The seminar series Viking Phenomena: current research on late Iron Age Scandinavia
Post doc. University of Helsinki and Museum Centre Vapriikki, Tampere
Date: 25th of May 2023
Time: 10.15 – 12.00
Place: Uppsala Eng/2-0024 – Campus Gotland Gotl/A30
In October 1968, a bronze-hilted sword was found in Hattula Suontaka, Finland. The sword led to the discovery of a Crusade-period grave, which has since become famous for its unusual combination of artefacts. The jewellery in the grave suggests that the deceased was wearing a typical female costume of the period. Still, the deceased was laid in the ground with a sword or two. Over the past decades, various interpretations have been proposed for the burial. The grave has been suggested to be a double burial of a man and a woman, or a female sword grave and, therefore, evidence of powerful female leaders or female warriors in Late Iron Age Finland. However, new research challenges earlier interpretations. This presentation will discuss the new findings and the worldwide media attention they provoked.
Neil, John & Charlotte
Research assistant at Stockholm Numismatic Institute, Stockholm University
Date: 12th of December 2019
Time: 10 – 12
Place: Uppsala Eng/ 3-2028 – Uppsalarummet, A30, Campus Gotland
The Viking Age, Eastern Europe, and the World of Islam:
towards the joint chronology of coin circulation and trading networks, c. 750-1000 AD
The early and late periods of the Viking Age (c. 750-1000 AD) are known for their extremely large coin import from the regions of Islam and through the regions of Eastern Europe (the territories of present-day European Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine). In Sweden alone, the number of Islamic silver coins (Kufic dirhams) recorded so far exceeds 88,000. The coins are the best evidence for dense economic relations of the Vikings with the Islamic world, and also of great importance for establishing precise chronologies of internal developments, both cultural and political, for Viking homelands in the North, as well as for Viking (Rus’) colonies in Eastern Europe.
Based on the typology of dirhams minted in the Islamic world, from Spain and Morocco (al-Andalus and al-Maghrib) to East Iran and Central Asia (Khurasan and Mawarannahr) in the course of three centuries, c. 700-1000 AD, and drawing on the dynamics of their assemblages in large hoards of the 9th and 10th centuries, I am building up a detailed chronological system consisting of several subsequent stages of dirham circulation in the larger Viking world.
The said results compared to the evidence of contemporary Arabic sources on the Vikings may effectively be made use for a better understanding of the trading networks which formed a basis of state formation in Nordic countries and in Rus’.
Neil, John & Charlotte
Dr. Tuija Kirkinen
Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, University of Helsinki. Awarded by Gustaf Adolf Akademien 2019 for her doctoral thesis Between skins.
Date: 7th of November 2019
Time: 15 – 17
Place: Uppsala Eng/ 2-0024 – Uppsalarummet, A30, Campus Gotland
FIBERS AND FUR REMAINS FROM BURIALS - microscoping the roles of furs in the past
Tuija Kirkinen, University of Helsinki email@example.com
In Finnish archaeology, furs have been discussed almost entirely from the points of view of trade. Moreover, fur trade has had a strong explanatory power in interpreting the colonization of Finland, social differentiation and material culture.
In this presentation, I focus on the roles that animal skins held in populations which have been classified as producers of furs. For these groups of people, the lives of humans and wild animals were closely engaged and the skins had specific agency, which can be reached in Kalevalaic epic poems and ethnographic materials. In contrast to this, for people who didn’t live in close contact with wild animals, the products hypothetically represented otherness and were rare and exotic, even status items.
For east Fennoscandian Iron Age research, this study brings new information about the roles that animal skins and wild animals held in societies, which presumably produced furs for international trade networks. Compared to previous research, the work evidences the legacies of hunting traditions in populations, which have been seen foremost as agrarian.
First, I present the animal skin material identified from Iron Age and medieval burials in Finland and Karelia (Russia). Second, I discuss the preservation of fibers and the identification methods used. Finally, I discuss human-animal relationships and the agency of furs on the basis of the fur finds.
The presentation is based on my PhD thesis Between skins - animal skins in the Iron Age and historical burials in Eastern Fennoscandia (https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/299558).
Additionally, I show some preliminary results of the ongoing research of microfibers from Mesolithic red ochre graves and Viking Age inhumation burials.
Neil, John & Charlotte