14. Viking Congress 2001 – Faroe Islands


19th – 30th July.


Viking and Norse in the North Atlantic.


Anfinn Kallsberg, løgmaður.

Organising Committee:

Arne Thorsteinsson, Símun V. Arge, Jóhan Hendrik Winther Poulsen.


Student Assistant: Maiken Poulsen.

National Representatives:

Denmark: Else Roesdahl, Niels Lund.

England: Richard Hall, Judith Jesch.

Faroe Islands: Arne Thorsteinsson, Andras Mortensen.

Iceland: Guðmundur Ólafsson, Svavar Sigmundsson.

Ireland: Donnchadh Ó Corráin, John Sheehan.

Scotland: Christopher Morris, Doreen Waugh.

Sweden: Anne-Sofie Gräslund, Helmer Gustavson.

Delegates of the Congress:


Svend Erik Albrethsen, Jan Bill, Trine Buhl, Gillian Fellows-Jensen, Peder Gammeltoft, Steffen Stummann Hansen, Pernille Hermann, Jørgen Højgaard Jørgensen, Niels & Jette Lund, Ditlev Mahler, Michael Lerche Nielsen, Anne Pedersen, Else Roesdahl, Marie & Bjarne Stoklund.


Lesley Abrams, Michael & Kirsten Barnes, James Barrett, Mark Blackburn, Paul Buckland, Jayne Carroll, Peter Foote, James Graham-Campbell, Richard Hall, Judith Jesch, John S. McKinnell, Richard North, Julian Richards, Andrew Wawn.

Faroe Islands

Símun V. Arge, Joannes Dalsgaard, Kirstin Eliasen, Kári Jespersen, Jóan Pauli Joensen, Anna Katrin Matras, Helgi Michelsen, Andras Mortensen, Lena Nolsøe, Jóhan Hendrik Winther Poulsen, Jógvan Ravnsfjall, Arne Thorsteinsson, Eivind Weihe.


Torsten Edgren.


Svavar Sigmundsson & Þorgerður Árnadóttir, Anton Holt, Guðmundur Ólafsson, Gísli Sigurðsson, Þórgunnur Snædal, Guðrún Sveinbjarnardóttir, Sigríður Þorvaldsdóttir & Sverrir Tómasson.


Howard B. Clarke, Stephen Harrison, Donnchadh Ó Corráin, John Sheehan.


James Knirk & Kari Egeland, Signe Horn Fuglesang, Knut Helle, Sigrid Kaland, Claus Krag, Else Mundal, Ingvild Øye, Heid Gjøstein Resi, Birgit Sawyer & Peter Sawyer, Dagfinn Skre, Gro Steinsland & Ragnar Søderlind.


Colleen Batey, Olwyn Owen & Nigel Beal, Barbara Crawford, Ian Fisher, Andrew Jennings, Arne Kruse, Susan Kruse, Mary MacLeod, Christopher Morris, Brian Smith, Val Turner, Doreen Waugh & William Waugh.


Stefan Brink, Anne-Sofie Gräslund, Helmer Gustavson, Birgitta Hårdh, Ingmar Jansson, Kenneth Jonsson, Thomas Lindkvist, Lena Peterson, Neil Price & Linda Qviström, Henrik Williams.


A half-day excursion went to Northern Streymoy with visits to the Viking farmhouse in Kvívík, the church in Hvalvík, the village of Saksun, and to Tjørnuvík, where the islands' first Viking burial ground was discovered in 1956. Another half-day excursion was made to Kirkjubøur on Streymoy, the episcopal residence and cultural centre of the islands in medieval times.

The Post-congress excursions went to Sandoy, Skúvoy and to Eysturoy.


Føroya Sparikassi, Letterstedtska Föreningen, Mentamálaráðið, Atlantic Airways, Fóm Ísur, Føroya Banki, Føroya Bjór, Føroya Handilsskúli, Norðurlandahúsið, Restorffs Bryggjarí, Strandferðslan, Tekniski Skúli and the staff of Skúlaheimið.


Congress Diary:

As decided at the 13th Viking Congress in Nottingham, the 14th Viking Congress was held in the Faroes in 2001. Most of the members arrived in Tórshavn on the 19th of July, and the congress could begin the next morning.


On behalf of the Patron of the Congress, Anfinn Kallsberg, Prime Minister of the Faroes, the 14th Viking Congress was opened in Tórshavn on the 20th of July 2001 by Deputy Prime Minister Høgni Hoydal. It was a bright summers day with a blue sky and sunshine, and the 98 members, associates and companions were lucky to enjoy the same fine weather during the whole congress.


