Uppsala Research Centre for the World in the Viking Age


A five-year investment from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), 2024-2028

Project director: Neil Price

Centre of Excellence Programme

In June 2023, the Swedish Research Council established 15 national Centres of Excellence chosen from 124 applications across all disciplines, each to run for an initial five years with a possible five-year extension. We were fortunate to be awarded one of these substantial grants – with the Research Council’s highest grade of assessment, ‘Outstanding’ – to set up the Uppsala Research Centre for the World in the Viking Age (WiVA, pronounced ‘weaver’) as a collaborative, interdisciplinary meeting place for the study and wider communication of a defining episode in world history: the Scandinavian diaspora that unfolded across Eurasia from c.750-1050 CE. While it has long been a touchstone of identity, culture, heritage, and emotion in the Nordic countries, a fascination for the Viking Age is also an enduring global phenomenon. At the same time, the Vikings have been stereotyped and politically misappropriated almost beyond recognition, and there is a greater urgency to nuanced interpretation in both the academic and public arenas. These issues lie at the heart of the WiVA Centre, as we cross research frontiers to reveal the full scale of ethnic and cultural diversity in the Viking world. Our primary emphasis will look south and east along the Silk Roads, to trace the Scandinavians’ activities in a network of early globalisation that connected the Baltic to the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, Central Asia, and the China Seas. From 2024-20248, under the direction of Professor Neil Price together with Drs. Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson and John Ljungkvist, the WiVA Centre at Uppsala University will bring together a multidisciplinary team of archaeologists, historians, runologists, geneticists and more. There will be jobs for early career researchers, some twenty international visiting scholars will come to Sweden, and a full Master’s degree programme in Viking Studies will launch, alongside public outreach events. Our ambition is to bring out entirely new perspectives on the world in the Viking Age.

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