Archives de catégorie : Migrations et diasporas / Migration and diasporas

From Vikings to Normans in England and Ireland

Article publié dans le dossier thématique – actes de la journée d’étude du 20 novembre 2015, Les transferts culturels dans les mondes normands médiévaux I – Des mots pour le dire ?

From Vikings to Normans in England and Ireland

David Griffiths

University of Oxford, England, UK

In this short piece, I address the ways in which historians and archaeologists have approached, interpreted and described the Viking and Norman presences in England and Ireland. These are treated as very different phenomena, yet in many ways have similar origins and effects. ‘Vikings’ (a word hardly used in near-contemporary historical sources, which use ‘Northmen’, ‘Gentiles’, Foreigners’) became a feature of English and Irish historical consciousness from the 780s AD, with raids followed by more sustained semi-systematic warfare coupled to settlement and assimilation, and ultimately dynastic rivalry and competing claims on statehood. The latter are exemplified in England by the successful attempt by Svein Forkbeard of Denmark to wrest the crown and make way for his son Cnut’s accession in 1016, and in Ireland by the creation of the kingdom of Dublin and the failed attempts by external powers in the Norse world to invade Ireland in 1014 and by Magnus Barelegs of Norway in 1098/1103. Duke William of Normandy, it will need no reminder to say, invaded southern England in 1066, and over the following 20 years (expensively and often bloodily) established Norman rule over the majority of the country. An important dimension to the Norman invasion is its coincidence with the Northumbrian rebellion against Harold II and the Norwegian invasion led by Harald Hardraði, which narrowly failed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September 1066, three days prior to the Norman fleet landing at Pevensey, Sussex. Following William’s success at Hastings, and his assumption of the crown, further unsuccessful Danish campaign was mounted against England in 1069-70. Subsequently in 1169-71, led initially by Norman settlers from West Wales, and representing the king Henry II (also Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and Count of Anjou), an Anglo-Norman army landed (initially by Irish invitation) in south-eastern Ireland, rapidly effecting a take-over of the towns and then the Irish countryside. Continuer la lecture de From Vikings to Normans in England and Ireland

Voyages en Russie et définition des marges du monde scandinave dans les fornaldarsögur

Voyages en Russie et définition des marges du monde scandinave dans les fornaldarsögur

Travel in Russia and the definition of the Scandinavian world’s margins in the genre of the fornaldarsögur

Viaggi in Russia e definizione dei confini del mondo scandinavo nelle fornaldarsögur

Benoît Humbert, Doctorant EPHE, CNRS-UMR 8167 Orient et Méditerranée

Article dans Tabularia :

Résumé :
Thème récurrent de la littérature scandinave médiévale, le voyage en Russie semble évoluer au gré du temps et des genres. La géographie russe s’y présente comme une construction littéraire loin des réalités physiques et historiques, résultat d’un syncrétisme entre différents types de sources. Ce constat est encore plus frappant avec le genre des fornaldarsögur qui figure une véritable évolution où les régions de la Russie médiévale sont pour la première fois décrites, et où la géographie physique fait place à une conception mentale des frontières reposant sur la définition de l’altérité et la prise de conscience de l’unité culturelle scandinave.

Mots-clés : sagas légendaires, Rus’ ancienne, monde Viking, altérité, frontières, marges, voyages

Recurring theme of medieval Scandinavian literature, travel in Russia seems to evolve according to time and genres. The Russian geography appears in fact as a literary construction far from the physical and historical realities, which results from a syncretism between different types of sources. This is even more striking with the genre of fornaldarsögur which introduces a real change where the regions of Medieval Russia are physically described for the first time, and where the geography gives way to a mental conception of geography and borders based on the definition of otherness and the awareness of a Scandinavian cultural unity.