The main theme of the 14th Viking Congress was "Viking and Norse in the North Atlantic", and nearly 70 papers had been announced from all disciplines of study of the Viking Age. The great interest unfortunately made it necessary to read papers in two simultaneous sessions, and 3 full and 3 half days were spent giving lectures followed by fruitful discussions. Most of the papers are printed in this volume, which certainly is going to throw new light on the Viking and later Norse age in the North Atlantic, especially in the Faroes.


The congress lectures were given in The Faroese Commercial School, but one evening a public lecture was arranged in the Nordic House in Tórshavn. Professor Knut Helle had been asked to give a public lecture on the position of the Faroes and the other scat lands in the medieval Norwegian dominion, a topic which has great public interest these days, and the lecture was attended by a large public audience.


All meals were taken at Skúlaheimið of the Technical School, where the members of the congress also had the opportunity to socialise in the evenings. Receptions were given by Óli Holm, Minister of Culture, and by Føroya Fornminnissavn, which offered a taste of a wide range of traditional Faroese specialities. The main social event, however, was the congress dinner at Skúlaheimið, where the members got the opportunity to taste one of the greatest Faroese dishes, puffins stuffed with cake dough and raisins, and nearly all did. Faroese chain dancing was of course part of the evening.


During the main congress, excursions were made to places and sites of cultural historical and archaeological interest. The first half-day excursion was to Northern Streymoy with visits to the Viking farmhouse in Kvívík, the church in Hvalvík, the village of Saksun, and to Tjørnuvík, where the islands' first Viking burial ground was discovered in 1956. Another half-day excursion took us to Kirkjubøur on Streymoy, the episcopal residence and cultural centre of the islands in medieval times. The most famous monument on this site is the remains of the cathedral dedicated to St Magnus - an outstanding Gothic monument in the middle of the North Atlantic.


The main congress ended on the 25th of July and the next day some members left for home, while many stayed on to take part in the post-congress excursions. On July 26 we went to Sandoy and Skúvoy and on July 27 to Eysturoy. On Skúvoy the members paid a visit to Ólansgarður, where Sigmundur Brestisson, who christianized the Faroes, according to Færeyinga saga and local tradition, built the first church of the islands, at which he was buried. On Sandoy we visited the historical villages of Húsavík and Sandur. In Húsavík we were informed about the wealthy and famous Húsfrúgvin í Húsavík and presented to the remains of her large farm buildings. Continuing investigations during the last 35 years and the complexity of the archaeological records have made the village of Sandur one of the islands key archaeological sites, which have shown potential for multi-disciplinary archaeological and environmental research.


The full-day excursion to Eysturoy took us to Eiði, where archaeological excavations in the 1970s revealed Viking and medieval settlement remains and in the 1980s an early shieling site at Argisbrekka by the lake of Eiðisvatn. From there we drove to Leirvik to visit the Viking farm at Toftanes, excavated between 1982-87, and other interesting sites in this village, i.a. the well preserved ruin of a medieval chapel, Bønhústoft, apparently demolished during the Reformation.


It had been arranged that those who wished might stay on for the St. Olaf's Festival, and a lot of the members took this opportunity and did not leave the Faroes until July 30 or 31. The weather stayed very fine all the time, and it was our impression that the members were very satisfied with the whole arrangement. And the organizers want to express their gratitude to those members who afterwards sent us so many positive letters.


The success of the congress was due to the efforts of many people and institutions. The organizers want to thank Føroya Sparikassi, Letterstedtska Föreningen, and Mentamálaráðið for their generous financial support. We want to thank Atlantic Airways, Fóm Ísur, Føroya Banki, Føroya Bjór, Føroya Handilsskúli, Norðurlandahúsið, Restorffs Bryggjarí, Strandferðslan, and Tekniski Skúli for their generosity and cooperation. And at last we especially want to thank the staff of Skúlaheimið for their hospitality, and the friendly readiness all our wishes were met with.


Arne Thorsteinsson and Símun V. Arge, the Organising Committee.

Congress Proceedings:

Viking and Norse in the North Atlantic. Select Papers from the Proceedings of the Fourteenth Viking Congress, Tórshavn, 19-30 July 2001. Ed. Andras Mortensen and Símun V. Arge. Annales Societatis Scientiarum Færoensis Supplementum XLIV. Tórshavn 2005.


