Publications Viking/Norse Zooarchaeology

New book to bring Viking studies into 21st century

Professor Ingrid Mainland is one of the authors in a major new publication on Viking and Norse Age Scotland.

Professor Ingrid Mainland is one of the authors in a major new publication on Viking and Norse Age Scotland.

The Viking Age in Scotland cover

The Viking Age in Scotland: Studies in Scottish Scandinavian Archaeology reviews the research that has taken place over the two decades since the last archaeological survey of the Vikings in Scotland was published in 1998.

Advances in scientific analysis have greatly improved our understanding of Scandinavian daily life between the late 8th and 15th centuries, and new discoveries are extending our knowledge of Viking Age and Norse Scotland’s international connections.

The book brings the study of Scottish Scandinavian archaeology into the new century, updating researchers on the latest finds and theories – from arrival and settlement to death and burial, via economy and exchange, power and politics, and environmental impact.

Ingrid’s article, Feasts, Food and Fodder: Viking and Late Norse Farming Systems in Scotland, explores the advances in our understanding of the agricultural economy and role of animals in Viking and Late Norse society in Scotland.

For example, at the Earls Bu, Orphir, Orkney, the estate farm appears to have been the primary resource for the feasting and social activities expected of the upper echelons of society.

UHI Archaeology Institute research into Viking and Norse includes the ongoing excavations at Skaill farm. Rousay. There, the earliest middens excavated so far were found in test pits to the north and south of a Norse hall and early farm (early 11th to mid / late 12th centuries AD). Later middens (c. late 13th to late 14th centuries AD) were found to the east of the hall and farm.

In two locations, middens dating to the 13 – 14th centuries were overlain by later midden horizons dating to the early 14th to early 15th century and mid 15th to mid 17th  centuries AD.

The Viking Age in Scotland: Studies in Scottish Scandinavian Archaeology is released on December 31, 2022, by Edinburgh University Press and can be pre-ordered here. A paperback edition is expected in mid 2024.

Chapter contents

Part I. Arrival of the Vikings and Native-Norse Interactions

  • Landnám and Landscape in Viking Orkney: David Griffiths
  • What Does Landnám Look Like? Excavations at Swandro and Old Scatness: Stephen J. Dockrill and Julie M. Bond
  • The Tarbat Peninsula in Northern Pictland: Portmahomack as a Case Study in Native-Norse Interaction during the 9th to 11th Centuries: Cecily Spall
  • Echoes of Native-Norse Relationships in the Archaeology at St Ninian’s Isle, Shetland: Rachel Barrowman

Part II. Scandinavian Settlement

  • The Use of Space in Norse Houses: Some Observations from the Hebrides: Niall Sharples
  • Hamar and Underhoull, Unst: Settlement in Northernmost Scotland: Julie M. Bond and Stephen J. Dockrill
  • Investigating the Origins of Steatite Vessels across the Viking Diaspora: Amanda K. Forster and Richard E. Jones
  • Machair Bharabhais, Leòdhas: a Scandinavian Settlement in its Context: Mary Macleod Rivett and Trevor Cowie

Part III. Place-names: Interactions with the Landscape

  • Norse Settlement in the Southern Hebrides: the Place-name Evidence from Islay: Alan Macniven
  • Understanding the Norse Period through Place-names Evidence: a Case Study from the Island of Mull: Alasdair C. Whyte
  • The Church and Gaelic-Norse Contact in the Hebrides: Thomas Owen Clancy

Part IV. Environmental Impact and Land Use

  • Isotope Zooarchaeology in Viking Scotland: Previous Research, Possibilities and Future Directions: Jennifer R. Jones
  • Feasts, Food and Fodder: Viking and Late Norse Farming Systems in Scotland: Ingrid Mainland
  • Norse Shielings in Scotland: An Example of Cultural Contact: Ryan Foster

Part V. Power and the Political Landscape

  • Thing-sites and the Political Landscape in the North: Alexandra Sanmark
  • The Brough of Birsay, Orkney: Christopher D. Morris
  • The Earl’s Bu, Orphir, Orkney: Colleen E. Batey
  • Revisiting Tuquoy – Still Full of Surprises: Olwyn Owen
  • The Lewis Hoard of Gaming Pieces – Evoking and Reassembling a Viking Past?: Mark A. Hall and David H. Caldwell

Part VI. Economy and Exchange

  • The Viking-Age Silver and Gold of Scotland: James Graham-Campbell
  • The Galloway Hoard: Martin Goldberg
  • Viking and Norse Bullion Economies in Scandinavian Scotland: Tom Horne
  • Small Finds, Big Questions: Two Decades of Research on Combs in Viking-Age Scotland: Steven P. Ashby

Part VII. Death and Burial

  • The ‘Pagan Norse Graves of Scotland’ Research Project: James Graham-Campbell, Caroline Paterson and Stephen Harrison
  • Swordle Bay, Ardnamurchan: A Viking Boat Burial: Colleen E. Batey
  • Carrick, Mid Ross: A Viking Cemetery on Loch Lomond: Colleen E. Batey