It is with great pleasure that I write to report on the successful delivery of our conference held in Glasgow at the beginning of December. Individual statements of expenditure will be provided to each sponsor, but I provide here an overview of the event which is common to all.

The front page of the programme demonstrates how many sponsors were required to deliver this event, and in all cases, without that support this conference would not have happened.

As can be seen from the attached programme (see below), the scope of papers was extensive, and the delivery intense! In total we had more than 30 individual contributors and 19 presentations on day one and a further 16 on day two. The major sponsorship provided by Historic Environment Scotland enabled so many speakers to be accommodated, with many receiving also travel costs from this support. This was a highly significant award for the conference, fulfilling as it did/does a key element in the Archaeology Strategy Agenda for Scotland. The conference was fully booked at 150 delegates; these included local, national and international representatives with both professional and amateur interests. Within this number, 38 were current students from several universities (for example UHI, York, Aberdeen, Oxford, Kiel, Durham and Nottingham, although predominantly from Glasgow where much of the more recent postgraduate study in the Viking period has focussed). Many of these students were supported in their attendance by grants from the University of Glasgow and particularly from the Scottish Society for Northern Studies.

In addition, our keynote lecture given by Prof Judith Jesch at Govan Old parish church on the evening before the main conference began that had an audience of 181 people and was followed by an excellent reception hosted by the Glenmorangie Whisky distillery in recognition of their current research focus on the Viking collections at the National Museums of Scotland. The funding from the Hunter Archaeological Trust with Glasgow Archaeological Society enabled this to be delivered, and we are most grateful in this for the tremendous assistance and enthusiasm from the Govan Old team, Frazer Capie and his colleagues, for making this work so efficiently. Earlier in the day, more than 60 delegates had been hosted by NMS colleagues Martin Goldberg and Adrian Maldonado and were guided through collections both on and off display, with the additional contributions by James Graham-Campbell and Tom Horne. This was a highlight of the conference for all those who were able to partake of this, especially the opportunity to hear about the choice pieces of Scotland’s Viking culture housed in the national collection from those knowledgeable scholars .

Further assistance from Glasgow City Council in the form of a reception held at the Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove is gratefully acknowledged. The gracious welcome by the Right Hon Lord Provost of Glasgow, Councillor Eva Bolander was much appreciated, and with her Swedish origins to the fore she was most enthusiastic about the event and gave a warm Glasgow welcome to the delegates present. Much wine was offered, much wine was consumed.

The bookings were handled through Eventbrite and many of the costs associated with this crucial administrative tool were covered by the sponsorship of the Viking Society. The organisation was handled by Elizabeth Pierce, Tom Horne and myself, but without the tremendous support of Christelle le Rigueur, University of Glasgow who handled the financial elements, nothing would have happened on time and broadly within budget!!

Our next stage is to contact all speakers with a call for the digital output due within the next few months. This is designed to be a first stop in the on-line hunt for information on the many projects on Scotland’s Viking heritage and will provide updated links to the multi-disciplinary papers published in academic and other sources. A brief summary of the project, location map and images of the site/object etc with the bibliography of all extant sources will be a useful resource to have available for students and all other interested parties. As a tool for site management, display and interpretation, this will be a significant resource. This will be followed by an edited volume which will serve as an update to Vikings in Scotland: An Archaeological Survey (Graham-Campbell and Batey 1998) and will be the first such multi-disciplinary and up-to-date volume written by the people undertaking the cutting-edge work on Scotland’s Viking past. It is anticipated that this volume will be available in about two years’ time.


Thank you for all your interest and support,

Dr Colleen Batey on behalf of the organising committee





Day One – Wednesday 5th December

Field Trip: National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
Viewings of Viking-Age material culture, hosted by Martin Goldberg of National Museums Scotland, with James Graham-Campbell (UCL) and Tom Horne.
Location: The National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh.

KEYNOTE: The Govan Stones, Glasgow
Language, Texts and Diaspora in Scandinavian Scotland
Judith Jesch, University of Nottingham
Location: The Govan Stones, Govan Old Church, 866 Govan Road, Glasgow
Time: 18:00 doors for 18:30 start

Glenmorangie Reception: Govan Stones, Glasgow
Introduction to Glenmorangie Research Project
Adrián Maldonado, Glenmorangie Research Fellow
Location: The Govan Stones
Time: after conclusion of Keynote


Day Two – Thursday 6th December

Short presentations providing updates on newer work: Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
Welcome: 09:00-09:20
1998-2018: Old and New Work in Viking Scotland: Colleen E. Batey (University of Glasgow) & James Graham-Campbell (University College London)

First Contacts | Native-Norse Interactions: 09:20-10:20 | Chair: Colleen Batey
What does Landnám look like? Excavations at Swandro and Old Scatness: Julie Bond and Steve Dockrill (University of Bradford)
Tracing Native/Norse relationships in the archaeology at St Ninian's Isle, Shetland: Rachel Barrowman (University of Glasgow)
Post-Pictish Portmahomack, activity on Tarbatness during the 9th to 11th centuries: Cecily Spall (FAS Heritage)