Foreword 9
Chapter 1

Knut Helle The position of the Faeroes and other 'tributary

lands' in the medieval Norwegian dominion



Chapter 2

Símun V. Arge Cultural Landscapes and Cultural

Environmental issues in the Faroes



Chapter 3 Arne Thorsteinsson "There is another set of small islands"  39
Chapter 4

Else Mundal Færeyinga saga - a Fine Piece of Literature

in Pieces 



Chapter 5 Andrew Wawn Færeyinga saga: Victorian Visions and Versions 52
Chapter 6 Richard North Money and religion in Færeyinga saga 60
Chapter 7

Gro Steinsland The Mythology of Rulership and the Saga

of the Faroe Islanders



Chapter 8

 Andras Mortensen One Facet of the Tendency in

Færeyinga Saga



Chapter 9

Ditlev L. Dall Mahler & Arne Jouttijärvi Experiments with

peat charcoal and iron production in the Faeroe Islands



Chapter 10

Anna Katrin Matras The Viking Settlement „Niðri á Toft",

Kvívík, Faroe Islands- a reanalysis



Chapter 11 Marie Stoklund Faroese Runic Inscriptions 109
Chapter 12

James Graham-Campbell, University College London The

Viking-Age Gold and Silver of the North Atlantic Region



Chapter 13 Mark Blackburn Coinage and Contacts in the North Atlantic during the Seventh to Mid-Tenth Centuries



Chapter 14

Gillian Fellows-Jensen Some new thoughts on personal

names in the Viking colonies



Chapter 15 Ian Fisher Cross-currents in North Atlantic Sculpture 160
Chapter 16

Paul C. Buckland, Eva Panagiotakopulu Archaeology and

the Palaeoecology of the Norse Atlantic Islands: a Review



Chapter 17

Else Roesdahl Walrus ivory - demand, supply, workshops,

and Greenland



Chapter 18

Þórgunnur Snædal Between Rök and Skagafjörður -

Icelandic runes and their connection with the Scandinavian

runes of the Viking period





Guðmundur Ólafsson New Evidence for the Dating of

Iceland's Settlement. A Viking-age discovery in the

cave Víðgelmir




Chapter 20

Guðrún Sveinbjarnardóttir The use of geothermal resources

at Reykholt in Borgarfjörður in the medieval period



Chapter 21 Anton Holt Gaulverjabæjarsjóðurinn 217
Chapter 22

Svavar Sigmundsson Icelandic place-names in North Atlantic




Chapter 23

Steffen Stummann HansenTHE POMPEJI OF ICELAND

and a small Scandinavian congress of archaeologists, who

were digging instead of eating dinners




Chapter 24

Val Turner, Steve Dockeril, Julie BondViking Settlement

in an IronAge Village: Old Scatness, Shetland



Chapter 25

Doreen Waugh From Hermaness to Dunrossness: some

Shetland ness-names 250 Chapter 26 Peder Gammeltoft

'Look now, stranger, at this island'. A brief survey of the

island-names of Shetland and Orkney





Chapter 27

James H. Barrett Economic Intensification in Viking Age

and Medieval Orkney, Scotland: Excavations at Quoygrew



Chapter 28

Andrew Jennings and Arne KruseAn Ethnic Enigma – Norse,

Pict and Gael in the Western Isles



Chapter 29 Olwyn Owen Scotland's Viking 'towns': a contradiction in terms? 297
Chapter 30

Lesley Abrams Scandinavian Place-Names and Settlement-

History: Flegg, Norfolk, and East Anglia in the Viking Age



Chapter 31

John SheehanViking-age hoards in Scotland and Ireland:

regional diversities



Chapter 32

Stephen H. Harrison College Green - A Neglected 'Viking'

Cemetery at Dublin



Chapter 33 Henrik Williams Name borrowing among the Vikings 340
Chapter 34

Jan BillKiloran bay revisited – confirmation of a doubtful




Chapter 35

Ingvild Øye Farming and farming systems in Norse societies

of the North Atlantic



Chapter 36

Lena Peterson Research report: Dictionary of proper names

in Scandinavian Viking Age runic inscriptions



Chapter 37

Neil Price Cognition, Culture and Context: Observations

on the 'New' Viking Archaeology      



Chapter 38 Birgitta Hårdh Uppåkra in the Viking Age 383
Chapter 39 Torsten Edgren Kyrksundet in Hitis, SW Finland. A Viking Age resting place and tradingpost on the sailing route to the East



Chapter 40

Anne Pedersen The Metal Detector and the Viking Age

in Denmark



Chapter 41

Anne-Sofie Gräslund The watchful dragon. Aspects

of the Conversion of Scandinavia



Chapter 42 Niels Lund Frisia - a Viking nest? 422
Chapter 43 Jayne Carroll Narrative and direct address in skaldic verse 427
Chapter 44

Howard B. Clarke 'Go then South to Dublin; that is now

the Most Praiseworthy Voyage.' What would Brynjólfr's Son

have found there?