The Norse and the Sea: The Maritime Cultural Landscape of Scandinavian Scotland (NaS)

Project Details

Description of project aims

This project will investigate the maritime cultural landscape in Scandinavian Scotland (c. AD 790-1350), through an interdisciplinary approach using archaeological, written and toponymic evidence and address the overarching questions of connectivity and communication in Norse Scotland. The term ‘maritime cultural landscape’ was originally coined by Norwegian archaeologists Christer Westerdahl to denote ‘the unity of remnants of maritime culture on land as well as underwater’. This formed part of his ground-breaking analytical framework developed for the Bothnian/Baltic area and which has been successfully applied in Scandinavia, Germany and the North Atlantic. This concept is virtually unexplored for Scandinavian Scotland, despite being equally applicable to this area. By bringing this innovative research framework combined with archaeological and geophysical fieldwork to Scotland, this project will generate new data on maritime culture and enable important study of this geographic area from a whole new perspective.

The project will build on three main strands of research: existing research on the Norse settlement of Scandinavian Scotland, smaller research initiatives focusing on maritime Scotland, as well as research on maritime cultural landscape from Germany, Scandinavia and the wider North Atlantic.
Effective start/end date1/02/229/05/25


  • Viking
  • Norse
  • Maritime
  • Sailing
  • Navigation
  • landing places
  • harbours
  • Scotland
  • Scandinavia
  • placenames
  • Archaeology
  • Old Norse
  • Gaelic
  • settlement
  • migration
  • culture contact
  • identity


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