What’s in a name?

The archaeologists’ view on Iron Age personal names The ArcNames project has given me the rare opportunity to delve deeply into the subject of the oldest Scandinavian personal names. It is a time consuming and difficult sea of information. As I reach its far corners, the wide arrays of themes and issues keep growing. Iron Age personal names touch upon ethnic affiliations, human-animal relations, gender and stereotypes, ideologies and social organisation, religion and mythology. We may not be able to find out or distinguish between different motivations behind name giving. They were probably multiple and I am not sure whether Continue reading What’s in a name?

An anonymous past?

A short introduction to personal names in the Scandinavian Iron Age Part 1: names, qualities and characteristics When we get to know someone, one of the first things we learn about them is usually their name. As an archaeologist, you can get very close to prehistoric people. You excavate the remains of a house, to which the door once opened and closed several times a day, letting people walk in and out and through the rooms. We hold in our hands their personal objects such as tools and ornaments that are worn from long continued use. We even deal with Continue reading An anonymous past?

A name fit for a king

The modern Scandinavian name Erik or Eirik seems to have become a common personal name in the Late Viking Age or Early Medieval period in Scandinavia. We often find it as a name of medieval Swedish, Norwegian and Danish kings. Yet, it also occurs in runic inscriptions and in place names ending in –toft and –torp. The dating of these place name types to the Late Viking Age and Medieval Period indicates that Erik/Eirik was in general use at least from the late Viking Period and onwards. At an earlier stage however, Erik/Eirik was probably not a name at all, Continue reading A name fit for a king

Starting up: moving to Bergen and beginning work at UiB

Practicalities March 1st 2019 was my first day of work on the ArcNames Project at the Department of Archaeology at the University of Bergen and the first three months have all been about getting the project up and running. Ahead of the project start, a lot of footwork had already been put in. Getting a mobility grant puts you in for an exciting adventure, but the logistics can be trying. Our family moved from the hustle-bustle of Nørrebro in Copenhagen to an idyllic housing area outside Bergen in October 2018. Bringing my writing with me from my research position at Continue reading Starting up: moving to Bergen and beginning work at UiB

Welcome to the ArcNames blog

ArcNames. Individuals, social identities and archetypes – the oldest Scandinavian personal names in an archaeological light is a research project led by Dr. Sofie Laurine Albris and hosted at the University of Bergen. On this site you can follow the project activities. The project is an Individual Fellowship funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 797386.