Keywords: legendary sagas, Old Rus’, Viking world, otherness, borders, margins, travels

Riassunto :
Tema ricorrente della letteratura scandinava medievale, il viaggio in Russia sembra evolvere a seconda delle epoche e dei generi. La geografia russa si presenta come una costruzione letteraria avulsa dalle realtà fisiche e storiche, risultato di un sincretismo fra diversi tipi di fonti. Questa considerazione è tanto più evidente nel genere delle fornaldarsögur, che mostra un cambiamento significativo : le regioni della Russia medievale sono descritte per la prima volta, e la geografia fisica è sostituita da una concezione delle frontiere basata sulla definizione dell’alterità e sulla presa di coscienza dell’unità culturale scandinava.

Parole-chiave : saghe del tempo antico, antica Russia, mondo vichingo, alterità, frontiere, confini, viaggi

Norman Tradition and Transcultural Heritage

Norman Tradition and Transcultural Heritage: Exchange of Cultures in the ‘Norman’ Peripheries of Medieval Europe, éd. Thomas Foerster, Stefan Burkhardt, Ashgate 2013.


Résumé/abstract :

The Normans have long been recognised as one of the most dynamic forces within medieval western Europe. With a reputation for aggression and conquest, they rapidly expanded their powerbase from Normandy, and by the end of the twelfth century had established themselves in positions of strength from England to Sicily, Antioch to Dublin. Yet, despite this success recent scholarship has begun to question the ‘Norman Achievement’ and look again at the degree to which a single Norman cultural identity existed across so diverse a territory. To explore this idea further, all the essays in this volume look at questions of Norman traditions in some of the peripheral Norman dominions. In response to recent developments in cultural studies the volume uses the concepts of ‘tradition’ and ‘heritage’ to question the notion of a stable pan-European Norman culture or identity, and instead reveals the degrees to which Normans adopted and adapted to local conditions, customs and requirements in order to form their own localised cultural heritage. Divided into two sections, the volume begins with eight chapters focusing on Norman Sicily. These essays demonstrate both the degree of cultural intermingling that made this kingdom an extraordinary paradigm in this regard, and how the Normans began to develop their own distinct origin myths that diverged from those of Norman France and England. The second section of the volume provides four essays that explore Norman ethnicity and identity more broadly, including two looking at Norman communities on the opposite side of Europe to the Kingdom of Sicily: Ireland and the Scandinavian settlements in the Kievan Rus. Taken as a whole the volume provides a fascinating assessment of the construction and malleability of Norman identities in transcultural settings. By exploring these issues through the tradition and heritage of the Norman’s ‘peripheral’ dominions, a much more sophisticated understanding can be gained, not only of the Normans but of the wider cultural forces at work with the medieval west.



Birsay-Skaill Landscape Archaeology Project, Orkney, Scotland, UK

Responsables du projet/Project leaders : David Griffiths (, Ms Jane Harrison (

Établissements principaux/Main institutions : University of Oxford

Projet en cours/Project in progress

Description :

Established to explore the Medieval landscapes around Birsay and the Bay of Skaill in Orkney, this project conducts survey and excavation targeting settlement history. Excavations have focused on Norse-period settlements in the Mound of Snusgar area (site of a famous Norse-period hoard), a few minutes walk from the Skara Brae Neolithic site. Although the aim is to explore the Medieval landscape, the project has a wider landscape reconstruction remit which covers earlier periods as well. There are both training and research opportunities. There is normally a fee for student participation to cover costs and training. Fieldwork normally happens in August each year, and there are many opportunities to explore the famous sites on Orkney mainland.

[Lien/Link :]

Hoards: Viking Age Gold and Silver from Ireland

Responsables du projet/Project leaders : John Sheehan (

Établissements principaux/Main institutions : University College Cork

Projet en cours/Project in progress

Description :

This project will result in the publication of study and catalogue of the eighty-eight Viking-age gold and silver hoards containing non-numismatic material of Scandinavian character from Ireland, c. AD 800-c.1000, and will discuss these finds in the context of related hoards from Britain and Scandinavia. Undertaken in conjunction with the National Museum of Ireland, this project details the hoards and their components and examines the social and economic impacts of the Vikings on early medieval Ireland.

