Mellom De britiske øyer og Midt-Norge: En arkeologisk analyse av insulær kontakt og gjenstandsfunn fra vikingtidsgraver i Trøndelag
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This dissertation is a study of insular contact and artefacts found in Viking age (800 to 1050 AD) burials in Trøndelag in central Norway. Despite of the quantity of material previously recognised, very little research has been done on the subject for this area. An updated review as part of this study, has shown that there are a great many more insular finds in Trøndelag than previously thought. This gives a new basis to review contacts with Britain and Ireland, and to see how these developed over the period. The archaeological evidence indicates that contact between Trøndelag and the British Isles was well established at an early stage during the Viking age. The insular artefacts found in several of the earliest burials dated to around 800 or before, seem to reflect a different form of contact than random, plundered loot. During the 9th century, the amount of insular finds in Trøndelag increases significantly and the majority of the material can be dated to this century. On the basis of the archaeological material, there seem to have been a close relationship between societies in the Trondheimfjord and Norse colonies in the British Isles. The discovery of a Viking woman in northern England, who on the basis of isotopic analysis has been traced to the area around Trondheim, seems to confirm the wider Trøndelag evidence. This extensive contact may also be reflected in the few known cases of burials in stone cists of this date in Trøndelag. During the 10th century there appear to be several significant changes in the network of contact with Britain and Ireland. Around AD 900 there is a considerable decrease of insular finds in several areas which seemed to have a strong link to the British Isles in the previous century. The insular contacts which still exist with the Trondheimfjord area in the 10th century appear to be centralised to the inner part of the fjord. The majority of insular artefacts have been found in women graves. Traditionally such items are often interpreted as exotic and attractive gifts or souvenirs from men returning from overseas expeditions. By analysing the functions of these items and the meaning these objects could have been given in their new setting, this dissertation has emphasised how many objects may be considered as active expressions of the buried women’s social and cultural background and of their role in networks with overseas contacts. This might especially have been the case for those women buried with insular equipment for serving food and drink. These items may have been significant symbols for the buried women’s important role in alliance-building activities within communities and networks with relations to the British Isles.