The History of the Viking Congress

The history of the Viking Congress goes back to 1946 when the idea was conceived by Robert Bruce, when he was Area Officer in Aberdeen of the British Council. It was pursued by his successor Mr. A. C. Davis. The working title for the first congress was Scoto-Scandinavian Conference, which was changed to the Viking Congress at the suggestion of Eric Linklater.

The first Viking Congress was held at Lerwick, Shetland as a joint effort by the British Council and the University of Aberdeen.

The Viking Congresses are multinational, interdisciplinary conferences within Viking Age studies. Viking Congresses have been held on a three- to four-year basis since 1950, by turns in Scandinavia and the British Isles. The objective of the conferences is to create a common forum for the most current research and theories within VikingAge studies, and to enhance communication and collaboration between leading scholars within the field, crossing geographical and disciplinary borders. The main disciplines are archaeology, history, numismatics, philology, name-studies and runology. The official language of the conference is English.

Besides the academic emphasis an important part of the conference has always been to introduce the participants to the hosting country and its culture. Therefore, excursions to museums and significant cultural sites have played an important role.


The Organisation of the Viking Congress



The logo of the Viking Congress

...was adopted at the fifth congress in the Faroes. Known in the Faroes as a held (Icelandic: högld), it is a ring made of a locked loop of ram’s horn. It was, and still is, used for a number of purposes, but chiefly as a loop attached to a rope and used when carrying hay.


Publications from the Viking Congresses

Since 1950 the Viking congresses have brought together leading scholars of archaeology, philology, history, toponymy, numismatics and a number of other disciplines to discuss the Viking Age from this interdicipleinary approach. The proceedings from each congress have added important contributions to Viking studies. The proceedings from the 16th Viking congress in Iceland is now available from the University of Iceland Press. The 511 page volume contains a selection of 31 peer-reviewed papers presented at the congress in Iceland 2009.



The information about the Viking Congresses

...has mostly been collected from published Congress Proceedings. For easier comparison the information on every Congress has been placed under the following categories:

  • The Congress number, year and place

  • Congress Photo

  • Date

  • Themes

  • Patron

  • Organising Committee

  • National Representatives

  • Delegates of the Congress

  • Excursions

  • Sponsors

  • Notes

  • Congress Diary

  • Congress Proceedings