[Lien/Link :]

Nordic Research Network Glasgow 2016

Nordic Research Network Glasgow 2016 — Bridges Between: Norse and Insular Worlds 500-1500

Glasgow, 4 May 2016


This interdisciplinary day conference presented by The Nordic Research Network at the University of Glasgow welcomes contributions from postgraduates and early-career researchers to explore the topic of “Bridges Between: Norse and Insular Worlds in the period c. 500 – 1500 A.D.”

The theme of the conference is “Bridges”, and we welcome papers (<20min) which explore the relationships which emphasise connections, interactions, and interfaces within the wider Norse world. This conference hopes to break new ground in discussing how these « bridges » developed over a thousand year period, going beyond the traditional historical boundaries. We also seek contributions which aim to build interdisciplinary bridges between research traditions and academic institutions.

If you are interested in participating, please submit a 200 word abstract and a <50 word bio to by January 15th 2016.

Potential topics may include (but are not limited to):

– Norse Archaeology in the Insular region or Insular influences in the Norse-speaking world.

– Linguistic and Onomastic interactions and changes.

– The Scandinavian origins of the Anglo-Saxons.

– The historical influence of the Scandinavians in Britain during the later medieval period.

– Interactions between the Norse and the natural environment.

– Contacts between the Norse and indigenous peoples throughout the North Atlantic.

– Bridging archaeometric analysis with a theoretical framework.

[Link :]

Koch Madsen Christian, Pastoral Settlement. Farming and Hierarchy in Norse Vatnahverfi, South Greenland

Koch Madsen Christian, Pastoral Settlement. Farming and Hierarchy in Norse Vatnahverfi, South Greenland, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2014, (Université de Copenhague)

Résumé/abstract :

Norse farmers settled Greenland around AD 1000. They established two settlements, where the southernmost – the Eastern Settlement – was the largest and lasted until ca. AD 1450, where after it was depopulated for unknown reasons. Through an archaeological study of one of the Eastern Settlement’s core areas – ‘Vatnahverfi’ – this dissertation analyses and discusses how the settlement was organized and changed throughout time. New precision surveys of 157 sites and 1308 individual ruins show that the dispersed settlement was organized after strongly hierarchical patterns. The Norse pastoral farming system relied on extensive land use practices organized around shielings, and apparently after unique Greenlandic patterns. A population estimate based on these settlement patterns implies an average population in Vatnahverfi of only ca. 225-550 people, and an average maximum population of ca. 1400-1940 in the whole of the Eastern Settlement. New and old 14C-dates show that the settlement expanded in two phases: the best agricultural areas were quickly occupied around AD 1000, more marginal areas about a century later. The settlement reached a maximum between AD 1100-1200, where after it quickly contracted and power was centralized on fewer manors. Already by AD 1250 the settlement was again concentrated on those areas that had initially been settled, and after AD 1350 even these areas witnessed a decline in land use. Although climatic deterioration towards the ‘Little Ice Age’ undoubtedly made it harder to be a farmer in South Greenland, this study implies that low population densities – and a very unequal access to resources and options – was perhaps the major problem facing the Norse and ultimately a key reason for the abandonment of the settlements.

[Source :]

Knight Dayanna, Identity construction and maintenance in the North Atlantic c. AD800-1250

Knight Dayanna, Identity construction and maintenance in the North Atlantic c. AD800-1250,  Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2014, (dir. C.P. Loveluck, A.G. Poulter, Université de Nottingham)

Résumé/abstract :

This study is a multivalent investigation of Scandinavian identity formation and cultural structures within the north Atlantic that looks specifically at the construction and maintenance of island identities circa AD800-1250. This not only includes consideration of the Norse settlers but also the effects of contact between the emerging island cultural identities and continental Europe. In order to do this zones of settlement have been defined to better compare the expansion of medieval Scandinavian populations in terms of microscale practices and interactions within family groups and the macroscale vectors of social, economic and political change. It employs a wide variety of material that makes use of aspects of both prehistoric and historic sources. The variety of enabling conditions ultimately provided for a time the circumstances necessary for the long-term success of a number of the settlements established during this period. The evidence is considered in as subjective manner as possible with the sources available also reflecting the conditions of initial region excavation and publication.

