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1 October 2009 Graves and Churches of the Norse in the North Atlantic: A Pilot Study
Berit Gjerland, Christian Keller
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Was there a sacred Norse geography in the North Atlantic region during the Viking and Early Middle Ages? In this study, the locations of Late Iron Age pagan Norse graves in West Norway and Iceland are analyzed and compared. The analysis also includes medieval church-sites in these regions, as well as in Norse Greenland. The approach is that of landscape archaeology, and two sets of analyses are used: an attribute analysis where the locations of pagan burials and medieval churches are situated relative to landscape attributes, and a distance analysis where the distances from graves and churches to the original farm cores are analyzed. The results show distinct differences in landscape organization between Norway and Iceland, both concerning pagan burials and church locations. No pagan Norse graves are yet known in Greenland, but the church locations are compared to Norway and Iceland. The church locations in Greenland have features in common with both Iceland and Norway. The political organization and church politics in the three countries are discussed, and the results of the analyses are tentatively associated with historic events.

Berit Gjerland and Christian Keller "Graves and Churches of the Norse in the North Atlantic: A Pilot Study," Journal of the North Atlantic 2(sp2), 161-177, (1 October 2009).
Published: 1 October 2009
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