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Northern Emporium

  • The archaeology of network urbanism in Viking-age Ribe

Northern Emporium: The Archaeology of Network Urbanism in Ribe

The Northern Emporium project aims to explore the evolution and dynamics of the earliest urban network in Scandinavia and the transition to the maritime-based network society in the Viking Age. It issues from new, significantly improved data based on a comprehensive, stratigraphic excavation of settlement and workshop layers in a central part of the earliest Ribe, one of the richest archaeological sites of the North Sea trading world, which emerged in the eighth century CE.

Urbanism, commercialization and globalization

The general culture-historical aim of the project is to shed light on urbanism as a network dynamic, and the significance of events, conflicts and flows on economic and cultural processes.  This will be done through a High-Definition archaeology, which will clarify the change of the site and its connections as well as the possible dynamics behind these, cf. the approach propagated by the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre of Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet), reflecting its status as one of the three field-archaeological focus projects of the centre.

The analytical aims of the project focus on the interrelationships between processes and actors in urbanization, the scope and organization of commercial exchange, and the dynamics and impact of global flows. A combination of detailed data on context and chronology with a programme of scientific analysis on find materials aims to determine how – and to what extent – urban networks catalysed societal and environmental expansions and crises in the Nordic world on the threshold to the Viking Age.

High-definition excavation and dynamic documentation

The excavation will cover two plots and adjacent street-front in order to elucidate questions regarding the nature and the development of the settlement.  The project will apply a combination of consequent stratigraphic excavation and integration of High-Definition methods from the natural sciences (e.g. geochemical element analysis, dirt DNA, proteomics, micromorphology), in order to yield new knowledge about culture-historical problems. Furthermore, the documentation of the excavations will seek to implement dynamic digital methods and on-site recording.

The Northern Emporium project is an archaeological research project funded by the Carlsberg Foundation (Semper Ardens Fellowship). The project is affiliated to Centre of Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) at Aarhus University and carried out in close collaboration with Museum of Southwest Jutland.


2020.11.23 |

Barbora Wouters takes up research professorship

Former Northern Emporium employee lands tenure-track position.

A. Models of three refitted casting moulds made by laser scanning, showing the negative impression of a so-called "valkyrie" figure; B. Models of all casting-mould fragments made by laser scanning; C. Enhanced virtual image of the re-aligned cast impressions. Graphics: Sarah Croix / Northern Emporium project

2020.09.28 |

Aux armes! A female warrior emerges from the dentistry lab

The Northern Emporium project has virtually reconstructed an armed female figure from casting-mould fragments found at the Viking-Age emporium Ribe. Assistant professor Sarah Croix explains the technical steps of the process and the team's thoughts on the figure's significance.

Various burial practices were carried out at Ribe’s earliest cemetery, including simple inhumations in oblong pits (SJM 348, G19/K263). Photo: Aarhus University/Museum of Southwest Jutland.

2020.09.09 |

Individual geographic mobility in a Viking-Age emporium – Burial practices and strontium isotope analyses of Ribe’s earliest inhabitants

New publication by Assistant Professor Sarah Croix, together with Professor Karin M. Frei (National Museum of Denmark), Professor MSO Søren M. Sindbæk (UrbNet) and Head Curator Morten Søvsø (Museum of Southwest Jutland).

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