The project's broad research team will undertake a number of various-size studies.
Iron Processing and Consumption in Borgund
A large share of the artefact finds from the excavations in the Borgund kaupang are slag, metal working tools and objects of iron. The PhD-project is going to focus on the processing and consumption of iron in Borgund: which processes took place and how were products of iron important for the economy of Borgund? The aim is to enhance our understanding of Borgund’s economic basis, and to produce a case study for a wider understanding of socio-economic dynamics of the refinement of Norwegian resources for domestic and international trade.
Gitte Hansen, Archaeology, Professor Dr., University Museum of Bergen, Dep. of Cultural History, University of Bergen, Norway
Randi Barndon, Archaeology, Professor Dr., Dep. of Archaeology, History, Culture studies and Religion (AHKR), University of Bergen, Norway
Bernt Rundberge, Archaeology, Ph.D., Head of Department of Archaeology and Cultural History, NTNU University Museum, Norway
The Consumption and Procurement of Timber and Stone for Buildings and Constructions in Borgund
Large scale production and consumption of marble-stone for churches and timber for houses and infrastructure is witnessed in Borgund. Where did Borgund procure these raw materials? Sourcing the raw materials and studying land ownership to the raw-materials gives new insights into Borgund’s contacts in local networks and helps characterise the place in terms of influential actors. This study implements building archaeological studies, studies of ownership to land through documentary evidence, dendro-provenance on wooden structures and geological identification of relevant local marble sources for the 12th c. stone churches.
Churches in the Landscape. A Study of the Religious Environment of the Borgund Kaupang
The focus will be the religious topography of the ‘failed’ urban settlement of the Borgund Kaupang seen in relation to the larger religious topography both local and within the diocese of Bergen. The religious environment will be studied through material, pictorial and written sources.
Destruction as Creation
Borgund seems to have gone through several re-developments, where great land in-fillings form the basis for new arrangements. This study explores destruction as a means to renegotiate and re-define places with Borgund as a case.
Owners of Property at Borgund and Its Regional Surroundings
In this study literary sources: sagas, taxation documents etc. will be addressed to uncover categories of land owners, and potential influencing families in the district of Borgund. This will serve as contextual information when characterizing the small town.
Making Sense of Decline: Narratives About the End of Cities and Places of Trade
The medieval frames of understanding and narrating the end of communities and cities, such as the Borgund kaupang, as they are represented and disseminated in medieval texts. This will put the archaeological findings from Borgund into context and perspective.
Small Scale Producers of Affordable Crafts
Production waste and tools from working antler, leather and nonferrous metals will be studied and Borgund’s crafts production and consumption of personal accessories involving both domestic and imported raw materials is seen in a North European context.
Townspeople and Visitors
Tools of trade: tally sticks, weights, balances etc. and div. personal accessories: shoes with silk embroideries, combs, keys, walrus ivory gaming pieces and other one-of-a-kind objects will be studied and the methodological challenges of distinguishing between visitors and townspeople as consumers of material culture will be explored.
The Demographic Composition of Townspeople at Borgund
The consumption of gender specific objects (including shoes, i.e. shoe sizes) will be studied to uncover the demographical composition of the population.
Gitte Hansen and Sigrid S. Mygland
Borgund’s Role in National Distribution Networks for the Trade in, and Consumption of Norwegian Hones
Was Borgund a hub in a trade network for Norwegian hones? And what were the hones used for at Borgund? In the Viking Age and Middle Ages, two major types of schist were sought after as raw-material for hones, schist from Eidsborg in south-eastern Norway and schist of a Caledonian type — also this most likely from Norway. The products are well known in northern Europe (Haithabu, Ribe etc.), but how was the distribution and use of these products within Norway? c. 400 hones from Borgund will be classified and the stone identified using archaeological classification methods, ocular geological methods as well as ICP-MS analyses (geochemistry) on targeted specimens.
Archaeological Bird Remains From Norway as a Means to Identify Long-term Patterns in a Northern European Avifauna
Samuel J. Walker will analyse faunal materials (bones of domesticated and wild birds) from Borgund as part of his PhD project
Weaving the Vikings’ Life Insurance
In this study Varafell textiles from Borgund are reconstructed through experimental weaving by trained craftspeople. Varafell-textiles, used as a cloak by seafarers as protection from rain and the cold, are a known export article from Iceland. Norway’s first known examples are identified in the Borgund Kaupang collections. The technological systems and influences behind the Varafell textiles from Borgund will be seen in a North Atlantic context, to uncover economic and cultural networks of the townspeople.
Monika Ravnanger and Marta Kløve Juul
Species Identification of Leather Used in Viking Age Shoes at the Borgund Kaupang
Using microscopy-based methods on hair morphology, animal species are identified in leather used for shoes. Practical properties as well as symbolic connotations of the identified leather types are discussed.
Heidi A. Haugene
The Beacon of Knowledge. The Coastal Defence Organization of Fire Warning Beacons Around the City of Borgund in the Middle Ages
Through written sources from the old sagas and laws we know that some form of signalling with the use of fire warning beacons was organized as early as the Viking period. Along with the Levy this organisation was developed to be an important system for in the medival military coastal defence. These systems was particularly important around towns and in relation to the leidang. Around Borgund there is a network of place names that can resemble this function, and together with the relation to the boathouses at Borgund and the written sources the aim of the study is to better understand the organization of an early coastal defence system.
Arve Eiken Nytun
Playing in Time, Playing With Time. Board Games, Exchange, Identity and Temporalities: Entangled Material Cultures in Medieval Borgund
This element of the Project will seek to explore the evidence of board game practices in Borgund, situating them in a wider European context and assessing their cultural, metaphorical and play significances.
Mark A. Hall
An Investigation into Possible Local Production of Ceramics at Borgund Kaupang
This sub-study aims to examine the long-held notion that there was no pottery production in Norway in the Middle Ages. Selected sherds of roughly-made cooking and/or storage vessels from Borgund will be subjected to XRF-analysis in order to obtain a “fingerprint” of trace elements. The results can then be compared to the fingerprints of samples obtained from local clay sources to determine degree of correspondence