Textile resources in Viking Age landscapes (TriVaL)

The overarching project aim is to contribute to the understanding of the great need for textiles resources and its impact on the use of the Danish landscapes and influences on settlement structure with case studies around Limfjorden and Southwest Zealand. Furthermore, to integrate the results and make them visible and accessible to the study of socio-political structures.

This is the first time, the results of landscape analysis of textile resources, combined with textile tools and contexts investigations, are included in interpretation of the variation, organization and impact of textile production in Viking Age Society.


The end of the Late Iron Age and Viking Age (AD 550-1050) was a period of transition and change, characterized by overseas trade, warfare, and colonization, where the socio-political development supported the formation of centralized kingdoms within the Scandinavian homelands (e.g. Hedenstierna-Jonson 2009). This is also a period in which textile production gets a deeper impact on society, clearly indicating a new consumption of sails that supported long distance travels as well as a new fascination and use of luxury clothing (Andersson 2003a, Andersson Strand 2016, 2021; Bender Jørgensen 1986; Mannering 2017). 

The introduction of the sail in the 7th century was without a doubt one of the most important and innovative technological developments of the period, (Kastholm 2014, in prep; Ravn et al. 2016) and allowed the Scandinavian communities to travel long distances over the open sea, in order to engage more efficiently in trade and raiding, and to explore new lands. The project hypothesis is that the use of sailcloth and changes in textile production demanded physical labor as well as a large supply of raw material, which would result in an increase in land use for sheep grazing and large-scale cultivation of textile crops as well as changes in settlement structures.


This project will combine landscape analysis of textile resources with analysis of textiles, textile tools, and contexts investigations to determine the variation, organization and impact of textile production on the known Viking Age landscape. The project will demonstrate how textile research can be used to get a greater and more diverse understanding of the Viking Age Society and its actors. It will answer the research questions 1) How an increasing demand for textile raw materials affected the landscapes and settlements 2) How an increasing consumption of textiles affected the production of textiles as well as the organization of said production and 3) Whether only local raw materials were used or supplemented by an import of raw materials and/or textiles.

Objective one is to create an overarching framework and methodology that directly integrates the importance of textiles and textile resources in current debates on Viking Age economy, power and politics.

Objective two is to make the results of textile research on Viking Age materials and contexts accessible to the study of settlements and landscapes, at both local, regional and inter-regional levels.



To fulfil the overarching aim and objectives, an investigation of a few selected regions/landscapes, settlements, tools and textiles will be undertaken. In order to identify a possible increasing demand for textile resources the starting point will be the beginning of the Late Iron Age from c. 600 AD on to 1050. Two different types of landscapes are selected, East Zealand and the area around Limfjorden, Jutland. The landscapes represent central and important regions in Viking Age Denmark. They are well studied with numerous settlement and burial structures, finds of textiles and textiles tools (e.g. Bender Jørgensen 1986; Ulriksen 1998, 2018; Kastholm 2013; Sarauw 2019). The sites, with excellent contexts and large find materials, are carefully selected. In order to investigate if the textile production on the settlements represent different organization modes, various types of settlements are chosen (please see map above and statements of collaboration).

The landscape and settlement studies as well as the registration of tools and textiles will be accomplished in close collaboration with the different museums and the National Museum of Denmark. The project members will collect and record archaeological, osteological, geological, and geographical data in the field and at the museums, and further process the data at CTR and relevant institutes. At CTR we have facilities for different types of textile and tool analyses in our new TexLab, supported by the Danish Roadmap for Research Infrastructure project E-RIHS.dk. All material will be recorded in a database, designed for the project and mapped in a geographical information system (GIS). Furthermore, we will merge theoretical perspectives from science and humanities. We will use natural science as seen as objective, quantifying, descriptive, and fact aiming to discovery, explanation, and solutions to get new perspectives on cultivation, sheep management, types of textiles and tools etc. but with an important humanities perspective with clear subjective, interpretative, speculative, politicizing, aesthetic approaches aiming at an understanding of the influences of textiles and textile productions and its impact on Viking Age Society (Sørensen 2017).

All the collected research data will be curated and preserved by the individual participants at UCPH and shared with the museums during the project. At the end of the project all data will be made open access.

The project will attain synergy at different levels resting on three work packages (WPs), each structured to be shared and take advantage of the research-taking place in the other WPs.

Read more about the three work packages



A series of small workshops and in-depth studies, each with a specific theme, relating to the work packages, will be arranged in collaboration with the advisory board and other specialists. In order to grasp themes related to the project a guest researcher is invited for one month’s study in 2023 to work with the theme of Early medieval textile economies. Furthermore, the PhD will have an internship in Dublin (with Bradley) and Postdoc 1 will have a one-month research stay at Cambridge University (hosted by Collins).

The project will generate landmark papers, books and PhD dissertations as the outcome of the research. We will prioritize cross-disciplinary articles and preferably publish in A-rated open-access international peer-reviewed journals.



An external advisory board, representing the projects different topics, themes, and relevant museums is appointed and includes national and international acknowledged scholars. The members are active participants contributing with their field of expertise and will co-author publications. The board will meet annually with the research team where the ongoing research will be presented, evaluated and discussed.

