SwedenCore Course Week Study Tour | Vikings & Power Program

Required Course(s)
World of the Vikings

On the short Study Tour during Core Course week, we take our newfound knowledge of the Viking Age and examine its continued presence in the Swedish landscape: in burial mounds, runestones, archaeological excavations, reconstructed Viking sites, and town plans.

The exact location of your Core Course week Study Tour will vary by semester: in the fall, we will visit Lund in southern Sweden and in the spring you will travel north from Stockholm to the town of Uppsala. On each tour, you will find historic cities with deep ties to the Viking age, both in the landscape around them and through the archeological research done by local universities.

Uppsala (spring) was home to important kings even before the Viking Age and continued to be a seat of power after the era’s end. Here among the royal grave mounds of Gamla Uppsala and the supposed site of the Old Norse temple described by the medieval historian Adam of Bremen, you will experience what the area may have looked like 1,500 years ago. You will also visit Uppsala University, the oldest university in Scandinavia, founded in 1477, which has combined a mixture of archaeology, runology, and literary studies of Old Norse texts now home to become one of the major research programs in the world dedicated to Vikings.

Lund (fall) is today primarily a college town built around Lund University, founded in 1666 and one of the oldest universities in Scandinavia. But just outside of the city, at Uppåkra, archaeologists have spent the past several decades examining the remains of a hall building where chieftains wielded their power over the region and a cultic temple where the Norse gods were venerated for centuries. We will visit a museum at Lund University which exhibits many of the amazing finds from Uppåkra and what they tell us about the largest and longest-lasting settlement in Viking Age Scandinavia ever found. Then, we will also speak with historians from nearby Malmö University about or modern understanding of the Viking Age, its connection to ideologies of nationalism and race, and the role of the Viking in historical reenactments and cultural heritage story-telling.

Each tour will localize readings from class in the physical world and provide you the ability to draw connections directly from the Viking Age to our modern day.

Tour Objectives

  • Gain insight into the material aspects of the Viking Age and into the archeological research that today provides the most new finds in Viking Studies
  • Deepen knowledge of current research projects and practices in Viking Age studies on academic visits
  • Analyze how current curatorial practices in museums contribute to representing and recreating the Viking Age in the contemporary imagination

Possible Activities

  • Experience the grave mounds and museum at the Vendel Age site Gamla Uppsala, religious center and burial place of kings in the 6th century
  • Visit Uppsala University and the collections of the Museum Gustavianum
  • Travel by boat to the Viking Age trading town Birka, the 8th-century commercial center, nowadays an important archaeological and historical reenactment site
  • Walk the streets of the thousand-year old royal town of Sigtuna, where the Viking Age ended in Sweden and where runestones mixed with ruined Christian churches demonstrate the transformation from Viking to Middle Ages
  • LUND:
  • Experiencing the archaeological site at Uppåkra
  • Visit Lund University and the archeological collections of its historical museum
  • Explore a reconstructed Viking Age farm and fortress at Trelleborg
  • Meet with scholars at Malmö University and attend academic events