[Source :]

Mirrington Alexander, Transformations of identity and society in Essex, c.AD 400-1066

Mirrington Alexander, Transformations of identity and society in Essex, c.AD 400-1066, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2013, (dir. C. P. Loveluck, N. J. Sykes, L. Laing, Université de Nottingham)

Résumé/abstract :

This study examines the archaeological reflections of group identity and socio-economic networks in the region of Essex and London in the Anglo-Saxon period, between c.400 and 1066. Given its location in the south-east of England, Essex was a key zone of socio-political interaction during the early medieval period. This doctoral research has brought together the stray and excavated archaeological material from the region for the first time. The thesis presented here is centred on diachronic, quantified distributional analyses of three key material culture classes: dress accessories, pottery, and coinage. The discussion synthesises the results of these analyses, examining the observed patterns within their broader archaeological context.

The thesis reveals the emergence of a hybrid dress style in the 5th and 6th centuries. This appears to have been actively created in Essex to reflect a diverse cultural inheritance, but not a specific ethnic identity. However, from the mid-7th century these styles were rejected in favour of dynamic fashions, reflecting the maritime focus of the region, and especially links with the Merovingian/Carolingian Continent. From the later 9th century, Scandinavian dress and cultural practice are also apparent, particularly in north Essex.

This Continental orientation reflects the emergence and transformation of the North Sea network. The engagement of Essex communities with this network is studied in detail in this thesis. The coinage and pottery analyses reveal the emergence of several exchange hubs along the North Sea coast, as well as a generalized engagement with long-distance exchange among coastal communities. This system was disrupted, but not destroyed, by the Vikings, who linked Essex with wider Scandinavian networks. However, the long-term pattern shows the decline of coastal sites in favour of urban centres from the later 9th century.

[Source :]

Les Vikings en Grande-Bretagne et en Irlande : travaux et recherches en cours

23 oct. 2015 | Université de Caen (France) | MRSH, salle des Actes, SH027, 14H-18H

Les Vikings en Grande-Bretagne et en Irlande : travaux et recherches en cours

Jón Viðar SIGURÐSSON (Université d’Oslo), The Scandinavia power game and the Viking raids
Stephen HARRISON (Université de Glasgow), Early Viking Fortifications in Britain and Ireland
Clare DOWNHAM (Université de Liverpool), Coastal Communities and Diaspora Identities in Viking Age Ireland

Conquest: 1016, 1066 – Call for paper

An Interdisciplinary Anniversary Conference

Ioannou Centre and TORCH, Oxford, 21-24 July 2016


Sessions will run in parallel for 90 minutes each. Paper proposals in the general call should be for 20 minute papers, which will be scheduled in sessions of 3 papers each; if groups of people wish to propose a session in a different format, they are welcome to submit linked proposals. Session and paper proposers are asked to nominate one or more of the thematic strands in which their session/paper would fit:

  1. The Church; monasticism, clerical reform, theology, religious experience
  2. Literature, authors, and patronage
  3. Language and multilingualism, language contact
  4. Institutions and governance; lordship; kingship
  5. Warfare, battles, conduct in war, fighting men
  6. Art and material culture; music; court life
  7. Society and peoples
  8. Trade and commerce
  9. Space, movement, contact, networks; England and Europe, England and Scandinavia
  10. Historiography

Download the CALL FOR PAPERS (PDF)

Download the Paper Proposal form (Word document)

Email paper proposals by 31 October 2015.

Humbert Benoit, La circulation des biens et des hommes dans la Rus’ ancienne d’après l’historiographie (IXe-XIIe siècle).

