I’m pleased to announce my 9th and 10th book chapters (10th and 11th outputs) for 2019: a pair of co-authored papers in a fascinating new edited book published by McFarland Press called Vikings and the Vikings: Essays on Television’s History Channel Series. The book has been deftly edited and introduced by Paul Hardwick and Kate Lister. There are 11 further essays exploring the intersections between Vikings and literary, historical and archaeological research on the Viking world. I’m pleased and proud to have had the opportunity to have collaborated on two chapters with eminent colleagues: Dr Alison Klevnäs (Stockholm University) and Dr Alexandra Sanmark (University of Highlands and Islands).
My chapter with Alison explores the TV show Vikings as public mortuary archaeology, considering the various ways by which dialogues with the dead through human remains are portrayed on the show and some of the archaeological bases for these representations. We focus on Seasons 1-4 and some references to Season 5.
Williams, H. and Klevnäs, A. 2019. Dialogues with the dead in Vikings, in P. Hardwick and K. Lister (eds) Vikings and the Vikings: The Norse World(s) of the History Channel Series, Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press. 128−152.
Incorporating my fabulous stick Viking schematics of three scenes of things taking place from the TV show, my chapter with Alexandra considers how Vikings represents open-air and indoor assembly practices and their material and spatial dimensions.
Sanmark, A. and Williams, H. 2019. Things in Vikings, in P. Hardwick and K. Lister (eds) Vikings and the Vikings: The Norse World(s) of the History Channel Series, Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press, 173−200.
Following on from my early 2019 book chapter in the edited collection The Public Archaeology of Death exploring the funerals portrayed in Vikings Seasons 1-4, these are my second and third book chapters evaluating the ceremonial and ritual life of Norse societies as mediated by the fictional television series. While there are inaccuracies and problems with the portrayals, these three chapters together show the benefits and potentials of historical dramas for shedding light on, and communicating to global audiences, the archaeological and historical context of the Viking Age, and its material and built environments in particular. Indeed, Viking-periods dialogues with the dead and public gatherings are represented in striking and varied fashions via this fictional medium than they are on many TV documentaries and web resources! Can it be true that TV fiction is better at tackling the complexity and variability of mortuary and ceremonial practices of the Viking Age than TV fact?