Thursday, 19 March 2015

All the Viking ladies, put your hands up

Ring discovery connects Norse and Islamic cultures 

When you think about Scandinavian Vikings, what comes to mind? Bearded seafarers? Sure. Horned helmets? Absolutely. Islamic civilization? Not so much. 

But an enchanting ring found in a ninth century Viking grave offers evidence that these two seemingly disparate civilizations were actually in close contact

The breathtaking purple ring was first excavated in the late 1800s from Birka, a Viking trading center in Sweden, according to a recent Science News article. The ring's mesmerizing centerpiece was always thought to be a violet amethyst. But when archaeologists at Stockholm University conducted an electron microscope scan, they discovered that it is in fact made of colored glass, a highly desirable, and exotic material at the time. The scan also revealed an unexpected inscription on the glass inset which reads either "for Allah" or "to Allah" in ancient Arabic script. 

So how did this Islamic jewelry end up on the finger of a Viking a world away? Scandinavians were known to trade prized objects from Egypt and Mesopotamia as long as 3,400 years ago. So archaeologists theorize it's not unlikely that the Vikings could have obtained glass treasures from Islamic traders in the same part of the globe about 2,000 years later, rather waiting for these goods to travel north through popular trade networks. 

While there are encounters between these two civilizations mentioned in ancient texts about 1,000 years ago, substantial archaeological evidence in support of these accounts is quite rare. 

What's more, researchers at Stockholm University say the ring shows almost no signs of wear. This suggests it was made by an Arabic silversmith and had no prior owners before reaching the Viking woman. 

Into Vikings? Enjoy these complimentary articles from European Journal of Archaeology

‘A River of Knives and Swords’: Ritually Deposited Weapons in English Watercourses and Wetlands during the Viking Age

Bloody Slaughter: Ritual Decapitation and Display at the Viking Settlement of Hofstadir Iceland

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

European Journal of Archaeology seeks new Deputy Editor

European Journal of Archaeology is the international, peer-reviewed journal of the European Association of Archaeologists. This leading journal is dedicated to publishing the best new archaeological research taking place in Europe and surrounding regions. European Journal of Archaeology is currently accepting applications for a new Deputy Editor, who will work closely with the journal's Editor, Dr. Robin Skeates. Read on to learn more about this exciting opportunity. 

About the Position
The Deputy Editor is required to be deadline-driven with excellent communication skills, an ability to carry out editorial tasks based on prior editorial experience and a breadth of interests. The Deputy Editor will also be expected to work outside his/her own specialist fields of expertise. European Journal of Archaeology is a broad, well recognized and well cited publication, and the Deputy Editor will have an academic profile and level of seniority appropriate to the role.

Editor Responsibilities

  • Taking a portion of papers through the editorial peer-review process to a final recommendation 
  • Editing final papers to improve the clarity of arguments and quality of English
  • Checking and correcting proofs as required and returning them to the agreed Publisher’s schedule
  • Soliciting high-quality manuscripts for the journal
  • Acting as an ambassador for the journal at conferences and other events
  • Acting as Special Issue Editor on occasion
  • Deputizing for the Editor as necessary
  • Assisting the Editor to keep within the agreed annual page budget for the journal 

Applications must be submitted by April 30th, 2015 to Dr. Robin Skeates at Interested applicants should title their message "Deputy Editor Selection" and include a 1000-word statement describing their relevant experience and why they would like to become the Deputy Editor for European Journal of Archaeology.

Please view the complete job posting for more details.