Settlement I: 10:20-11:20
Machair Bharabhais, Leòdhas: a Scandinavian settlement in its context: Mary Macleod Rivett (Historic Environment Scotland)
Making a Living: Quoygrew and the Brough of Deerness: James H. Barrett (University of Cambridge)
Hamar and Underhoull, Unst; settlement in northernmost Scotland: Julie Bond (University of Bradford)

BREAK: 11:20-11:40

Settlement II: 11:40-13:00 | Chair: Alexandra Sanmark
Landnám and Landscape at the Bay of Skaill, Orkney: David Griffiths (University of Oxford)
Spatial organisation in the Norse houses at Bornais: Niall Sharples (Cardiff University)
Norse Settlement in the Southern Hebrides: The Place-Name Evidence from Islay: Alan Macniven (University of Edinburgh)
Norse Shielings in Scotland: Cultural Contact and Acculturation in the Viking Age: Ryan Foster (University of Edinburgh)

LUNCH: 13:00-14:00

Power & Administration Centres: 14:00-15:00
Reflecting on 20 years of research at Govan: Stephen Driscoll (University of Glasgow)
The Earl's Bu, Orphir: a Norse economic hub and more: Colleen E. Batey (University of Glasgow)
Revisiting Tuquoy: Still full of surprises after all these years: Olwyn Owen (University of the Highlands and Islands)

Death and Burial: 15:00-15:40 | Chair: James Graham-Campbell
The Carrick and Swordle Bay, Ardnamurchan: adding to the Viking pagan graves of Scotland: Colleen E. Batey (University of Glasgow)
New Graves & New Readings - A Case Study from the Isles: Stephen Harrison (University of Glasgow)

BREAK: 15:40-16:00

Economy, Trade & Exchange: 16:00-17:00
The Galloway Hoard: Martin Goldberg (National Museums Scotland)
From homeland to home; using soapstone to map migration and settlement in the North Atlantic: Amanda Forster (Dig Ventures) and Richard Jones (University of Glasgow)
Shetland Steatite - landscapes of exploitation: Juha Marttila (Independent Scholar)

Civic Reception at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Civic Reception courtesy of The Rt Hon The Lord Provost of Glasgow Councillor Eva Bolander.
Time: 17:30, Thursday 6th December
Location: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, opposite Kelvin Hall, Argyle Street.
We are delighted that 'Vikings in Scotland: 20 Years On' will be honoured with a Civic Reception at the beautiful Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
Entry to the Civic Reception is by Conference Badge only. Drinks will be served.


Day Three – Friday 7th December

Overarching Themes in Viking-Age Scotland: Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
Introduction: 09:00-09:05, Colleen E. Batey (University of Glasgow)
Death and Burial: 9:05-10:15 | Chair: Judith Jesch
The Pagan Norse Graves of Scotland Project: James Graham-Campbell (University College London) | The Swords: Caroline Paterson (University of Glasgow)
Memory, migration, and identity: Evidence from the graves of Scandinavian Scotland: Erin McGuire (University of Victoria)
A review of isotope studies from Viking burials in Scotland - limitations and possibilities: Janet Montgomery (University of Durham)

Power and Administration: 10:15-11:20
Gaelic Norse contact in the Hebrides: Thomas Clancy (University of Glasgow)
Inner Hebridean Things: Alasdair Whyte (University of Glasgow)
Thing sites and the Political Landscape in the North: Alexandra Sanmark (University of the Highlands and Islands)

BREAK: 11:20-11:40

Environment, Land Use, and Settlement: 11:40-12:45 | Chair: Colleen Batey
Feasts, food and fodder: Viking age farming systems in Orkney: Ingrid Mainland (University of the Highlands and Islands)
The milkmaid's tale? Mammals in the Viking Economy: Julie Bond (University of Bradford)
Norse Animal management in the Scottish Islands: Insights from stable isotope analysis: Jennifer Jones (University of Aberdeen)

LUNCH: 12:45-13:40

Trade, Exchange, and Economy I: 13:40-15:30 | Chair: Olwyn Owen
In cod we trust: fishing activity and industry in Viking Scotland: Jen Harland (University of the Highlands and Islands)
Combs, Contact and Chronology: New Research, New Techniques, New Possibilities: Steve Ashby (University of York)
The Medieval Walrus Ivory Trade: The Context of the Lewis Chessmen: James H. Barrett (University of Cambridge), Bastiaan Star (Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, University of Oslo), Sanne Boessenkool (Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, University of Oslo)
The Lewis Hoard of Gaming Pieces - evoking and reassembling a Viking Past? Mark Hall (Perth Museum & Art Gallery)

BREAK: 15:30-16:00

Trade, Exchange, and Economy II: 16:00-16:50
The Viking-Age Hoards of Scotland: 23 Years On! James Graham-Campbell (University College London)
Weighing it up: the Viking-Age and Norse bullion economy in Scandinavian Scotland: Tom Horne (Independent Scholar)
Closing Remarks: 16:50-17:00