This chapter presents analyses of place names in western Norway, especially ancient place names linked in some way to an early sailing route along the Norwegian coast. Although the region is home to some of the oldest place names (for islands and fjords and related settlements and features) known in Scandinavia, medieval sources for the names are lacking; the oldest recorded forms are from the 16th and 17th centuries. On the island of Kormt (Kǫrmt) and the adja-cent mainland, we find ancient settlement names primarily in -heim (however, no names in -vin), and prehistoric settlement names in -stad (< -staðir) and -land. Regarding the island names it is notable that the etymons of many of these names are descriptive, signalling hints for orientation or warnings for the people sailing along the coast. Also notable are the absence of place names in the analysed corpus that would indicate cult or sacrality and the lack of obvious central-place elements common elsewhere in Scandinavia where there was prehistoric settlement. The reason for this, we conclude, is that this was a society not based in agriculture, but facing westwards, towards the sea.
|Title of host publication||Avaldsnes A Sea-King’s Manor in First-Millennium Western Scandinavia|
|Subtitle of host publication||Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde - Ergänzungsbände|
|Number of pages||22|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2017|