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AY4013: VIKING ARCHAEOLOGY (2017-2018)

Last modified: 25 May 2018 11:16

Course Overview

In their brief 300-year heyday, the peoples of Viking-Age Scandinavia transformed the northern world, and themselves. This course explores the Vikings at home, abroad, and in their new homes overseas in the developing colonies of the diaspora that stretched from the coasts of North America to the Asian steppe. In lectures and seminars, with hands-on classes looking at the finds, students will consider themes such as settlement and social structure, urbanism and commerce, pagan and Christian religion, and the political process that created the modern nation states of Norway, Sweden and Denmark

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Karen Milek

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 4 or Programme Level 5

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • AY4008 Viking Archaeology (Dl) (Studied)
  • AY5005 Viking Archaeology (Studied)
  • KL4042 Viking Archaeology (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course explores the archaeological evidence for the origins, world-view, development and expansion of Scandinavian culture during the Viking Age, c. AD 750-1100. Students will gain an understanding of a major and catalytic period of European history that laid the foundations for many institutions of the modern Western world. As an introduction to the archaeology of the Viking Age, this course will provide students with:
- an insight into the nature of Viking Age Scandinavian society and culture, including settlement and subsistence patterns, material culture, social structures, issues of identity and ethnicity, and world-views and mentalities from the traditional belief systems of the North to the introduction of Christianity
- an understanding of the political developments in the Viking Age and the transformation from tribal- to state-based societies in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, including the development of urban centres, coinage, and Christian monarchies
- detailed knowledge of the geographical scope of the Viking world, including an understanding of the Viking diaspora and its long-term effects, including the complex patterns of culture contacts and environmental impacts that characterised Scandinavian raiding, warfare, trading, colonisation and settlement activities
- an understanding of how archaeologists combine a range of sources (material, textual and environmental) to achieve a synthetic understanding of a discrete period of history

Associated Costs

Please note that students will be asked to make a nominal contribution towards the cost of the museum trip. 

Further Information & Notes

Please note that students will be asked to make a nominal contribution towards the cost of the museum trip.

This course may NOT be taken as part of a graduating curriculum with AY4008 Viking Archaeology (DISTANCE).

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: One 3,000-word essay chosen from a range of options (50%) and a project presented in the form of an A0 poster representing the backboard of a museum display (50%).

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment is provided for a mock-up of the museum display board, and during the seminars.


Formative assessment on essay subject proposals and the poster is provided using MyAberdeen’s assignment feedback form. Summative feedback is provided on detailed essay and project forms, and some specific notes may be written on the assignments themselves.

Course Learning Outcomes


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