Fieldwork Report and Post-Excavation Research Design: Bay of Laig, Isle of Eigg, September 2022

Alexandra Sanmark, Sven Kalmring, Dennis Wilken, Erman Lu, Shane McLeod, Andrew Jennings

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

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Abstract

The fieldwork formed part of the research project The Norse and the Sea: The Maritime
Cultural Landscape of Scandinavian Scotland (NaS), funded by the Arts and Humanities
Research Council (AHRC) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, the German
Research Foundation).
This project investigates the maritime cultural landscape in Scandinavian Scotland (c. AD
790-1350), through an interdisciplinary approach using archaeological, written and
toponymic evidence and addresses the overarching questions of connectivity and
communication in Norse Scotland. The term ‘maritime cultural landscape’ was originally
coined by archaeologist 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. Until now, however, 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 is generating new data on maritime culture and thus
enabling important study of this geographic area from a whole new perspective.
The project builds on three main strands of research: existing research on the Norse
settlement of Scandinavian Scotland, smaller research initiatives as case studies focusing on
maritime Scotland, as well as research thoroughly rooted in, and mirrored on, maritime
cultural landscapes from Germany, Scandinavia and the wider North Atlantic.
The research is being carried out through three work packages. The first one encompasses a
PhD project entitled Norse harbours in the west of Scotland for which a number of Norse
landing places in Scotland are being identified and examined through geophysical survey
and targeted excavation. In the second work package The Norse in the North and West of
Scotland: settlements and the sea – the toponymic evidence, a Post-Doctoral Research
Assistant (PDRA) and project partners are examining placenames to provide insight into
maritime travel and harbours in Scandinavian Scotland. Data is also drawn from oral
traditions through study of local folklore and interviews with local people, as such traditions
are still strong in rural Scotland. In the third work package Travel and communication in
Scandinavian Scotland and the wider North Atlantic an overarching view of the maritime
cultural landscape as well as travel and communication is being created through detailed
analysis of Norse archaeological remains and landscape study. All in all, the project aims to
provide a whole new view of maritime Scandinavian Scotland
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2024

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