Maritime Societies of the Viking and Medieval World  book cover
1st Edition

Maritime Societies of the Viking and Medieval World

ISBN 9780367267100
Published April 11, 2019 by Routledge
408 Pages

USD $49.95

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Book Description

This book is a study of communities that drew their identity and livelihood from their relationships with water during a pivotal time in the creation of the social, economic and political landscapes of northern Europe. It focuses on the Baltic, North and Irish Seas in the Viking Age (ad 1050–1200), with a few later examples (such as the Scottish Lordship of the Isles) included to help illuminate less well-documented earlier centuries. Individual chapters introduce maritime worlds ranging from the Isle of Man to Gotland — while also touching on the relationships between estate centres, towns, landing places and the sea in the more terrestrially oriented societies that surrounded northern Europe’s main spheres of maritime interaction. It is predominately an archaeological project, but draws no arbitrary lines between the fields of historical archaeology, history and literature. The volume explores the complex relationships between long-range interconnections and distinctive regional identities that are characteristic of maritime societies, seeking to understand communities that were brought into being by their relationships with the sea and who set waves in motion that altered distant shores.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements

List of Contributors

Chapter 1: Maritime Societies and the Transformation of the Viking Age and the Medieval World

Chapter 2: Sails and the Cognitive Roles of Viking Age Ships

Chapter 3: Trade and Trust in the Baltic Sea Area During the Viking Age

Chapter 4: Bound for the Eastern Baltic: Trade and Centres AD 800-1200

Chapter 5: Between East and West: Economy and Society on the Island of Gotland

Chapter 6: Viking Age Bornholm: An Island on the Crossways

Chapter 7: Trading Hubs or Political Centres of Power? Maritime Focial Sites in Early Sweden

Chapter 8: Accessibility and Vulnerability: Maritime Defence and Political Allegiance on the Vikbolander Peninsula, Ostergotland, Sweden

Chapter 9: Dorestad as a Fluviatile Society

Chapter 10: Maritime Environment and Social Identities in Medieval Coastal Flanders: The Management of Water and Environment and its Consequences for the Local Community and Landscape

Chapter 11: The Maritime Cultural Landscape of Early Medieval Northumbria: Small Landing Places and the Emergence of Coastal Urbanism

Chapter 12: Post-Substantivist Production and Trade: Specialized Sites for Trade and Craft Production in Scandinavia AD c.700-1000

Chapter 13: Late Iron Age Boat Rituals and Ritual Boats in Norway

Chapter 14: Bergen AD 1020/30-1170: Between Plans and Reality

Chapter 15: Steatite Vessels and the Viking Diaspora: Migrants, Travellers and Cultural Change in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland

Chapter 16: Status and Identity in Norse Settlements: A Cast Study from Orkney

Chapter 17: The Viking Occupation of the Hebrides: Evidence from the Excavations at Bornais, South Uist

Chapter 18: Disentangling Trade: Combs int he North and Irish Seas in the Long Viking Age

Chapter 19: Dealing with Deer: Norse Responses to Scottish Island Cervids

Chapter 20: 'Warrior Graves'? The Weapon Burial Rite in Viking Age Britain and Ireland

Chapter 21: The Threatening Wave: Norse Poetry and the Scottish Islands

Chapter 22: Sea Kings, Kingdoms and the Tides of Change: Man and the Isles and Medieval European Change, AD c.1100-1265

Chapter 23: The Sea Power of the Western Isles of Scotland in the Late Medieval Period

Chapter 24: Coastal Communities and Diaspora Identities in Viking Afe Ireland


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"The volume is well-presented and sufficiently illustrated with some full color images. The many maps and tables are clear to use and internally consistent. With good production values, the volume is well edited and includes several go-to papers for the subject, mostly for the serious student of the subject and for scholars with university classes in mind. This fine volume is indeed a welcome addition to the scholarship of this exciting era."

- Colleen Batey, University of Glasgow, Scotland in The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, 2016