MODULE DESCRIPTION 2017-2018


SPRING SEMESTER 20 CREDITS



AAP236 THE AGE OF THE VIKINGS



CO-ORDINATOR: DAWN HADLEY
OTHER TUTORS: LIZZY CRAIG-ATKINS


MODULE OUTLINE

This module explores the archaeology and history of Scandinavia and the areas of Scandinavian colonisation between c.AD700 and 1100. It begins by examining the settlements, society, economy, belief systems and political structures of Scandinavian societies, and moves on to concentrate on those regions in which Scandinavians raided, traded and settled from the later eighth century - including England, Ireland, Scotland and the Isles, the Isle of Man, the North Atlantic and continental Europe (including Russia, France and the Low Countries). The key themes are ethnicity and cultural identity, the transformation of economic systems, the nature of belief systems, the impact of Christianity, the variability of gender identities and the construction of the past in the present. The challenges and benefits of combining diverse sources of evidence is an explicit focus of the module.


BROAD ACADEMIC AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIT

This unit aims to introduce students to:
• the wide array of evidence for Scandinavian society during the Viking Age
• the impact of the Scandinavians on those parts of Europe and the North Atlantic that they raided and settled between c.800 and 1100
• the diversity of discipline-specific debates about the Age of the Vikings
• introduce students to the competing historiographical traditions in the various regions in which Scandinavians raided and settled


MEASUREABLE LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate:
• have an advanced knowledge of the diverse sources of evidence for the Viking Age in Scandinavia
• have an advanced knowledge of the diverse sources of evidence for the Scandinavian impact on Europe and the North Atlantic
• have a capacity to integrate diverse sources of evidence and to assess the merits of this evidence
• have an advanced knowledge of competing historiographical traditions and an understanding of their impact on interpretations of the Viking Age understand the central importance of considering archaeological formation processes in data sampling, analysis and interpretation


PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT SKILLS ACQUIRED

Ability to evaluate critically a diverse array of evidence – written, archaeological, material culture, scientific – about the Viking Age, and to articulate understanding in seminar discussions.


STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND INDEPENDENT STUDY

Type Hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 11
Independent/Group Study (including preparation for assessments) 178


ASSESSMENT

Method % of marks Length / words
Mid Term 20% 1000
End of Term 40% 2000
Examination 40% 1.5 hrs


EXAMPLE LECTURE/SEMINAR TITLES

  • Viking-Age Scandinavia: introduction to the historical and archaeological evidence
  • Introduction to the variety of Viking Age burial practices
  • In the land of gods and monsters: pagan beliefs in Viking-Age Scandinavia
  • Passing into Poetry: Ibn Fadlan and the interpretation of Viking funerary practice
  • Urban development: Birka, Ribe, Hedeby and Kaupang
  • Picture stones, rune stones and Viking-Age society
  • Conversion to Christianity: Harald Bluetooth, Jelling and monumental display
  • Causes of the Viking Age
  • The Vikings in England: reconciling the archaeological, historical and linguistic evidence
  • Raiders and traders: the archaeology of the winter camps in England
  • The Vikings in the Isle of Man and Wales: burials, hoards and stable isotopes
  • Sculptural evidence and the Vikings on the Isle of Man
  • The Vikings in Scotland: islands overwhelmed
  • Scandinavian settlement in Scotland: the scientific evidence
  • The Vikings in Ireland: an urban phenomenon?
  • Weapons and oval brooches: fragmentary remains of the Vikings in Ireland
  • The Vikings in the North Atlantic (Iceland, Greenland and North America): pioneers in new lands
  • Environmental archaeology and new insights into the North Atlantic in the Viking Age
  • The Vikings on the continent (Russia, the Low Countries and France)