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Title: The Norse in Orkney : an archaeological and social anthropological study of the Norse settlement process and the relationship between the Norse and the Picts
Author: Bäcklund, Jessica Kathrine
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis examines the nature of the Norse settlement in Orkney, concentrating on the relationship between the Picts and the Norse. To reach an understanding of the social and economic context in Viking Age Scandinavia and Orkney, which is considered crucial to the understanding of the Norse settlement, the Icelandic sagas and social anthropology are used together with archaeology. For instance, social anthropological concepts such as 'economic spheres' have been applied to the archaeological material in order to gain an understanding of the economic transactions and social relationships that resulted in a mix of Pictish and Norse artefacts on Norse settlement sites in Orkney. Further, the phenomenon of hoarding and the nature of the Viking and Pictish hoards are examined in order to gain insight into the nature of the economic climate and the different types of transactions that may have taken place between the Norse and the Picts. Three different geographical areas of Orkney, Birsay, Deerness and Burray, are compared and contrasted, and it is argued that the Norse settlement was largely peaceful and in the early stages utilised existing Pictish institutions, such as the land administration. It is argued that to the Vikings that settled in Orkney, and to the Picts they encountered, it was more rational to be friends with their new neighbours, and profit from gift exchange, trade and farming, than to be at war.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available