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Archaeology and the Sea in Scandinavia and Britain – Edinburgh

March 11, 2008

The Rhind Lectures

presented by Professor Ole Crumlin-Pedersen of  The Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde, Denmark 

Friday 25 to Sunday 27 April 2008

in Lecture Theatres 183 and 175, University of Edinburgh, Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh EH8 9YL

Tickets are free and the lectures are open to all

This series of RHIND LECTURES will examine maritime aspects of prehistoric and medieval societies in Northern and Northwestern Europe. Since the 1962 excavation of the 11th-century Skuldelev Viking ships and their subsequent restoration and display in the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, a considerable number of Iron-Age and medieval vessels, as well as maritime-oriented coastal sites, have been excavated and analysed in their contexts, primarily in Denmark. These studies have resulted in new insights into boatbuilding traditions from the early Iron Age into the High Middle Ages; as an archaeological resource each ship or boat may be seen as a multi-facetted reflection of the society for which it was constructed. At the same time, new light has been shed on the role played by ships in communication and trade in Scandinavia and Britain with their long coastlines and numerous isles. Here settlement, internal communication, fishing, trade, and warfare were all dependent upon the seamanship and maritime technology available. In Scandinavia, the ship also played a role as a religious symbol during the pre-Christian period. This resulted in boats and ships being deposited in graves, as well as depicted on numerous stones, rocks, and other objects. Recent studies indicate that these features symbolise the Vanir fertility cult, rather than a vehicle meant to bring the deceased to Valhalla.

Fri 25 April at 6pm: Studying the Archaeology of Maritime Cultures
Sat 26 April at 11am: Boats and Ships before AD 800
Sat 26 April at 2pm: Anglo-Saxon and Viking Longships
Sat 26 April at 3pm: Viking and Medieval Traders
Sun 27 April at 2pm: The Maritime Cultural Landscape
Sun 27 April at 3pm: The Ship as Symbol

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