Ole Nordland (UCL) - 2016-17 Students

Iron making in Viking Age Scandinavia (c. AD 750 – 1000): Political power, knowledge transmission and technological changes

This project aims at investigating the potential relationship between the transmission of technological traditions and political power in Viking Age Scandinavia through the lens of ironmaking. Throughout the 9th century, a political change in Norway is mirrored in a change in iron production technologies. Two politically strong regions with distinct ironmaking traditions adopted the same type of ironmaking at the same time as political unification started. One of the results of the political change was the settlement of Iceland by settlers from south-western Norway – the region from which the political unification spread, but also a region with few known iron production sites. This creates additional challenges to understand the transmission and evolution of iron smelting knowledge. I will try to identify different production methods for iron and try to connect potential changes seen here to socio-economic changes that occurred at the same time. It will incorporate archaeometric analysis of ironmaking remains, general archaeological studies of the period, and, where available, historical sources.

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