Cumberland, Westmorland and northern Lancashire in England, and the regions of Galloway and Dumfriesshire in Scotland, and the Isle of Man. This region make up a more or less uniform cultural area of the time period in question and is the focus of this study. It is almost certain that the region was small in importance compared to the larger and better known Scandinavian regions of York and Dublin, but it is nonetheless important, both as a transit point between them and as an economic producer in its own right. In addition to a considerable analysis of artifacts, the study incorporates a new element, namely the smelting and production of iron in the region, and particularly at the site of the Low Birker, Cumbria, where the author did some field research. Although the Low Birker Project has not been completed, it suggests a possible new chapter of Scandinavian inhabitation of the region, as well as a potential means of economic production.
[Source : http://gradworks.umi.com/34/88/3488606.html]
Goeres Erin Michelle, The King is dead, long live the King : commemoration in skaldic verse of the Viking Age, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. H. O’Donoghue, Université d’Oxford)
This thesis examines the function of commemorative skaldic verse at the Viking-age court. The first chapter demonstrates that the commemoration of past kings could provide a prestigious genealogical record that was used to legitimize both pagan and early Christian rulers. In the ninth and early tenth centuries, poets crafted competing genealogies to assert the primacy of their patrons and of their patrons’ religions. The second chapter looks at the work of tenth-century poets who depict their rulers’ entrances into the afterlife. Such poets interrogate the role public speech and poetic discourse play in the commemoration of the king, especially during the political turmoil that follows his death. A discussion follows of the relationship between poets and their patrons in the tenth and eleventh centuries: although this relationship is often praised as one of mutual trust and reliance, the financial aspects of the relationship were often juxtaposed uneasily with expressions of emotional attachment. The death of the patron caused a crisis in these seemingly contradictory bonds between poet and patron. The final chapter demonstrates the dramatic development in the eleventh century of deeply emotional commemorative verse as poets become adopted into their patrons’ families through such Christian ceremonies as baptism and marriage. In these verses poets express their grief after the death of the king and record the performances of public mourning on the part of the kings’ followers. As the petty warlords of the Viking age adapted to medieval models of Christian kingship, the role of the skald changed too. Formerly serving as a propagandist and retainer in the king’s service, a skald documenting the lives of kings at the end of the Viking age could occupy an almost infinite number of roles, from kinsman and friend to advisor and hagiographer.
Harlitz Erika, Urbana system och riksbildning i Skandinavien. En studie av Lödöses uppgång och fall ca 1050 – 1646 [Urban Systems and State Formation in Scandinavia: A Study of the Rise and Fall of the Town of Lödöse, c. 1050– 1646], Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (Université de Göteborg)
The investigation and analysis of Lödöse’s political functions over a period of six hundred years has made it possible to follow and contextualize a town’s life cycle and development. Lödöse has been used as a case study which illuminates how and why a town emerged, developed and disappeared in medieval and early modern Scandinavia, in relation to the processes of state formation and urbanization. The theory applied is the Dynamic Urban Systems Theory. The position of a town within this theory is determined by the functions of the town, as well as the exclusivity of these functions. The influences of the Scandinavian state formation process on the town and the subsequent emergence of the river Göta Älv as the border of the realm have been ubiquitous during the evolution of Lödöse’s functions. The results of the dissertation have been reached by abandoning the interpretational framework offered by the borders of the Scandinavian national states and instead using the Glomma-Risveden region as a focal point. This way, it has been demonstrated that Lödöse was founded in the 11th century during the urbanization of the medieval eastern Norwegian region of Viken, and not as a power manifestation by the Swedish kings, as has been previously assumed. Due to the evolution of the border between the Norwegian and Swedish kingdoms, Lödöse in time became a part of the developing Swedish urban system. This system evolved and was shaped in such a way by the Swedish state that, by the early 17th century, Lödöse was rendered obsolete; therefore, the town ultimately lost its system position and was subsequently abandoned.
