November 5, 2022 – Neil Price/Viking Age

The Swedish Genealogical Society of Colorado announces two presentations on the Viking Age by Archeologist and Professor Neil Price of Uppsala University in Sweden.

SGSC extended its regular meeting for these presentations and hosted a reception so that attendees could meet Professor Price.

Neil Price is an archaeologist specializing in the study of Viking Age Scandinavia. He is currently a professor in the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala University, Sweden. He was given the new job title of Distinguished Professorship of the Swedish Research Council to carry out this project. (For additional information on Neil Price and the fascinating work he has done over the years on Viking history please see attached document.)

Date: November 5, 2022 / Time: 9:30am MT at Denver’s Bethany Lutheran Church. Refreshments and door prizes for in person attendees only.

Archaeologies of the Ragnarök? A Sixth-Century Climate Disaster & its Viking-Age Legacies

There is now general agreement among geoscientists that in the year 536 CE, and for varying lengths of time thereafter, several parts of the northern hemisphere experienced a prolonged solar darkness. Caused by a layer of stratospheric debris from at least two, and possibly more, major volcanic eruptions occurring in the period 536-540, what is now known as the ‘dust veil’ blocked the sun’s warmth from reaching the earth. Numerous textual sources independently describe what was clearly a cultural disaster of some magnitude, with a range of catastrophic effects including crop failure, famine and civil strife. The impact was especially severe in the marginal environments of Scandinavia, leading to immense loss of life, before society gradually recovered (and took new forms) in the following centuries leading up to the Viking Age. Some scholars, including myself, have suggested that a distant memory of the dust veil lay behind the Norse myth of the Fimbulwinter, the three-year season of unending cold and darkness that marked the beginning of the Ragnarök, the end of the world. Drawing on both archaeology and text, this talk will explore this unprecedented climate disaster as it affected the peoples of late Iron Age Scandinavia. 

A Viking Warrior Woman?

Debating an Excavated Grave from SwedenIn 1878 on the Swedish island of Björkö, archaeologists exploring the Viking-Age town of Birka excavated the spectacular grave of a person interred with two horses and surrounded by weapons. Immediately interpreted as the burial of a high-status warrior, through the twentieth century and on into the twenty-first it would be reproduced in book after book, becoming famous as a kind of ‘ultimate Viking’, an emblem of their notorious martial culture. In 2017, a Swedish research team published startling new genomic analyses of the skeleton, proving that the buried person was in fact female: apparently an actual Viking ‘warrior woman’, like the shield-maidens that feature so prominently in medieval sagas and contemporary TV drama. The discovery quickly went viral around the world, generating intense debate, controversy, and conjecture. The speaker, one of the lead authors on the Swedish papers, will present the find and discuss the varied reactions to their team’s interpretations – a new challenge in the study of the Viking Age.   

This presentation was not recorded and there was no handout. Thanks to all who attended!

Scroll to Top