Following my 50th blog-post reflecting on the mortuary practices and funerary monuments represented in the TV show Vikings, today I delivered a lunchtime lecture to the Funerary Archaeology Research Group at the Department of Archaeology, University of York. Thanks to Dr Penny Bickle for the generous invitation to speak.
This is an update of a talk I gave in February 2020 at the Institute of Historical Research this time last year at the invitation of Dr Simon Trafford. I argued that the show is an unparalleled opportunity for reflecting on and transforming popular perceptions of Viking death rituals, and attitudes towards mortality more broadly both past and present. The show draws on early medieval archaeology and written sources, later medieval sources, and Victorian to present-day literary, filmic and televisual tropes in representing a complex and varied vision of Viking-period death ways.
By way of context, I took the opportunity to promote my recent edited collection (with Pauline Clarke) titled Digging into the Dark Ages which explores the public archaeology of the Early Middle Ages.
I have a few more blog-posts to write, perhaps 2 or 3, and then I will stop writing about the TV show.
Also, while I’ve published an article on the funerals in seasons 1-4 in The Public Archaeology of Death, and co-authored chapters on the assembly places and practices and the human remains in the show in the book Vikings and the Vikings.
I do, however, plan to write a concluding academic research paper on the funerals in seasons 5 and 6 not covered in my previous publications. Ideas for potential venues for this article are gratefully received!