Lamb Sally Elsie, Francia and Scandinavia in the early Viking Age, c.700-900, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. R. D. McKitterick, Université de Cambridge)
Lanpher Ann, The Problem of Revenge in Medieval Literature: Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, and Ljósvetninga Saga, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. A. Orchard, Université de Toronto)
This dissertation considers the literary treatment of revenge in medieval England and Iceland. Vengeance and feud were an essential part of these cultures; far from the reckless, impulsive action that the word conjures up in modern minds, revenge was considered both a right and a duty and was legislated and regulated by social norms. It was an important tool for obtaining justice and protecting property, family, and reputation. Accordingly, many medieval literary works seem to accept revenge without question. Many, however, evince a great sensitivity to the ambiguities and paradoxes inherent in an act of revenge. In my study, I consider three works that are emblematic of this responsiveness to and indeed, anxiety about revenge. Chapter one focuses on the Old English poem Beowulf; chapter two moves on to discuss Chaucer’s Reeve’s Tale and Tale of Melibee from the Canterbury Tales; and chapter three examines the Old Icelandic family saga, Ljósvetninga saga. I focus in particular on the treatment of the avenger in each work. The poet or author of each work acknowledges the perspective of the avenger by allowing him to express his motivations, desires, and justifications for revenge in direct speech. Alongside this acknowledgement, however, is the author’s own reflection on the risks, rewards, and repercussions of the avenger’s intentions and actions. The resulting parallel but divergent narratives highlight the multiplicity of viewpoints found in any act of revenge or feud and reveal a fundamental ambivalence about the value, morality, and necessity of revenge. Each of the works I consider resists easy conclusions about revenge in its own context and remains incredibly current in the way it poses challenging questions about what constitutes injury, punishment, justice, and revenge in our own time.
Löwenborg Daniel, Excavating the Digital Landscape, GIS analyses of social relations in central Sweden in the 1st millennium AD, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. P. Sinclair, Université d’Uppsala)
This thesis presents a number of GIS based landscape analyses that together aim to explore aspects of the social development in Iron Age Västmanland, central Sweden. From a perspective where nature and culture are seen as integrated in the landscape, differences in the relations to the physical landscape are interpreted as reflecting social organisation. Thus, hydrological modelling of watersheds is used for understanding the development of territories and regions that are recognisable in the outlay of the medieval hundare districts. Statistical modelling of burial grounds together with variables describing their situation in the landscape is used to calculate an estimated chronology for sites that have not yet been excavated. This information is used to analyse differences in how the setting in the landscape can tell of different trends in claims to land and property rights. An extensive renegotiation of property rights is suggested to have taken place after climatic catastrophe in AD 536 and the years after. This is interpreted as having caused a substantial population decline in parts of Scandinavia. The social development after this includes an increasingly stratified social hierarchy in the Late Iron Age, which is reflected in the construction of grave monuments. New GIS methods for analysing how to interpret the perception of different locations of the landscape, in terms of local topography and soil are discussed in relation to this. How to make the best use of large datasets of archaeological information in combination with other sources of geographical information is a central theme. Geographically Weighted Regression is used to predicting the representativity of the registry of graves for the whole landscape. It is suggested that the increasing availability of archaeological information in digital format, together with new analytical techniques has the potential to introduce fruitful new research perspectives. This will make it increasingly rewarding to work with the large amount of data produced from rescue archaeology, and it is important that this information is managed in a structured manner.
McGuire Erin-Lee Halstad, Manifestations of identity in burial : evidence from Viking-Age graves in the North Atlantic diaspora,Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. C. Batey, Université de Glasgow)
In the early Middle Ages, when settlers began to leave Scandinavia to find new homes for themselves and their families, they began a process that impacted their lives dramatically. Research on modern population movements has demonstrated that migration-induced stresses change the lives of immigrants, and shape how they adapt to their new homes. Migration affects societies and people in a number of ways: it changes family and household organisation; gender relations and roles shift; and general social and cultural structures are altered through the integration of different practices and beliefs. While the identification of the societal changes caused by migration has been the focus of research in a number of fields, it has yet to be directly addressed in archaeology. This thesis seeks to examine the ways in which various social identities were displayed through funerary rituals and the associated material culture in the Norse North Atlantic, and to identify how these changed through the course of migration. The analysis is conducted by comparing burial data collected from two regions of Norway, representing the homeland of the migrants, and Scotland and Iceland, representing two critical destination points. Approximately 500 graves are catalogued and assessed using multivariate statistics. Six case studies, selected from the study areas, are used for comparative purposes. The analysis of the overall data-set and the case study sites indicates that there are key differences between the homeland and the communities of the Viking diaspora. Moreover, the results indicate that the circumstances of migration, such as location, resource availability, and the presence of a local population, results in society changing in different, yet significant, ways: gendered burial practices are altered; new manifestations of traditional rites appear; and migrant identities emerge.