Gotfredsen, Anne Birgitte Globe Institute, Section for Geogenetics
Hedenstierna-Jonson, Charlotte Univ. of Uppsala and The Swedish History Museum Stockholm
Bradley, Dan Smurfit Institute, Trinity College Dublin
Ulriksen, Jens Museum Southeast Denmark
Vedeler, Marianne Museum of Culture History, Univ. of Oslo
Collins, Matthew UCPH, Section for Evolutionary Genomics
Mortensen, Morten Fischer National Museum of Denmark, Environmental Archaeology and Materials Science
Kastholm, Ole Thirup ROMU - Museums in Roskilde – Lejre – Frederikssund
Sarauw, Torben Birk The Historical Museum of Northern Jutland



  • Andersson, E. 2003a, Tools for Textile Production – from Birka and Hedeby. Stockholm, Birka Studies 8.
  • Andersson Strand, E. 2016. Segelduk och segelduksproduktion i arkeologisk kontext. in M. Ravn, L. Gebauer Thomsen, E,
  • Andersson Strand and H. Lyngstrøm (eds.), Vikingtidens sejl. Københavns Universitet, Afdeling for Arkæologi. 23-53.
  • Andersson Strand, E. 2021. Weaving textiles – textile consumption for travels and warfare. In F. Iversen and Kejsrud, K. Viking War, special issue Viking. Oslo. 139-148
  • Bender Jørgensen, L. 1986. Forhistoriske tekstiler i Skandinavien. Nordiske Fortidsminder serie B 9. Copenhagen: Det Kongelige Nordiske Oldskriftselskab.
  • Bender Jørgensen, L. 2012. The Introduction of Sails to Scandinavia: Raw Materials, Labour and Land. In: R. Berge, M.E. Jasinski and K. Sognnes (eds) N-TAG Ten: Proceedings of the 10th Nordic TAG Conference at Stiklestad, Norway 2009. Oxford: Archaeopress. 173-81.
  • Buckley, M., Kansa, S. W., Howard, S., Campbell, S., Thomas-Oates, J. & Collins, M. 2010. Distinguishing between archaeological sheep and goat bones using a single collagen peptide. J. Archaeol. Sci. 37. 13–20
  • Croix, S. 2015 The Viking, victims of their own success? A selective view on Viking research and its dissemination. Danish Journal of Archeaology, Volume 4 Number 1-2. 82-96
  • Fröier, K. and Zienkiewicz, H. 1991. Linboken, hemodling och hemberedning. Borås: Natur och Kultur (reprint of 1979).
  • Halstead, P., Collins, P. & Isaakidou, V. 2002. Sorting the Sheep from the Goats: Morphological Distinctions between the Mandibles and Mandibular Teeth of Adult Ovis and Capra. J. Archaeol. Sci. 29. 545–553
  • Hedenstierna-Jonson, C. 2009. Social and political formations in the Scandinavian areas, 8th-10th century. The martial perspective. Territorio, Sociedad y Poder, 2, 89-104.
  • Jæger, J.H, 2020. ZooMS’ing in on Sheep and Goats – Wool Production during the Southern Scandinavian Late Iron Age and the Potential of Biomolecular Methods, København.
    Kastholm, O. T 2013. Vestervang at Kirke Hyllinge, Zealand: a late Iron Age settlement with rich stray finds, Danish Journal of Archaeology 2013. 1-23
  • Kastholm, T.O. 2014: Under sejlet. Vikingetidens skibe i langtidsperspektiv. In: H. Lyngstrøm & L. Sonne (eds): Vikingetidens aristokratiske miljøer, 103-112. København.
  • Mannering, U. 2017. Iconic Costumes: Scandinavian Late Iron Age Costume Iconography, Oxford: Oxbow books, 4-43.
  • Ulriksen, J. 1998. Anløbspladser, Besejling og bebyggelse i Danmark mellem 200 og 1100 e.Kr. Vikingeskibshallen i Roskilde.
  • Ulriksen, J. 2018. Vester Egesborg. En anløbs- og togtsamlingsplads fra yngre germansk jernalder og vikingetid på Sydsjælland. Katalog over konstruktioner. Aarhus Universitetsforlag, Aarhus
  • Ravn, M., Gebauer Thomsen, L., Andersson Strand E., and Lyngstrøm H. (eds) 2016. Vikingtidens sejl. Arkeologiska skrifter. Copenhagen.
  • Reed, C. A. 1960. A review of the archaeological evidence on animal domestication in the prehistoric Near East, in: Braidwood, R. J. & Howe, B. (eds.) 1960: Prehistoric investigations in Iraqi Kurdistan, Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilisation 31. 119-145.
  • Sarauw, T. 2019. Bejsebakken: en nordjysk bebyggelse fra yngre jernalder og vikingetid. Det Kongelige Nordiske Oldskriftselskab, København: Syddansk Universitetsforlag.
  • Sørensen, T. F. 2017. The Two Cultures and a World Apart: Archaeology and science at a new crossroads. Norwegian Archaeological Review 50, 2, s. 101-115.
  • Zeder, M. A. & Lapham, H. A. 2010. Assessing the reliability of criteria used to identify postcranial bones in sheep, Ovis, and goats, Capra. J. Archaeol. Sci. 37. 2887–2905
  • Zeder, M. A. & Pilaar, S. E. 2010. Assessing the reliability of criteria used to identify mandibles and mandibular teeth in sheep, Ovis, and goats, Capra. J. Archaeol. Sci. 37. 225–242




Name Title Phone E-mail
Andersson Strand, Eva Birgitta Professor +4535325807 E-mail
Jæger, Jonas Holm PhD Fellow +4535329304 E-mail


Mannering, Ulla, National Museum of Denmark
Rimstad, Charlotte, National Museum of Denmark 
Student assistant, TBD 
Research assistant, TBD 
Postdoc, TBD


TRiVal is funded by DFF research project 2

Project period: 2022-2025.
PI: Eva Birgitta Andersson Strand