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 the Danish National Museum, working from home for a period gave me a flexibility that allowed our family to settle in before I began in the new job. This strategy can be recommended for anyone moving to a research position in another country with two small children and a partner in tow. It takes time and energy for everyone to find their feet in a new everyday life. I was happy to get most of our domestic practicalities solved before getting involved with all the inevitable issues that arise when starting a new project at a new institution in another country.
Settling at AHKR and getting to work
In the project plan, the first month at UiB was reserved for settling in and getting all the logistics solved, which turned out to be a lucky (and foreseeing) move. Starting up at a new institution is more time consuming than you imagine – even when you expect it to be so. March was thus spent setting up Office, solving IT-issues, finding out about my teaching and the training I will complete at UiB, meeting colleagues and research groups, taking courses for new employees etc. I also spent a fair amount of time planning the project in detail and setting up a Career Development Plan. The best part of all this was meeting the other researchers at the Department of Archaeology and the Humans and Materiality Research Group.
Although most time in April was put into setting up this blog and a Facebook page for the project, I finally got to take the first steps for the actual research. I have started with a thorough search campain through bibliographies and the UiB library collections. I hereby realise that I need to begin with writing an overview of “Old Scandinavian personal names for archaeologists”, describing sources, methodologies and key research issues in order to view these from an archaeological perspective. This will both serve to bring my own knowledge up to date and as an introduction to the subject for archaeologists. It seems to be needed, since I have noticed that the very few archaeologists who actually mention personal names in their studies use Research results that are rather old, and often related to Continental Germanic. In fact, Swedish onomast Lena Peterson has made the known personal names of both Proto-Nordic and Viking Age runic inscriptions wonderfully available in her two catalougues: Lexikon över urnordiska personnamn (2004) and Nordiskt runnamnslexikon (2007). These will serve as the basic Source material for my Research. My studies have therefore started with reading everything Lena Peterson has written on the subject.