[Source : http://theses.gla.ac.uk/1736/]
McLennan Alistair, Monstrosity in Old English and Old Icelandic literature, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. K. Lowe, Université de Glasgow)
The purpose of this thesis is to examine Old English and Old Icelandic literary examples of monstrosity from a modern theoretical perspective. I examine the processes of monstrous change by which humans can become identified as monsters, focusing on the role played by social and religious pressures. In the first chapter, I outline the aspects of monster theory and medieval thought relevant to the role of society in shaping identity, and the ways in which anti-societal behaviour is identified with monsters and with monstrous change. Chapter two deals more specifically with Old English and Old Icelandic social and religious beliefs as they relate to human and monstrous identity. I also consider the application of generic monster terms in Old English and Old Icelandic. Chapters three to six offer readings of humans and monsters in Old English and Old Icelandic literary texts in cases where a transformation from human to monster occurs or is blocked. Chapter three focuses on Grendel and Heremod in Beowulf and the ways in which extreme forms of anti-societal behaviour are associated with monsters. In chapter four I discuss the influence of religious beliefs and secular behaviour in the context of the transformation of humans into the undead in the Íslendingasögur. In chapter five I consider outlaws and the extent to which criminality can result in monstrous change. I demonstrate that only in the most extreme instances is any question of an outlaw’s humanity raised. Even then, the degree of sympathy or admiration evoked by such legendary outlaws as Grettir, Gísli and Hörðr means that though they are ambiguous in life, they may be redeemed in death. The final chapter explores the threats to human identity represented by the wilderness, with specific references to Guthlac A, Andreas and Bárðar saga and the impact of Christianity on the identity of humans and monsters. I demonstrate that analysis of the social and religious issues in Old English and Old Icelandic literary sources permits nuanced readings of monsters and monstrosity which in turn enriches understanding of the texts in their entirety.
[Source : http://theses.gla.ac.uk/2287/]
Monikander Anne, Våld och vatten, Våtmarkskult vid Skedemosse under järnåldern, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. I. Jansson, Université de Stockholm)
This thesis examines the wetland sacrifices that were performed in Northern Europe in the Iron Age. Skedemosse on central Öland is the largest wetland sacrifice in Sweden and was the site of a cult which sacrificed animals and humans. Between the late second century and well into the fifth century the place was also used for large sacrifices of military equipment. New radiocarbon dates has shown that the place functioned as a ritual place from the Pre Roman Iron Age and into the Late Viking Age.Both in the Iron Age and later wetlands seem to have been both venerated and feared and the thesis discusses why this came to be, and how it can be seen in the archaeological material.A smaller part of the sacrificial site of Skedemosse was selected for a closer study and it was possible to establish several depositions which appear to have been treated slightly different from each other.The investigations of the animal sacrifices have focused on the horses as they are the most common animal. The horse was an important mythological animal in the Iron Age and they were equally important in the cult. The horses in Skedemosse were eaten in ritual meals, and it is possible that some of them took part in ritual races along the ridge east of the former lake. Such races were called skeið and the name Skedemosse may be derived from this word.Skedemosse is also rare because the remains of ca 38 people have been found in it. Some of these people have suffered a violent death. They are compared to other bog bodies from northern Europe and the follow a similar pattern to those; In the Pre Roman Iron Age mainly women and children were sacrificed and after the first century AD mainly men ended up in the lake.
