Recent developments in archaeological method and theory have thrown new light on many things we thought we understood about the Viking Age. In simple terms: what happened, when it happened, and why it happened. A key driver behind these changes in our knowledge has been the ability to track past movement and connections using more everyday items, rather than the prestigious goods we have focused on in the past (things like weaponry, silver, or jewellery). In this lecture Steve Ashby will detail how the scientific analysis of one of these types of object – the Viking hair comb – has allowed us to re-date the start of the Viking Age, to reconsider how it may have begun, and to re-think long-distance travel and trade throughout the period. The talk will consider recent and ongoing work, taking us from Estonia in the east, to Greenland in the west, via the towns of England, Denmark, and Germany, the mountains of Norway, and the islands of Orkney and Shetland.
Steve Ashby is Reader in Medieval Archaeology at the University of York, and a specialist in the artefacts of Viking Britain and Scandinavia with a particular interest in objects made of bone and antler. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Viking-Age craft and trade in Britain and Scandinavia, most recently Crafts and Social Networks in VikingTowns, co-edited with Søren Sindbæk, for Oxbow Books. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a council member of the Society for Medieval Archaeology, editorial board member of the Royal Archaeological Institute, and Awards Officer for the Finds Research Group. He is founding editor of the new book series ‘Viking Europe’ published by Liverpool University Press, and co-founder of York’s Viking Studies Research Group.
Booking link to watch the livestream coming soon.