Miðaldastofa Háskóla Íslands

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‘Vikings’ in the (Far) East

The Conceptual Challenges

Fyrirlesari: Neil Price Chair of Archaeology við Uppsala University, Svíþjóð
Dags: 2. febrúar 2023, kl. 16:30 til 17:30
Staðsetning: Lögberg, Stofa 101
Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn. — The talk will be delivered in English. All are welcome to attend. 



Over the past three decades, the academic study of the Viking Age has largely shaken off the illusion of discrete ‘western’ and ‘eastern’ arenas of Scandinavian activity in favour of a fluid diaspora of movement and exchange. In the course of this same period, the Rus’ and their complicated ethnicities have been re-evaluated as an integrated part of a wider European world.

At the same time, we are questioning our terminologies, labels, and ethnic concepts as never before: not just the ‘Vikings’, but also the Rus’ and the Varangians are all being critically deconstructed. However, these revisionist views have largely focussed on Northern interactions with Byzantium; much less attention has been paid to contacts with the Caliphate and beyond.

This situation is changing fast in textual scholarship, but archaeologists have been slower to engage with the Rus’ extended eastern range. There have been preliminary surveys of the excavated record and the Rus’ material repertoire, including Tang silks and objects of Steppe origin in Scandinavian burials. But is it really possible to conduct a genuine archaeology of the Vikings in Western and Central Asia?

This talk explores our options and will try to chart a course for future work.

This talk is part of the research project Víkingar í Austurvegi — Legends of the Eastern Vikings: https://via.hi.is/the-project-and-the-participants/


Neil Price holds the Chair of Archaeology at Uppsala University, Sweden, where he has also been appointed Distinguished Professor by the Swedish Research Council. A specialist on the Viking Age, his research focuses on identity and world-view, mortuary behaviour, and ritual practice, amongst many other fields.

Neil Price

Miðaldastofa Háskóla Íslands

Miðaldastofa er vettvangur við Háskóla Íslands fyrir rannsóknir í miðaldafræðum og fyrir þverfræðilegt samstarf og verkefni sem varða málefni og miðlun miðaldafræða. 

Markmið Miðaldastofu er að leiða saman miðaldafræðinga úr mismunandi fræðigreinum, skipuleggja rannsóknaverkefni og eiga aðild að þeim, standa fyrir ráðstefnum og málstofum, stuðla að samstarfi við stofnanir innan og utan Háskóla Íslands og beita sér fyrir útgáfu fræðilegs efnis um miðaldir.