Raffield Benjamin Paul, Inside that fortress sat a few peasant men, and it was half-made: a study of ‘Viking’ fortifications in the British Isles, AD793-1066, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (Université de Birmingham)
The study of Viking fortifications is a neglected subject which could reveal much to archaeologists about the Viking way of life. The popular representation of these Scandinavian seafarers is often as drunken, bloodthirsty heathens who rampaged across Britain leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Excavations at Coppergate, York and Dublin however, show that the Vikings developed craft and industry wherever they settled, bringing Britain back into trade routes lost since the collapse of the Roman Empire. These glimpses of domestic life show a very different picture of the Vikings to that portrayed in popular culture. Fortifications provide a compromise to these views, as they are relatively safe, militarised locations where an army in hostile territory can undertake both military and ‘domestic’ activities. This study investigates the historiography of the Vikings and suspected fortification sites in Britain, aiming to understand the processes behind which archaeological sites have been designated as ‘Viking’ in the past. The thesis will also consider the study of Viking fortifications in an international context and attempt to identify future avenues of research that might be taken in an effort to better understand this archaeologically elusive people.
Shafer John Douglas, Saga-accounts of Norse far-travellers, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (Université de Durham)
The thesis examines the medieval Icelandic sagas’ many accounts of travel taken by Scandinavian characters to lands in the distant north, south, east and west. These Norse far-travellers have various motivations for their journeys, and particular motivations and motifs are associated with each cardinal direction. Travel to the distant west and north, for example, is typified by commercial motivations: real estate and settlement schemes in the west, trade and tribute-collection in the north. Travel to the distant east frequently takes the form of royal exile, and piety is often the central motivation for journeys to the distant south. Other sorts of narrative patterns are also discussed. It is shown, for example, that there is a sort of “moral geography” evident in the literature, whereby journeys towards “holy” regions (east and south) are more spiritually beneficial than journeys in the opposite directions. The study systematically identifies and discusses saga-accounts of far-travel, surveying the various purposes and themes associated with each of the cardinal directions. The first chapter introduces the material and key terms and provides a survey of the relevant scholarship. The following four chapters cover far-travel in each of the four directions, west, south, east and north respectively. The primary-text examples cited throughout support literary observations, and the conclusions drawn are all focused on literary aspects of the texts. Additionally, some historical observations are occasionally made, though these are never the main focus of the arguments. The sixth and final chapter supplements the concluding sections of these four main chapters and draws additional conclusions. The concluding chapter also offers a diagrammatic representation of the relationships between the various motivations for far-travel in the different cardinal directions.
[Source : http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/286/]
Ten Harkel Aleida Tessa, Lincoln in the Viking age : a ‘town’ in context, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (Université de Sheffield)
Wessman Anna, Death, Destruction and Commemoration : Tracing ritual activities in Finnish Late Iron Age cemeteries (AD 550-1150), Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (Université de Helsinki)
The thesis is connected with death, memory and ancestor commemoration during the Merovingian Period, the Viking Age and the beginning of the Crusade Period (AD 550-1150) in Finland. During this time, cremation was the dominant burial rite. It was not until the end of the Viking Age that inhumation became more common but both cremations and inhumations are performed even at the same sites throughout the time.
Three different burial types 1) cremation cemeteries below level ground, 2) inhumation burials and 3) water burials are discussed in five articles. I consider these burial forms from three different viewpoints; collectivity-individuality, visibility-invisibility and cremation-inhumation. The thesis also discusses the topics of memory, memorialisation and monument re-use, which have been neglected subjects in Finnish archaeology until now. Both cremation cemeteries below level ground and inhumation burials have been re-used during their time of usage, and on most occasions are situated in a landscape that is overlaid by other monuments as well.
The main questions of the thesis are: What kinds of ritual behaviour can we detect in the burials during the period (AD 550-1150)? How did people perceive the moraine hills that functioned as burial places? What kind of re-use can be detected in the Iron Age cemeteries? Why have ancient sites and artefacts been re-used?
