1 January 2009 New Excavations at the Brough of Deerness: Power and Religion in Viking Age Scotland
James H. Barrett, Adam Slater
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The grass-covered top of the Brough of Deerness, a small sea stack in Orkney, Scotland, holds the remains of a substantial Viking Age settlement and associated chapel. The chapel was excavated by Christopher Morris in the 1970s and discovered to have two phases, one above and one below an Anglo-Saxon coin minted between 959 and 975. New excavations of two buildings from the surrounding settlement aim to illuminate the function of the site, and to inform our understanding of the relationship between power and religion during the Viking Age diaspora. At least one of the buildings was a domestic dwelling, of typical Scandinavian style, abandoned in the 11th to 12th centuries. However, both structures represent only the top of a long stratigraphic sequence, with underlying middens radiocarbon dated to as early as the 6th to 7th centuries A.D. In its latest phases, the site was probably a chiefly stronghold (as previously suggested by Morris) with a symbiotic relationship with surrounding farms. In this preliminary report on new research, several models are tentatively proposed to account for the role of such a settlement within the political economy of late Viking Age Scotland.

James H. Barrett and Adam Slater "New Excavations at the Brough of Deerness: Power and Religion in Viking Age Scotland," Journal of the North Atlantic 2(1), 81-94, (1 January 2009). https://doi.org/10.3721/037.002.0108
Published: 1 January 2009
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