BOOK: Architecture, Society, and Ritual in Viking Age Scandinavia

Architecture, Society, and Ritual in Viking Age Scandinavia – published by Cambridge University Press, 2019

My first monograph was published by CUP in February, 2019.

The book has been reviewed in, among others, Antiquity, Medieval Archaeology, Archaeological Review from Cambridge, Norwegian Archaeological Review, Speculum, and Viking.

In this book, Marianne Hem Eriksen explores the social organization of Viking Age Scandinavia through a study of domestic architecture, and in particular, the doorway. A highly charged architectural element, the door is not merely a practical, constructional solution. Doors control access, generate movement, and demark boundaries, yet also serve as potent ritual objects. For this study, Eriksen analyzes and interprets the archaeological data of house remains from Viking Age Norway, which are here synthesized for the first time. Using social approaches to architecture, she demonstrates how the domestic space of the Viking household, which could include masters and slaves, wives and mistresses, children and cattle, was not neutral. Quotidian and ritual interactions with, through, and orchestrated by doorways prove to be central to the production of a social world in the Viking Age. Eriksen’s book challenges the male-dominated focus of research on the Vikings and expands research questions beyond topics of seaborne warriors, trade, and craft.

I have been lucky enough that two eminent scholars in the field have written blurbs for the book:

‘It is a fabulous piece of work, lucid, well documented, imaginative and beautifully organised. It will be of interest to scholars working on other periods or in other parts of the world.’

Richard Bradley – University of Reading

‘Doors can be entries and exits, metaphors, symbols, and more. This fascinating work gives us Vikings as we’ve never seen them – their ideas on death and life, their sense of home, their bodies and behavior, it’s all here. Marianne Hem Eriksen is one of the leading innovators in Viking archaeology today, and this book is the proof.’

Neil Price – University of Uppsala