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The Story of the Vikings is the Story of Us

An illuminating conversation with Søren Sindbæk about why the story of the Vikings matters and how we tell that story does too.
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Transcript

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If you know anything about the study of the Viking Age or have listened to our podcast this year, the name Søren Sindbæk will not be foreign to you. A Danish archaeologist and professor at Aarhus University, Søren has been researching and writing about Vikings for many years, particularly about the maritime trade networks and towns that proliferated during the Viking Age. Sure, the Vikings were often farmers, but the urban centers were really where the action was.

Søren is also the project coordinator of the Northern Emporium Project, which since 2017 has been excavating at Ribe, a Viking Age Danish town that was important in the North Sea trading world. The work being done there has proven just how rich the urban experience was in the Viking Age.

In one of our most wide-ranging conversations yet, we discussed why hair combs were the iPhone of the Viking Age, the maritime legacy of the Nordic people, whether C.J.’s salt hypothesis holds any weight, the ethics of archaeology, and how Vikings get interpreted and misinterpreted in the modern era, plus more.

While we meandered around as we tend to do at Vikingology, there was a common thread. In so many ways, the Vikings were simply ordinary people just like us who managed to do some extraordinary things. Though they lived 1,000 years ago, we can still relate to them in many ways.

We hope you enjoy the conversation. We sure did. Mange tak, Søren!

To learn all about the excavations at Ribe and what they reveal about the Vikings, check out the two-volume series edited by Søren (click the book images).

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3 Comments
Vikingology Podcast
Vikingology Podcast
Terri and C.J. are first and foremost educators passionate about the Viking Age and Viking history. Theirs was a meeting foretold in the myths of old. Both are historians of Viking history, both live in Oregon in the U.S., and both share the same birthday. It seemed only natural they team up for something epic. The Norns have woven this fate.
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