This thesis shows that it is possible to claim that both artefact and site re-use is a much more widespread phenomenon than has previously been thought in Finnish archaeology. It is also a conscious and deliberate behaviour that can be related to an ancestor cult and commemoration of the dead. The funerary rituals during this time period show great variation and complex, both regionally and nationally. Not only have the dead been buried using elaborate rituals, they have also been mourned and commemorated in intricate ways that proves that death was not an end product, but the start of something new.
Väitöskirja käsittelee hautarituaaleja nuoremmalla rautakaudella (n. 550 1150 jKr.) viiden artikkelin ja laajan yhteenveto artikkelin pohjalta. Sen pääpaino on polttokenttäkalmistojen tutkimuksessa, kalmistotyyppi joka on pääosin vieras Suomen ulkopuolella ja täälläkin usein laiminlyöty, mutta kirjassa käsitellään myös muita hautaustapoja, kuten esimerkiksi veteen hautaamista Pohjanmaalla.
Kuolemaa ja siihen liittyviä rituaaleja on tutkittu tähän asti hyvin vähän Suomen arkeologiassa. Siksi väitöskirjassa suhtaudutaan kriittisesti aiempiin tulkintoihin ja siinä pyritään muuttamaan nykyisin vielä vallalla olevia vanhentuneita käsityksiä kuolemasta ja hautaamisesta. Väitöskirjan pääpaino ei ole perinteisen hautalöytöjen läpikäymisessä vaan kalmistojen laajemmassa ymmärtämisessä ja tulkinnassa mm. Eurooppalaisen maisema- ja muistiteorioiden avulla.
Kirjassa tuodaan esille, että rautakauden ihminen on ollut tarkka hautapaikan valinnassa. Polttokenttäkalmistot sijaitsevat vielä tänään näkyvillä paikoilla maisemassa, usein moreenikumpareilla. Näitä paikkoja ei ole käytetty ainoastaan hautaamiseen vaan siellä on käyty myös uhraamassa, muistelemassa vainajia ja esi-isiä sekä polteltu uhritulia. Samoja kalmistokumpuja on käytetty satoja vuosia tai jopa tuhat vuotta. Vaikuttaa siis siltä, että jatkuvuus ja tietynlainen konservatiivisuus on ollut tärkeätä rautakauden ihmisille eikä hautapaikkaa ole haluttu muuttaa edes silloin kuin hautaustapa on muuttunut polttohautauksesta ruumishautaukseen.
Myös esi-isien haudat on selvästi pidetty tärkeinä. Kiinnostus esi-isien käyttämiin esineisiin näkyy myös hautarituaaleissa. Suomesta on monta esimerkkiä siitä, että hautoihin on laitettu satoja vuosia vanhoja esineitä, jotka ovat aivan selvästi peräisin haudoista. Rautakauden ihminen on selvästi ollut kiinnostunut omasta historiastaan ja siksi myös kajonnut esi-isien hautoihin. Vanhojen esineiden käytössä on lisäksi ollut maagisia piirteitä, niissä uskottiin olevan voimia, jotka siirtyivät esineen omistajalle. Samalla vanhan esineen omiminen itselleen on tuonut jatkuvuutta ja arvovaltaa.
Hautaaminen ja siihen liittyvät rituaalit ovat olleet huomattavasti monimutkaisempia kuin aiempi suomalainen tutkimus on tuonut esille. Väitöskirja tarjoaa uusia tulkintamalleja monelle rautakauden hautatyypille ja purkaa myös vanhoja myyttejä kalmistoista. Levänluhdan vesikalmisto Isossakyrössä on tästä hyvä esimerkki. Aiempi tutkimus on selittänyt tämän ainutlaatuisen paikan salaperäisenä suokalmistona johon olisi haudattu kulkutautiin kuolleita vainajia ja jopa uhripaikkana, mutta aineiston uusi läpikäyminen osoitti, että paikka on todellisuudessa ollut järvi tai lampi rautakaudella eikä vainajatkaan ole haudattu yhtäaikaisesti vaan useamman vuosisadan kuluessa.
[Source : https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/19498]