Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Architecture, Society, and Ritual in Viking Age Scandinavia
Doors, Dwellings, and Domestic Space

  • Date Published: February 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108497220


Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available for inspection. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an inspection copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • In this book, Marianne Hem Eriksen explores the social organization of Viking Age Scandinavia through a study of domestic architecture, and in particular, the doorway. A highly charged architectural element, the door is not merely a practical, constructional solution. Doors control access, generate movement, and demark boundaries, yet also serve as potent ritual objects. For this study, Eriksen analyzes and interprets the archaeological data of house remains from Viking Age Norway, which are here synthesized for the first time. Using social approaches to architecture, she demonstrates how the domestic space of the Viking household, which could include masters and slaves, wives and mistresses, children and cattle, was not neutral. Quotidian and ritual interactions with, through, and orchestrated by doorways prove to be central to the production of a social world in the Viking Age. Eriksen's book challenges the male-dominated focus of research on the Vikings and expands research questions beyond topics of seaborne warriors, trade, and craft.

    • Offers a close study of a specific architectural element - the door - and uses this to tell rich stories about households, movement and embodiment in domestic space, access and hierarchy, and rituals centered on liminal boundaries and passages
    • Proposes a social archaeology of the Viking Age
    • Focuses on everyday life in the domestic sphere and situates this in larger social, political and cosmological contexts
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'It is a fabulous piece of work, lucid, well documented, imaginative and beautifully organised. It will be of interest to scholars working on other periods or in other parts of the world.' Richard Bradley, University of Reading

    'Doors can be entries and exits, metaphors, symbols, and more. This fascinating work gives us Vikings as we've never seen them - their ideas on death and life, their sense of home, their bodies and behavior, it's all here. Marianne Hem Eriksen is one of the leading innovators in Viking archaeology today, and this book is the proof.' Neil Price, University of Uppsala

    '… thought provoking … offers an interesting and useful strategy for investigating the domestic, ritual and everyday life of late Iron-Age/Viking-Age people … also refreshing in its near exclusion of the stereotypical Viking warrior, instead putting women, children, animals, rituals and everyday chores into the limelight.' Elise Kleivane, Medieval Archaeology

    'This is an interesting and important contribution to the literature not only on Viking-Age buildings, but also to the explicitly theorised study of everyday life in the period … The book deserves to become a point of reference and inspiration for years to come.' Steve Ashby, Medieval Archaeology

    'This monograph is a valuable contribution to the scholarship on domestic life in the Viking Age …' Teva Vidal, Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108497220
    • length: 296 pages
    • dimensions: 262 x 185 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.8kg
    • contains: 54 b/w illus. 9 colour illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Opening Doors to the Viking Age:
    1. Entry points
    2. The power of the door
    Part II. Ordering Settlements and Landscapes:
    3. Fleshing out the past: houses and households of the Viking Age
    4. Crossing the threshold: interior space
    5. Networked landscapes: exterior space
    Part III. Ritual Objects, Ritual Spaces:
    6. 'Lift me over door-hinges and lintels': doorways, bodies, and biographies
    7. Thresholds to other worlds
    8. Exits: a social archaeology of the Viking Age

  • Author

    Marianne Hem Eriksen, University of Oslo
    Marianne Hem Eriksen is Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Oslo. She is a research fellow (2017–2019) at the University of Cambridge. An elected member of the Young Researchers of Norway, under the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, she was awarded His Majesty the King's Gold Medal for Younger Scholars of Excellence in 2016.

Related Books

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.