Humbert Benoit, La circulation des biens et des hommes dans la Rus’ ancienne et l’impact des Scandinaves sur le développement de la Rus’ d’après l’historiographie (IXe-XIIe siècle). Apport des sources scandinaves et perspectives comparées avec les fondations scandinaves occidentales : Normandie et iles anglo-saxonnes, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2015, (dir. Constantin Zuckerman, École Pratique des Hautes Etudes).

Résumé/Abstract :

La pénétration des Scandinaves en Russie, qui s’insère dans ce vaste mouvement d’échanges qui entre les VIIIe et XIIe siècles fait circuler hommes et biens au sein de ces régions, apparaît à bien des égards comme un stimulant économique et politique d’importance dans l’émergence d’organisations politiques et sociales qui aboutirent au développement de centres proto-urbains d’importance et du premier État russe.

Continuer la lecture de Humbert Benoit, La circulation des biens et des hommes dans la Rus’ ancienne d’après l’historiographie (IXe-XIIe siècle).

Séminaire du Centre Michel de Bouärd-CRAHAM

Dans le cadre du séminaire du Centre Michel de Boüard-CRAHAM « Histoire, archéologie et civilisations des mondes anciens et médiévaux »

13 fév. 2015, 14-17h | Les transferts culturels vers le monde scandinave : traduction, transmission et réception vers la littérature norroise médiévale. MRSH, salle des Actes, SH 027

Hélène TÉTREL (Université de Bretagne occidentale, CRBC, EA 4451/UMS 3554), Peut-on parler d’une « réception tardive » de la matière arthurienne en Scandinavie médiévale ?

Hanna Steinunn THORLEIFSDOTTIR (UCBN, ERLIS, EA 4254), La fascination des chevaliers dans la littérature médiévale nordique

27 fév. 2015, 14-17h | Migrations, diasporas et populations du passé. Amphi Rouelle, bâtiment M, SA 111)

Richard JONES (Université de Leicester), The Impact of Diaspora and the Making of Britain : History, Archaeology and Genetics

Christina LEE (Université de Nottingham), Unhealthy Vikings ?


The Isle of Man Viking Ancestry study

The Isle of Man Viking Ancestry study

Responsables du projet/Project leaders :

Mark Jobling (, Simon James (

Établissement principal/Main institution :

University of Leicester

Projet en cours/Project in progress

Description :

This University of Leicester-funded study is being carried out by Hayley Dunn under the joint supervision of Professor Mark Jobling (Department of Genetics) and Dr Simon James (School of Archaeology) as part of research leading to a PhD degree. The aim of project is to look at the proportion of Viking ancestry among the inhabitants of the Isle of Man.

In this project we will exploit the power of the link we have previously shown between surnames and Y-chromosomal DNA (both of which are passed from father to son). We will use historical lists of surnames present on the Isle of Man in medieval times to recruit modern donor samples to mimic the population of the past. We will analyse Y chromosomes because these are linked with surnames, and then estimate proportions of Norwegian ancestry in these samples.

[Lien/Link :]

Bauduin Pierre, Musin Alexander (dir.), Vers l’Orient et vers l’Occident

Bauduin Pierre, Musin Alexander (dir.), Vers l’Orient et vers l’Occident. Regards croisés sur les dynamiques et les transferts culturels des Vikings à la Rous ancienne, Caen, Publications du CRAHAM, 2014, 500 p. ISBN: 9782841334995

Compte rendu par/Review by : Yann Coz

La Cliothèque

Date : 22 Nov 2014

Fruit d’un programme de collaboration entre universitaires français et russes, cet ouvrage vise à faire le point sur les recherches menées ces dernières décennies et sur les nouvelles interprétations du passé normand en Normandie et en Rous ancienne, avec en complément des aperçus sur les îles britanniques et sur le monde scandinave. Sans rentrer dans le détail des contributions (rédigées en français et anglais), majoritairement archéologiques, on mettra l’accent ici sur quelques lignes de force et sur la remise en cause de certitudes bien ancrées sur le mouvement de colonisation qui affecte diverses régions d’Europe entre le VIIIe et la première moitié du XIe siècle.

Continue la lecture →